How 5 brides stayed focused at work while wedding planning

The rush that comes with getting promoted, landed a gig you lusted after or finally taking that pivotal step toward entrepreneurism makes your heart race. But, that giddy nervousness can be compared to a different type of butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling: getting engaged. Lots of folks compare dating to building a career — both are ripe with faceplants and heartache, after all — so when you finally agree to a lifetime with someone whose company you not only enjoy, but adore, it is a big moment.  And while the path to the dream job and the dream person is quite similar, they start to become incompatible as you start your wedding planning. Ask anyone who has balanced nuptial duties with a full-time gig and they’ll be quick to admit the stress of the period.

You definitely don’t want to lose your job as you gain a spouse, so take these tips from brides who have been there, as they share how they remained focused during this happy — and busy — time:

“I set deliverables for each month, week and day.”

Entrepreneur and wedding planner Maya Devassy Tarach knew plenty about the industry already when it was her turn to get hitched in September of 2016. Thanks to her background in project management, she quickly went into task-setting mode to keep herself focused by organizing set deliverables for each month. With a big event or any type of work responsibility, this method allows you to be more holistic about your approach, rather than doubling-over when you see a mounting list of to-do items.

At the start of each month, Tarach broke down that month’s list further into wedding planning tasks that needed to be accomplished in the week and categorized which ones were the most important, as well as which ones would be more time-consuming.

Then, she went even deeper: giving herself daily duties so she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed, and could gradually complete her wedding work. When she knew exactly what she had to complete every 24 hours, she could rattle it off and get back to her business.

“I found that my lunch hour and commutes to work were the best times to send batches of emails to vendors and research wedding details. It was amazing how much I could accomplish in a short amount of time because I already had a pre-made list ready of what planning tasks I needed to complete in the day,” she explains.

“I didn’t multi-task.”

When you’re sitting in—yet another—meeting where your input isn’t needed, and you have 10 emails from wedding vendors hanging out in your inbox, it is tempting to multi-task. Senior associate at A Wordsmith PR, Marketing & Communications Savanna Frimoth says to resist. When she was planning throughout 2017 in prep for her big day on New Year’s Eve 2017, she tried her best to completely separate work—and wedding. If not only for her productivity but her sanity.

“By focusing on the task at hand I was able to worry less about my lengthy personal to-do list. While there were times that wedding to-dos crept into my workday, I tried to avoid overlap and kept most things outside of work hours,” she shared.

To effectively achieve this, considering her attention was given to her job eight hours a day, she let go of the control and delegated tasks, so the burden wasn’t resting on her bride-to-be shoulders. After all, it takes two — and an army — to wed.

“My fiancé took care of all the food, researched servers and bartenders, found the best places to purchase alcohol, and booked everything for the honeymoon which made a huge difference,” she shared.

“We picked a few must-haves – and let the rest work out.”

While, sure, getting through the nitty-gritty bookings is actual work, much of the chaos that comes from wedding planning is obsessing over little details. For youth minister Jenn Barlow, who married her number one in October of 2014, being flexible was helpful to retain balance. While she was wedding planning, she worked full-time in banking insurance and part-time in youth ministry, while her husband logged away hours as a professor. This only gave them a few hours on Saturday to plan their ceremony.

So they came to an agreement: they’d set two to three must-haves, and the rest, they’d figure out on the way. After all, to them, their careers and their time together (not talking about their wedding) was more important than the absolute perfect day.

“We knew we wanted to get married in our church with our priest, we wanted a good photographer, and we wanted a good DJ to set the mood, so we focused on finding and securing those first,” she shared.

This allowed them to be more creative with other tasks, like making it a competition to address the envelopes and spend more quality time together, while still performing their best at their gigs.

“I lived by my color-coded calendar.”

When owner, principal, and coordinator Sarah Schmirl was planning her June 2012 wedding, she was working as a case manager. Considering she was already overworked, time management became the most difficult skill to master. Because she wanted to remain diligent at work — and also have the day she fantasized about — she decided to separate the two, via her calendar. And she asked for a bit of leeway with her employer.

“I color coded and used block scheduling to work on daily tasks and the extra projects. I adjusted my hours to work flexible schedules which were a business need and allowed me some time during the morning to work on weddings and I kept my planning during actual working hours to a minimum by just devoting my lunch break,” she explained.

“I made the most out of lists.”

A few months ago, Kristin Lisi Buehler became a Mrs. — all while keeping a busy gig as a publicist at an agency. Since her job is all about managing many details, deadlines and actionable items, she already knew what to expect out of planning a massive event to celebrate her marriage. Throughout the wedding planning period, she said her brain was working on overload, to the point where her now-husband forbad her from doing any tasks an hour before bedtime. What made a difference to help her stay on track, perform her duties and ahem, not lose her mind were spreadsheets and lists.

“From a budget spreadsheet, to vendor contact info, and even one with all the items we ordered and their respective tracking numbers/shipping statuses, I knew I could easily reference anything I needed, at any given moment,” she shared. “Having everything laid out also helped ensure we weren’t forgetting anything — especially the small things!”