20 WAYS TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING AND NOT LOSE YOUR JOB
Photograph by Carlos Alejandro
Find a reception site. Choose a gown. Decide on a caterer, a band, the flowers. With so much on your to-do list, it can be tempting to try to slip in a little wedding planning here and there during work hours. Dont give in.
That is a personal thing and youre not getting paid to do that while youre at work, says Elizabeth Brito, events planner at Archmere Academy. And when you start using the companys fax, email or printer, the company is losing money. Even if its just a few sheets of paper here and there, few things get under the boss skin like wasting company resources on personal projects.
But with so much to do, how can you fit it all in? Here are a few tipsand cautionsfrom the experts.
1 Dont obsess about small things like favors. Many of those time-consuming little things really arent as important as you think.
2 Notify your boss of your vacation plans as soon as possible. After all, bosseslike most peoplehate unexpected bumps in the road. The sooner you can give notice about your vacation, the better.
3 Plan appointments for evenings or weekends. If you absolutely must do something during the workday, do it on your lunch hour. If you schedule a lunch appointment, plan it for later, when the lunch rush is over, so youll get faster service, advises Sheryl Garman, president of Perfect Weddings in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Remember to take into account the drive time to and from appointments. Work extra time if necessary to make up for a long lunch break (after getting your approval from your boss, of course).
4 If you have many appointments, take a few vacation days (not sick time) and plan all your errands for those days, allowing enough time to get from place to place without feeling rushed. Carve out some time for a mini-facial or a manicure, too. With all that running around, you deserve a little tender loving care.
5 Let your fingers do the walking. Call ahead to confirm hours, get directions and find out what items a store carries. Theres nothing more frustrating than driving 45 minutes through traffic, only to find that the store has already closed for the evening.
6 When possible, communicate by email, not phone. I would strongly suggest that brides not make or take wedding phone calls at work, says Cyndi Funbar, owner of Weddings by the Seashore in Ocean View. If you absolutely must communicate during work hours, its easier and more discreet to do it by email, especially if you do it on your own laptop. Email has other benefits, too. It gives you the ability to take care of wedding business at any time or place thats convenient for you, even if thats 2 a.m. Email correspondence also gives you a written record of the information vendors provide, in case some confusion or a dispute should arise later.
7 Create an email address, perhaps a Hotmail address, just for online wedding planning. With a lot of wedding websites, if you enter a contest or give your email address, youll end up getting lots of spam. Thats the last thing you need at work, Garman says.
8 Dont use the company fax machine. Instead, sign up for a fax service so you can send and receive faxes directly to your email account.
9 Attend a bridal show. Bridal shows provide the perfect opportunity to research a number of vendors quickly. Small to mid-sized regional shows are especially valuable because you can meet and briefly interview vendors and make some preliminary decisions. Be sure to stop by Delaware Brides annual show, which will be held February 18, 2007.
10 Do preliminary research online from home. Dont be tempted to use your work computer, unless its during lunch and you have approval from your supervisor. If you do, be sure to keep your computers volume off. Most wedding websites have soundtracks, which will broadcast what youre doing to everyone in the office.
11 Delegate. Your mom wants to help and so does your sister. Your best friend offered to run a few errands. Let them. One person could create a list of possible reception sites and gather the basic informationavailable dates, costs, seating capability, menu options. You can then use that information to narrow down the list to perhaps five options to interview by phone, then two or three to visit in person. Someone else could take charge of gifts for the attendants. Even as simple a task as looking up missing zip codes can lift a small burden from you.
12 Make your fiancé an integral part of the planning. This is the 21st century; most grooms want to be a part of the planning. After all, its their wedding, too. He might take charge of the band-versus-DJ research, the wedding transportation and wedding-night accommodations. Besides, planning together makes it more fun.
13 Get recommendations from people whove recently taken the leap. Ask friends, relatives, even other brides you meet in wedding website chat rooms. Brito suggests getting references for DJs and photographers from your reception hall. The event planners there have experience with many different vendors and can recommend the best. Plus, it beats using a phone book, where you have no way of knowing about their past service.
14 Create a wedding website. Its a fun way to get friends and family from all over the country involved in the wedding. Keeping them posted online can also cut down on the number of phone calls you need to make to find out about hotel possibilities, directions, etc.
15 Keep private matters private. Do not leave wedding planning notes lying around the office. If someone at work accidentally picks up some wedding planning papers, not only have you lost that information, but now everyone knows your business, Garman says. Find some system for keeping all your planning materials orderly, whether it be online, in file folders or in an accordion file.
16 Buy a good wedding planning book that has lists, worksheets, research recommendations and budget guidelines. The Ultimate Wedding Workbook and Organizer by Wedding Solutions Publishing even has an accordion file for keeping all your contracts and receipts organized.
17 Wedding planning software is the tech version of the planning book. It can make it simple to manage invitation lists, RSVPs, timelines and budgets. You can replicate some of the features on your own using an Excel spreadsheet.
18 Dont think you need to invite all your co-workers to the wedding. Most wont expect or even want to be invited. However, its important to be aware of who you do invite. Make sure that its clear youve included only your closest friends. If others ask about an invitation, be honest. Theres nothing wrong with admitting that you were limited by the budget or reception site size.
19 Plan a destination wedding, Funbar suggests. It avoids a lot of family conflicts, cuts the guest list dramatically, and resorts often offer package deals that include the ceremony, reception, cake and photographer.
20 Hire a wedding planner or book an all-inclusive reception site. Some reception venues include everything from the linens and decorations to the food and alcohol. Some will even provide the flowers.
Bridal consultants often can put together all-inclusive packages that take care of everything, including the officiant, the wedding and reception sites, flowers, cake, photographyeven hotel rooms at discounted prices. Often bridal consultants will have negotiated cheaper rates than are available to the general public, Funbar says.
These professionals have planned hundreds of weddings and can make suggestions for just about any situation you might encounter. Because they have experience with just about every wedding vendor in the area, you wont have to do all the legwork.
A planner can also run interference with problematic family members. She will even go to the reception site ahead of time to make sure the cake is there and everything is set up as planned.