Picture this: you’re working full time, in a master’s program, trying to maintain some semblance of life balance when all of a sudden the love of your life proposes. After the whirlwind of congratulations and excitement simmers down, you sit down, search Google to start planning your wedding and crickets. You realize that you have literally no idea where to start, and you don’t have the time to waste searching for all the answers.
Well, my friend, you are not alone. Many of my past wedding photography clients have experienced that same realization.
Here are my top seven wedding planning habits for the busy DIY bride:
1. Go to the right resources
As a busy bride, there is no time to waste. You wouldn’t walk into a grocery store looking for clothing, would you? No! The same goes for where you begin your wedding search. Many brides waste time on two things: not knowing what they’re even looking for and not knowing where the best place to find them is.
Pinterest, for instance, is a fabulous place to draw inspiration or shop, but it might be a little harder to connect with vendors near you that shoot the type of wedding you are having. Not every photographer shoots every kind of wedding. Some are strictly elopement photographers, and some specialize in church photography.
When you know where to search, it’ll make the unknown known much faster!
2. Remind yourself of your wedding planning priorities every time you sit down to plan
I once heard a quote that said, “if you don’t have a plan, you’re doing busy work.”
That resonated with me because it’s so true. If you don’t know what to work on in planning your wedding, you are quite literally doing busy work until something clicks. That’s why at Olive and Oath, we teach prioritizing first. We ask couples to pause and think about what is most important to them.
You’ve got to really carve out some quiet time to sit and reflect on how you envision your wedding day and why. It may be that you really want time to connect with your guests throughout the night and stay very active at the party. It may be that you always envisioned it being a private, intimate event with only your closest friends and family. Maybe a specific location has been drawing your attention, and that is the biggest priority.
Whatever it may be, pick two or three main priorities and focus on achieving those three things first. The rest of the day can be built around what those things cost, dates they can happen, when it can happen, etc. Once those top priorities are decided: WRITE. THEM. DOWN. And don’t even think about wedding planning until you’ve reminded yourself of them.
3. Use one organizational tool
Organization is a habit. Yes, some are more naturally bent towards the art of order, but I believe it 100% is a habit muscle that can be worked out. When it comes to wedding planning, your best habit of all (even more significant than remembering your priorities) is keeping everything together in one place.
I cannot tell you how many times things have gotten lost in translation between the bride and insert-name of whoever she delegated to because nothing was in an easily accessible, organized system.
My number one recommendation for brides is to use Milanote. It’s the most incredible visual planning app and website that I use for my personal and professional vision planning. If you want access to our Milanote planning template that we give to our wedding clients, book a call to see if we are the right fit for your wedding, today.
4. Divide and conquer
One of the most effective ways to maintain sanity while wedding planning is to use your community and let people help. I consider this one a habit because if you’re like me, this does not come naturally to you. You need to make it a habit to ask for help and trust that it will get taken care of. It truly takes a village, and I can guarantee some tasks don’t need to be handled by you, even if it feels like it.
5. Connect daily (or at least weekly)
It isn’t about the wedding; it’s about the marriage. If wedding planning is taking priority over cultivating a connection with your spouse-to-be, you need to slow down. I challenge you to create an intentional space to connect daily, and if that truly is not possible, at least weekly.
This is a time dedicated to not talking about the wedding and instead is for cultivating deeper connections or creating new memories. Use a game like We’re Not Really Strangers to dive deeper emotionally or plan a fun experience to continue building joyful memories. It’s sad to think that many go through the entire planning process with little to no dates or conversations that aren’t wedding-related.
Repeat after me: I will create space to connect daily by *insert your challenge to yourself*
6. Release expectations
Take a deep breath. It’s not the end of the world. With movie magic and Pinterest at our fingertips, I think expectations can get a little skewed. The most enjoyed wedding days truly are the ones where couples are simply excited to be there.
It doesn’t matter if someone forgot to put the ‘sweet treats’ sign next to the cupcakes or that your hair got a little wild after an hour of open dancing. Releasing expectations is a habit built way before the wedding day. It’s taking each decision of the planning process and remembering that it’s not the main event.
The big decision was already made and can’t be messed up — you are getting married, and that’s what matters. Every day, look at your spouse to be and say to yourself: I get to marry you, and that’s all that matters.
7. Take time to rest
“By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work.” Genesis 2:2
Even God rested. In fact, He rested and was satisfied with the work He had done.
If there is anything I have learned since starting a business, you cannot run on an empty tank. Rest looks like a lot of things, but the key is that it actually rejuvenates you.
Maybe rest looks like getting more sleep instead of planning into the late hours of the night. Maybe rest looks like getting a massage once a month to help with tense shoulders. Perhaps it looks like planning a hike with your spouse-to-be so that you can recharge in nature. Find your thing and make it a recurring plan in your schedule.
Wedding planning does not have to be stressful or overwhelming all the time. Though there is a lot to learn, you aren’t alone. By following these seven wedding planning habits, you will start to see a lot more joy around planning than you probably are right now.
If you’re looking for a DIY bride community, come on over to Olive and Oath to learn, plan and execute the wedding of your dreams.