Planning a wedding can sometimes feel like a full-time job all on its own. Factor in other responsibilities and expenses—such as work, school, children, and/or loans—and then wedding planning becomes downright overwhelming for busy couples with a lot on their plates.
In fact, according to Zola’s First Look Report, couples getting married in 2022 are budgeting for way more than just their wedding day. Some of our 2022 couples’ other common expenses include:
With so many expenses in mind, it can be hard to find time to focus on wedding planning. Luckily, no matter your circumstances and/or vision for your wedding, Zola can help you organize your time and help provide you with a strong foundation of knowledge. Here is our advice for finding ways to fit wedding planning into your busy life, without allowing it to take over.
When working a nine-to-five job, either in an office or remotely, taking advantage of your free time to schedule wedding planning is essential. A great way to budget your time is to think of wedding planning as you would think of a work meeting or another essential appointment, even if you just block out a few hours several times a week for it. That way, you’re framing wedding planning as a part of your weekly routine. You can use nights and early mornings for less time-consuming work such as research and booking consultations or trials, whereas weekends can be spent seeing venues, attending tastings and other appointments, or dress shopping.
Creating a checklist of different tasks to complete each month can also be helpful, so that you are able to break down your weeks accordingly. To get a better idea of what tasks you should have on your checklist, plus the appropriate timeline to complete them, check out Zola’s comprehensive wedding planning guide. This tool is all about helping you and your SO find the right balance.
If your job tends to have more irregular hours—perhaps you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, or on-call worker—scheduled wedding planning time each day may not work well for you. Instead, you should aim to use the sporadic periods of free time that you have throughout your week, as they naturally arise, to your full advantage.
What can help is creating a custom and extensive checklist of tasks to complete prior to your wedding. Once you have this list, you can color-code your tasks to identify the amount of time that you anticipate they will take from the least amount of time to the most. While these times may be estimates, they are super helpful in pinpointing what you have time to tackle during any given span of free time. You can even break down larger tasks like finding a wedding dress into smaller more manageable subtasks such as browsing wedding dress designer websites or Pinterest for inspiration, researching bridal shops, booking wedding dress appointments, and attending fitting appointments. Breaking larger tasks into bite-sized pieces can help you to better utilize even 15 minutes of spare time to its maximum efficiency. Finally, if you have any set times at all during your week that you know are guaranteed to be free, block those out in your calendar for appointments or consultations.
Pursuing secondary education or working around childcare is its own unique challenge. However, similar to a structured office workday, taking classes likely means that you’re working with set times of unavailability each week. Keeping this in mind, we highly recommend using a planner (either a physical one or a digital version) to lay out your responsibilities—in terms of classes, assignments, chores, and childcare—each day. Breaking your days down to the hour is particularly useful to keep you on track, as well as ensure that you don’t miss anything. Above all, make sure to block out set times for rest within your schedule, so that you don’t feel burnt out.
Depending on the age of your children (newborn, toddler, teen), childcare comes with a bit more of a sporadic schedule. Nights and mornings will likely be hectic due to transporting your kids to school, preparing meals for your family, and attending after-school activities. Weekends can also become busy with errands, sports games, and social outings. If your kids are of school age or attend daycare, the time that they are out of the house on weekdays will be your ideal time to plan your wedding. However, if you’re raising a newborn, you may not have the luxury of multiple hours of set free time each day. Instead, in this case, you want to lean on your partner or support system to split duties with, so that you are free to plan without interruption. Remember that nap times for newborns is another perfect opportunity for quiet work. Finally, blocking out time for playdates or structured activities with other kids, especially on weekends, can be a great chance to sneak in some wedding planning.
Planning a wedding is not a one-person or even a two-person job, rather, much like raising a child, it takes a village. It may be tempting to try to shoulder all the responsibility on your own, but learning to delegate will make your planning experience more relaxed, plus free up time in your schedule. This can mean splitting duties with your SO, your wedding party, friends, and family; hiring a planner; or leaning on your vendors.
It’s important to note that not all wedding tasks can be delegated. For example, choosing your wedding dress or your cake may not be something you want to hand off, as personal duties like those should stay between you and your partner. However, once you have an idea of vendors, tasks such as planning a bachelor or bachelorette party and booking appointments, can be taken over by trusted individuals in your life. You can even give your helping friends and family detailed descriptions of what you want and have them check in with you to verify before selection.
For example, if you know that you want roses for your wedding flowers, you can send a family member to your appointment with inspiration photos and have them send you options before you make a decision. Additionally, if you don’t want to hand off wedding planning, consider allowing people in your life to help you in other ways such as watching your children for a few hours or cooking your family meals.
Wedding planners and vendors become critical resources for you and your SO during wedding planning. Planners can deal with the small details, so that you and your partner can focus on the bigger picture. That’s why it is so important to vet your wedding planner and/or vendors and establish a relationship built on mutual trust.
All of these small adjustments take duties off of your plate and allow wedding planning to be more enjoyable for you and your spouse. If you’re still not sure how to start the process, check out our guide on how to plan a wedding for the first steps! From registries to vendor databases to wedding websites, Zola is here to make sure that your wedding celebrates your life and your individuality as a couple, rather than overtaking it. We hope that these ideas provided you with inspiration and helped you in starting to visualize the unique wedding that you want.