Trying to Get Ahead

Like Miss Archer, I have been dealing with wedding stress a little bit more lately.  For me this happened at the three month mark (we are now about eleve weeks out!).  Many of my married friends have warned me about the stress that coincides with the end of planning, which I’d like to call stage four.  The way I see it, the planning process is broken down into four stages:

Stage One – You first get engaged.  Ahh.. the possibilities are endless.  You buy bridal magazines, scour the web, make appointments.  You start to envision your wedding.

Stage Two – Wait, there’s a budget involved in wedding planning?  And wait… weddings cost what?!?  If this didn’t happen to you.. well consider yourself lucky.  This is when you need to strike that fine balance between planning the wedding of your dreams and being practical (is there such a thing as practicality in the wedding world?)  At this point you start to book all of your major vendors and different pieces of the wedding puzzle fall into place.

Stage Three – Then there is a lull (especially if you have a longer engagement).  The vendors have been selected at this point, but the wedding is still a few months away, so you take a step back from the wedding planning until..

Stage Four – OMG the wedding is in three months?!  Suddenly the to do list which was getting so small just got ten times bigger.  Choosing the ceremony venue just turned into planning the order of the ceremony, will there be readings, will there be songs, what about programs and a flower toss exit?

Everyone’s wedding planning experience is different, but I’ve often heard that the last few months can be kind of crazy.  And it’s true.

I have a unique personality in that I’m all or nothing.  I have to have total control or I’ll be laid back.  I plan and plan, but somehow things don’t get done until the last minute (but they will get done).

I don’t want to be a stressed out bride for the last three months, so lately I’ve been spending more time pouring over my to do list and calendar.  The perfect balance for me is to do something (anything!) wedding related every day at least for the next month (who am I kidding, it will probably be every day until the wedding).  I’d rather spend ten minutes a day trying to get ahead than five hours on a Saturday debating if I should spend it wedding planning or out with friends.

Some of the things that I have been doing to get ahead include:

  • Tackling wedding invites – everyday I address 5-10.  We ordered envelopes separate from our invites, so while we wait for the invites to arrive, I have been getting a head start on addressing the outer envelopes, putting stamps on and writing our guests’ names on the inner envelopes.
  • Along the same lines – pre addressing shower thank you notes.  I know some people ask their guests to do this at the shower.  In my experience I have found the younger guests don’t mind, but older guests sometimes find it rude.  I don’t mind writing them out, so I spent some down time in between stage three and four of the process pre addressing envelopes so once the shower was over I would have an easier time sending out thank you notes.
  • Emails – I have been dealing with my vendors quite a bit through email.  So every week I try to run through my list of vendors and see if there are any I need to be in contact with, whether it’s following up on a payment, arranging our next meeting, etc.  This helps me space out our meetings as well .
  • Online and in store wedding purchases  –I made a list of all the things we would need to purchase for the ceremony/reception – gifts for the wedding party, programs, favors, a veil, tie, cocktail napkins, cake topper, etc.  I then went ahead and looked to see if there were any long lead times I needed  to keep in consideration (remember how ___ wanted a custom cake topper?  That was also something I wanted and I too contacted ___ and she wasn’t able to accommodate my request for a cake topper three months in advance.  So now I’m looking ahead and purchasing all custom items before in stock items).
  • Putting together items for out of town bags/gift baskets – this seems to be an item that creeps up for most couples.  And I get it.  It’s a frivolous thing that is a nice addition, but doesn’t need to be included.  I decided at the beginning I wanted to do both for my guests.  I made a list of items that we would need, so whenever I’m out at Target I try to pick up a couple things I know is on that list.  I have started to brainstorm welcome bags for the OOT guests and purchased bags and non perishable items in advance.
  • Lists – ah yes, and then there are the lists.  I may sound crazy, but I have a notebook with a list for everything – and whenever an idea hits, I add it.  I’ve even created a list of packing items that I’ll need personally to get ready on the wedding day and items we need to drop off at the church and reception.  It helps to visualize the day in advance and walk through the ceremony – do you see an aisle runner?  If so add it to the list.  Will there be a unity candle (remember you’ll need three and a stand) or a sand ceremony?  You’ll need to pick up those supplies.  I have even found it helpful to put everything I might need on a list and then re-evaluate and take items off if I decide I don’t need it.

Will I have everything together beforehand?  Probably not.  Things will come up.  But the more I can take care of now – even if it’s something small – the less that I’ll have to worry about when the actual wedding is just days away.

Have you been experiencing wedding stress?  How have you dealt with it?  How do you plan to stay ahead of your to do list?  Also – what ideas do you have to include in an out of town bag or bathroom basket?

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