Trying to manage a thousand tasks at once is simply exhausting regardless of how organized you are. When to pick up the tuxedos, when the florist will drop off the flowers, who is setting up the wedding tent. When it comes to weddings, even Superwoman would get a little frazzled. Depending on how far in advance you are planning for your wedding, you may feel like you've got everything under control or nothing under control. No matter how far along or far behind in the process you are, just relax and take a deep breath. Grab some essential oils, get a massage, or relax with a good movie. Even though you may feel overwhelmed or stressed about the coming months the most important thing to remember is that your wedding is one of the most exciting events in your life and that you are planning a celebration! Parties are fun and you should be having as much of a good time planning this one as the next.
Easier said than done, you say? Here are some tips to help you manage stress and fight the pressure so that you can have an enjoyable experience planning your wedding.
* '''Learn to Manage Your Time'''
: Do not underestimate how quickly time goes. You may have just gotten engaged, but there is no time like the present to banish your old habits of procrastination and learn to manage your time effectively. Otherwise, before you know it, you'll be six months away from the major event and you won't even have made it to first base yet. It's safe to say that the sooner you start planning, the better, and that goes for everything, from the cake and flowers to the most minute details on your pre-wedding checklist.
* '''Deal with Stress Effectively'''
: The more time you leave to work around conflicts and other unexpected difficulties, the less stress you will have. However, if stress does start to take over, give yourself a block of time to relax, step away from the planning, and to clear your head. Ask others for help if you need it. That's why we have friends and family. Once you have made a decision, stick with it. Flip-flopping between one thing and the next will waste time, increase your stress levels, and make you doubt your plan of action.
* ''' Communication is Key '''
: Talking to your spouse is essential to having a memorable wedding! You have already shared a lot, which has led you to this point, and you plan to share the rest of your lives together. So, don't let the planning process be an exception to this rule. Talk about the details, talk about who is doing what, and talk about how your are going to carry out all the different tasks.
: Divide and conquer! That's the way to get it all done efficiently and quickly. Sit down and discuss what needs to be done and when. If you have a very busy schedule, try to set aside at least one day a week to talk with your spouse about the details. Use the time to go over your plan for the month or week and write it down on the calendar or in your agendas. That way, both the bride and groom can help get things done, which saves time, and you won't be tripping over each other's feet.
: The groom should choose about half of the items on the list first. That way he gets to be involved and not feel like the wedding planning is a chore, plus, he probably could care less about what flowers the bride carries. However, if you find yourselves arguing about who does what, or even what the other wants, just remember to be flexible, compromise, and work together as a team.
* '''Get a Handle on the Paperwork'''
: With a million and one things to keep track of you are going to need a simple way of keeping it organized. If you aren't hiring a planner, you'll need to take the necessary measurements yourself. Start with a filing system. Even if you own an agenda or a PDA, it's a good idea to invest in a separate planner just to manage wedding details instead of mixing it into an agenda crammed full of other daily tasks that need attending to. It's good to get an 8.5" x 11" binder to which you can add the following sections as needed:
** '''Calendar''' -- You need a place to keep dates in order. Peruse the Internet for a wedding checklist to help organize what you need to get done and when. You may also check out the Time Management Guide or see the Wedding Resource Page for some great links to helpful wedding Web sites that offer free checklists.
** '''Vendor Contact List''' -- You are dealing with lots of people. It is important to write down all of the details in full of who you are dealing with, such as vendors, wedding planners, and the like. Plus, with a large organizer you can also safely guard any contracts that you receive from vendors in specified categories: musicians and entertainment, florist, photographer and videographer, cake designer, etc.
** '''Shopping Ideas''' -- Besides some way to keep track of dates and vendors, you'll also need a method to the madness of miscellany. Chances are that you will have ripped out pages from bridal magazines and other sources for ideas on how you want your wedding to look. Keep them all in a tabbed file folder for easy reference: gowns, jewelry, beauty, stationery, flowers, gifts, and favors. Then when you start shopping, you'll have everything you need organized and on hand.
** '''Guest and Attendant Lists''' -- You can use this area to list who you have send invites to, check off who has returned an RSVP, where people are sitting, who you need to write thank you notes to, and who is helping out with what on the day of the wedding. You can also use this space for arranging who is coming from out of town, whether or not they have accommodations, or if you need to provide them. Finally, this is where you can format a seating chart for the ceremony and reception.
** '''Budgeting and Payment Info''' -- It is a crucial section of this binder. This is where you keep a copy of your budget, payment schedules, invoices, receipts, and other financial notes that you need to keep organized.
** '''Clear Vinyl Pocket '''-- Something that can be very helpful for shopping is to bring along a polaroid camera (or just your digital). You can store the photos in a pocket for easy access when comparing colors, themes, or any other aspect of the planning that you see fit.
* '''Build a Wedding Web Site '''
: For anyone who is Internet savvy, or for those who simply enjoy an extra level of convenience, consider creating a personalized wedding Web site. It will keep you organized and it will help you plan.
* '''Legal Responsibilities '''
: Marriage might be the union of two people in love, but it's also a legal contract. Don't forget to get the marriage license details in line well in advance. Plan what you need to get done in your agenda and keep paperwork in a safe file away from the piles of pretty gown and ring pictures that you are collecting. The same goes for details about your honeymoon. Travel arrangements and any documents you might need to carry out a destination wedding abroad need a safe spot where they can be kept.