Planning a wedding takes time. Running a business takes even more. Trying to do both at the same time is exponentially more challenging. It is, however, possible. But you’ll need a plan for maximizing productivity each step of the way.
Get Your Priorities Straight
There are parts of planning a wedding that are fun and exciting, but the majority of the work is overwhelming. You have to shop for a ring, select a date, choose a venue, vet and select vendors, build a guest list, find a wedding dress, ask bridesmaids and groomsmen to be a part of the special day, attend showers and parties, plan a honeymoon, and deal with all of the paperwork and logistics that come with becoming legally married in the eyes of the state.
Planning a wedding could easily be a full-time job for a few months, but you unfortunately don’t have the luxury of pushing business responsibilities to the backburner and shifting all of your focus to the wedding. You have obligations elsewhere.
As a business owner, it often feels as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders. There are people, families, and customers who depend on you and you can’t afford to selfishly step away and ignore operations for a period of time. Doing so would leave a wake of destruction behind.
Before doing much else, you need to sit down and get your priorities straight. You must find a way to deal with the friction between these two dominant forces in your life. Otherwise, they’re going to each have a negative impact on the other.
While there may be a faction of people who disagree, your business should be your number one priority. Whether you realize it or not, it’s far more important than your wedding. (Note: This isn’t saying your business is more important than your future spouse – just that it’s more essential than wedding planning itself.)
When you establish a pecking order, so to speak, it becomes easier to focus your energy and efforts – both on a micro and macro level. It allows you to say things like, “This marketing project is where I’m putting my focus today. If I happen to get everything done before EOD, then I’ll dedicate a few minutes to finding a florist for the wedding.” The key word here is “if.” There has to be some prioritization.
Having said all of this, there will come times – especially as the wedding date inches closer – where you have to multi-task and pull double duty. This is fine, but you should do so with the goal of maximizing productivity and not letting time get away from you.
7 Tips for Running a Business and Planning a Wedding
Running your own business is hard enough without adding wedding planning into the mix. If you want productivity to be a reality – rather than an aspiration – you’d do well to heed the following practical advice:
1. Make a List
It always helps to start with a big picture overview of everything that needs to be done and then break it down into more digestible parts. One thing you may find helpful is to make a list of all the different actions you need to take so that you can track your progress and cross them off as you go. Here are three useful resources:
- Real Simple: Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist
- Here Comes the Guide: Wedding To-Do Timeline
- The Knot: 12-Month Wedding Planning Checklist Calendar
Try not to spend too much time looking towards the future. Plan what you can now and worry about the other details when the time comes.
2. Involve Your Spouse
Don’t feel as if you have to do everything yourself. Even if your partner doesn’t have any interest in wedding planning, they need to shoulder some of the burden. Not only will this teach you both to work together, but it’ll also evenly distribute some of the pressure.
If you’re a detail-oriented person, you’ll have to be okay with giving up a little control when you involve your partner in the process. Remember, this isn’t your wedding. The event belongs to both of you. In order to get your partner more excited about being involved in the planning, ask for their input on certain things (and actually be okay with their choices).
3. Manage as Much as You Can Online
Wedding planning used to be much more difficult to do on your own. It required lots of time driving, talking on the phone, and meeting with people in person. Today, much of these same tasks can be handled online. Not only does this speed up things, but it’s also more convenient for someone who is preoccupied with other responsibilities throughout much of the workweek (such as yourself).
Engagement rings are a perfect example of this. If you’re looking for a specific type of ring that’s a little more rare – such as a vintage engagement ring – shopping online allows you to view a larger inventory from all over the world (not just the one or two jewelry stores down the street from your office).
The same goes for wedding venues. It’s quite time-consuming to drive around and schedule tours at different venues. While you’ll probably want to visit a venue prior to putting down a deposit, you can do much your due diligence online and save some of the hassle of seeing venues that don’t meet your criteria.
4. Set Aside Blocks of Time
One of the tougher aspects of planning a wedding while working full-time is that your work hours are the same as that of wedding vendors. So by the time you get done with work for the day, vendors are often closed until the next morning. This makes it nearly impossible to accomplish certain tasks.
To make your schedule more convenient, set aside some pre-determined blocks of time throughout the week. Whether it’s 30 minutes at lunch, an hour each Thursday afternoon, or a few sporadic appointments, making time for wedding planning during the 9-to-5 time slot will help you tremendously.
5. Hire a Month-Of Coordinator
As event planner Iris Li says, “Couples often realize that the most stressful time in their planning is the month before their wedding when guest numbers need to be finalized, menus need to be confirmed, timelines need to be created, final payments are due, delivery schedules coordinated, and the list goes on.”
While you may be fine planning most of the details of your wedding, don’t underestimate the value in a month-of coordinator. As the name suggests, this type of wedding coordinator comes in when there are just a few weeks left and helps with creating day-of timelines, reviewing contracts with vendors, reaching out to vendors to confirm details, helping with logistics, and dealing with last-minute changes.
As a business owner who can’t afford to handle all of these last-minute, time-consuming details, a month-of coordinator is worth her weight in gold.
6. Take Full Advantage of Your Free Time
Free time – as little of it as you may have – is precious. And even if you don’t realize it, there are opportunities for you to squeeze wedding planning into even the smallest of timeframes. Here are a couple of areas to scrutinize:
- Commute to work. If you take public transportation to work, use this time to work on your wedding, make notes, and sort through some of the logistical details. Even if you drive into work, you can always make phone calls or listen to voicemails during this time.
- Instead of watching the news on the treadmill, bring some wedding-related materials and take a look at them. Whether it’s proofing wedding invitations or cleaning up the budget, there’s always something that can be done.
These are just two examples. Look for areas where you’re wasting 10 or 15 minutes and put these bits of time to use. They all add up in the end.
7. Spend Some Time Away From Work and Wedding Planning
If you aren’t careful, you’ll spend your entire engagement bogged down by work and wedding planning. And even though this is just a temporary season of life, you have to be careful that you and your fiancé aren’t ignoring each other.
“It’s helpful to remember why you said yes in the first place! Take a break from all the wedding chit chat and work stress and do something relaxing, just the two of you,” wedding consultant Katie Estrada writes. “Whether it’s a run, a trip to a museum, a movie—whatever your thing is, spend some time enjoying it. Clearing your mind and focusing on your loving relationship will create a sturdy foundation for every other aspect of your life.”
Adding it All Up
The secret to planning a wedding while running a business is to set your priorities and align your daily actions accordingly so they maximize productivity and prevent unnecessary distractions from holding you back in either area.
It sounds simple in theory, but as this article shows, it takes a significant amount of energy and creativity. Give yourself space, grace, and time to be flexible. Normalcy will soon be the order of the day again.