Tuesday, 29 March 2011

How To... Organise Your Time

We all know how much time it can take to organise your wedding and quite a lot of wedding related stress comes from having to find the extra hours in already packed schedules to do all the work.  Hours spent hunting for suppliers, sourcing items, travelling to meetings and viewing venues can soon mount up and it’s easy too feel overwhelmed or that every non-working moment (and some ‘should be working' moments too!) are just filled with wedding related tasks.  But it doesn’t have to be this way – read on for tips on how to make the most of your time in the months before the wedding and in the week before when things can get a little crazy. Don’t let time tick away, plan smarter and stay sane!

 Plenty of time to go
  • The first thing to do is find your planning style – do you like to plan little and often or do you have big blitzes followed by quiet spells?  Decide which way works for you early on and create a plan around that.
  • Write down all the tasks that need to be done and note when they need to be done by.  The list will be long and scary to start with but once it’s written, it’s easy to see where you are.
  • Get organised with a planning file.  If you’re a true techno-babe, set up folders, checklists and reminders on your pc or download a 'to do list' app. Alternatively, put together a paper-based folder.  There’s no right or wrong way to do this – find the way that suits you best.
  • Visiting suppliers before you decide who to use can be very time consuming.  Be very selective who you go to see.  Are they over your budget?  Have you checked availability?  Do they cover your area?  Have they responded promptly to your enquiries?
  • Try to visit all similar shortlisted suppliers in one day or one weekend.  Having a day of visiting photographers will make it easier for you to compare styles and packages when everything is fresh in your mind.  You’ll probably be able to make a decision at the end of the day too so you’ll feel you’ve really achieved something from the day.
  • Find out early on how long things will take to be delivered after ordering.  Some stationery can take 3 months to be delivered and wedding dresses can take 6 months or more to be made. 
  • If you find details of a company you like, save them even if you don’t need them right now.  You can guarantee you won’t remember their web address 6 months later and you’ll waste valuable time hunting for it.
  • Once you’ve made a decision on something – stop looking at similar things!  It’s a waste of time and you might start doubting your choice (which in turn leads to time spent worrying which is not good!)
  • Get other people to do the work for you!  Perhaps your Mum could find a few stationery ranges for you to choose from?  A travel agent could find you the perfect honeymoon if you tell them your budget, likes and dislikes & time of travel.  You don’t have to do all the leg work, just make the final decision!
  • Start dress shopping as soon as you like.  This gives you plenty of time to enjoy the experience and means you’re not under pressure to find and order something quickly.  If you can, visit boutiques in the week when the staff will have more time to look after you than at weekends which can be notoriously hectic.

Tick tick tick
  • However well you’ve used your time in the months before the wedding, there will be some things you can only do the week before (collecting suits, dropping off items at venues etc) so write a very comprehensive list of what needs doing and ask other people to help you out.
  • When you pack items to take to your venue, write a list of everything inside the box as you pack it and stick it on the lid.  It’ll save you unpacking to check things are there and it’ll save time on the day when everyone knows where everything is.
  • Over-estimate on time for ‘little’ jobs like writing placecards.  These things often take longer than you imagine and you’ll make fewer mistakes when you’re not under time pressure.
  • You might not be able to pack for your honeymoon until the day before but make things a bit easier on yourself and buy sun cream and other essentials well in advance so you don’t have to find time for a shopping trip too.
  • Don’t forget food!  All the running around in the last week and the ‘I’ve not got time to eat’ feelings are the reasons why lots of brides lose weight in the run up to the wedding (sounds good but isn’t when your dress has been fitted).  Plan ahead and do an on-line shop to be delivered so you’ve got plenty of quick and healthy food around.
  • Do schedule in a bit of ‘you’ time – either go for a manicure or a swim.  You’ll feel a lot better for it!
Tomorrow we'll look at how to be organised on your wedding day and how to keep everything calm and in control...

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