This is Part 2 of a five-part “To the Newly Engaged” series about making your engagement, wedding planning, and wedding as enjoyable and productive as possible! This is from my personal experience as a bride, and from my perspective as a wedding photographer as well. Check back for the next 3 weeks to catch the remainder of the series, and share with your friends who are engaged as well!
So now that you’ve taken some time to just enjoy your engagement, it’s time for my next piece of advice…. Get organized. If you’ve looked at magazines, blogs, or Pinterest so far, you know what I mean. There are so many decisions to make, and it can seem like they’re never ending! But don’t worry – as overwhelming as it may seem, if you get organized it really starts to become so much more manageable – even enjoyable.
So here’s some thoughts as far as organizing your planning:
- Decide what your main priorities are when it comes to your wedding. Now of course I hope that photography is on the top of your list… but whether it’s your photographer, your cake, your dress, your venue, etc., pick your major must-have item (or two) and work on those first. Getting two or three of your major priority items secured will make the rest of your planning more focused and less stressful.
- Keep Pinterest as your friend (not your overly-opinionated, demanding, quick to make you feel “less than” Aunt Sue). Pinterest can be an AMAZING tool for planning a wedding. There are so many great ideas for every aspect of your day, no matter what vibe/style you’re going for. However, Pinterest can also very quickly turn into a source of stress. Just remember that there are great ideas there – but you DO NOT have to incorporate all of them! Don’t let the best highlights of other weddings become your requirements. Take the ideas you love the most and incorporate them, and let the other pins go. Making separate boards for the different aspects of your wedding can also be really helpful – I did this the wrong way. I wish I would have made a board for cake ideas, a board for table decor, a board for dresses, a board for invitations, etc. rather than one board with everything thrown in together. Having separate boards will save you time from having to scan through every wedding-related pin to find the specific one you’re looking for. (Side note – also try to keep the number of pins on each of those boards fairly low.)
- Talk with your fiancé about their level of involvement in the planning process – and really LISTEN to them. Some guys will be really into helping with all of the details and making decisions. Some guys won’t care at all about any of the decisions. Some guys are somewhere in between. Figure out what your fiancé wants, and be honest with them about what you want – be sure to be realistic too though. If there are decisions you’ll want his input on, be sure to explain that early in the process (and also explain why it is important to you to have his opinion on that particular thing). Forcing him to decide between cream and eggshell table linens might not be the item you want to push for input.
- Figure out a system that works for you. Spreadsheets, binders, post-it notes on a white board, whatever it is, get your thoughts and your to-do’s in order so you can make sure you’re methodically crossing them off the list. Being able to see what’s been done already can help ease the amount of stress. It also really helps you see the whole day from start-to-finish which can help you see if there’s anything missing.
- When making your timeline for the day, build in plenty of time for pictures. Wedding days are so full – full of emotion, full of people, full of moments. Taking time for pictures, particularly a “first look” and bride & groom portraits, was one of the best decisions we made for our wedding day. Not only does this time give you a more relaxed opportunity to get irreplaceable images of you and your spouse(!) on your wedding day, it also gives you time away from the hustle and bustle to just been with the person you love most. If your wedding is in the afternoon/evening, this will also allow for those “wow” images in the sweet golden hour light right as the sun is going down.
Just remember in the midst of planning, staying organized and focusing on your fiancé will always help!