Planning the Wedding You Really Want

There are four simple secrets to planning a wedding without (a) losing
your sanity or (b) having your dreams stolen by the people around you.

o Eat the elephant one bite at a time.

o Stand strong, sister!

o Give yourself time.

o Hand over the reigns . . . at the END.

Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time

Have you ever heard about how to eat an elephant? The answer is “One bite at a time.”

It’s the same with planning something as elephant-sized as your wedding. Even if your wedding is relatively small in terms of the
number of guests or the number of vendors, planning a wedding is
an elephant. There are many, many decisions you have to make.

Wedding task check lists make it clear that you don’t need to
find a florist or invitations first thing. Finding a venue and a
caterer are tasks that need to be addressed earlier on.

Even if flowers and invitations are crucial pieces of your
wedding dreams, don’t worry about them until it’s time. Don’t
try to jam the entire elephant into your mouth at once.

Stand Strong, Sister!

Do you want the wedding of YOUR dreams? Or are you relatively
happy if you get half the wedding that you want and half the
wedding that other people think you should want?

If it’s the latter, that’ll be no problem. Other people are more
than willing to take over your wedding. You don’t have to put
any effort into getting people to bully you around to creating
the wedding of their dreams.

It’s a little more effort (although about 90% of it is purely
psychological effort) to be sure that you get the wedding of YOUR

There are essentially two types of people who will try to take
over your wedding:

o Family members (including soon-to-be in-laws)

o Vendors

Handling these two types of “controllers” takes different approaches.

Vendors are with you just for this wedding. Family you have to
live with for the rest of your life!

Where do your priorities lie in managing these two types of

With professional vendors, your top priority may be getting what
you want, at the price you’ve negotiated, and it really doesn’t
matter if you have to step on a few toes to get it. You’ll be
polite and professional when dealing with vendors, but you must
not be a push-over.

With family, your priority may lie with maintaining loving
relationships for a lifetime. You should be no more of a
pushover with family than with other vendors, but you SHOULD make
sure to hear their side of any issues that arise and to
continually emphasize (both with your words and
with your actions) your gratitude for this loving effort they’re
putting forth for your very special day.

A third possible type of controller is a combination of the other

o friends or family providing services for your wedding.

This can be a little trickier, because you’re both dealing with
them as a vendor and planning to have a relationship with them
for the rest of your life. This requires a balance of the
strategies used with family members and the strategies used with

You’ll need to find the right balance between treating a
particular person as a vendor who is a friend/family member vs. a
friend/family member who is doing you a favor by providing
something you’d otherwise get from a vendor.

Give Yourself Time

To have the most flexibility, you should start your wedding
planning anywhere from a year to eighteen months before you’d
like to actually get married.

Don’t panic! People have successfully pulled together weddings
with a few weeks or even a few days of planning. The 12-18 month
suggestion is just that, a suggestion. It’s based on the idea
that spreading the tasks out over time will cause you less

A longer timetable also allows for those chunks of time when
you’re lying on your couch thinking, “I could not care less if I
had a wedding!”

But, for those who find the last minute approach preferable (or
necessary), timetables can be completely ignored.

If you’re planning your wedding under a tight timeline,
controlling your own brain is one of the most important things
you can do. If you panic, you’ll not only make yourself miserable
at the time of panic, you’ll be more likely to ruin your wedding.

Even if you’re working under a tight timeline, plan in rest
periods. You need to take a couple days (or at least a few hours)
here or there where you don’t work on your wedding. Spend this
time just having fun with your beloved and remembering why you
wanted to marry him in the first place. Or spend the time by
yourself, resting and doing things you enjoy (other than wedding

When you’re working on your wedding, work on it, concentrate and
move forward. When you’re not working on it, put it from your
mind and remember that your wedding is but one day in the
wonderful life you have ahead. Don’t screw up the life just to
have the wedding.

Hand Over the Reigns . . . At the END

Even if you hire a wedding planner, don’t completely hand over
the reigns early on. Not if you want to achieve the wedding of
YOUR dreams.

But as you’re getting down to the week or so before your wedding,
the balance between the importance of planning your dream wedding
and the importance of living your dream wedding will shift. It’s
time to stop with the planning and start with the living.

Unfortunately, the planning won’t actually be finished a week or
two before your wedding. Some of the most important things you
have to do to stop others from taking over your dream wedding
have to be done right before your wedding. In fact, many of them
have to be done the day before or the day of your wedding.

But, repeat after me: “I don’t want to be planning my wedding on
my wedding day.”

You want to be living your wedding on the day of your wedding.
And if you can manage to start living your wedding several days
or even a couple weeks before your wedding, the better off you’ll

To hand over the reigns in the right way and at the right time
comes down to (a) being prepared to tell others exactly what you
want and (b) handing the reigns to the right person/people.

One excellent reason to hire a wedding planner is if you don’t
know the right kind of people in your personal life to do (b).
If you ended up with a lot of unreliable or free-spirited or
wimpy friends and family, you’ll need to hire someone to hand the
reigns off to. It’s critical to be able to hand off the reigns
and live your wedding day!