Having your own business is all consuming, you live it, sleep it, dream about it, it is your pay-check each month but it’s more than that – it’s your freedom, your passion and your own.
You couldn’t possibly imagine throwing anything else into the mix, but what happens if you get engaged? Celebrations, engagement parties and excitement should be top of the list, but the amount of planning that goes into a wedding is like a second job and one that could be more fun than your day to day job – but remember your business! Not only is it your world but you need it to PAY for your wedding and so you need to manage it carefully; you’ll also need it to cheer you up after the excitement has ended.
My career is Events management and I have a few tips to help you juggle both your wedding and your business:
Take Your Time
If you can possibly bear to do it, for maximum efficiency I would recommend a long engagement. I’m not talking 10 years, but a maybe 2 years from engagement to wedding day gives you enough time to create your plan and successfully execute it. You need enough time to get your plan for your business in order first. Will you need to take on an intern to help you through a busy time? Can you work from home a couple of days a week? Forecast which projects will clash with your wedding month and either try to reschedule them or block out that time period. When you have this in place and you honestly know you haven’t overloaded your plate then you can start the wedding planning.
Put your research in
Take a month or two to put your research in and draw up separate lists of suppliers for each component of your wedding (i.e. flowers, venues, harpist). Book yourself into as many wedding fairs situated around your wedding venue, as you can possible stomach – they get very ‘samey’ but you will find local suppliers, many offer deal codes for those who attend and you can get a ‘feel’ for their work. Utilise supplier lists on wedding planning websites and a do good Google searches too; research the suppliers’ style, taste and reviews and then narrow them down to three/four suppliers you would like to meet and compare.
I would personally adjust your planning timeline to see enough wedding fairs before you start planning in earnest , if you have to postpone for a couple of months then do so as planning is everything to keep you stress free.
Book the ‘big ticket items’ first
Here I am referring to the following: venue, cake, flowers, catering, musicians, band, vehicles, photographer, etc
For efficiency, personally I would devote one day to each ‘big ticket item’ over the course of a month or two. I would see three/four suppliers in one day (from my carefully researched list) and then make a decision. It condenses the time and can usually be done on a weekend, leaving you the week to focus on your business. Make sure you do this at least 18 months before your wedding date – you’ll have the pick of the suppliers and get the price for the year your book saving you around 10%.
For those of you who think they would need to book and make a decision on the creative then don’t worry; our tastes change and new trends come out. Book your suppliers based on who you trust and who fits your creative style – you must scope out the amount of work so you have a price but can change the creative as long as it fits in.
For example: My cake brief was three tiers, for 80 people, lemon, icing and extra decoration. I got my quote and paid it with my chosen baker, but it wasn’t until 3 months before my wedding that I chose the exact design I wanted and it cost 10% less than I would have paid. I did the same for my flowers, catering, musicians and transport.
The stressful part of an event is researching and booking everything, once you have done that you then get 18 months to enjoy looking at inspo and buying your ‘smaller ticket items’ such as rings, your dress, wedding party outfits, etc.
Trust your suppliers
When organising any event you HAVE to trust your suppliers, any sort of uneasy feeling you get when meeting them listen to it and go onto another supplier. A lot of hard work, money and love goes into creating your wedding day and having the florist phone up sick on the day is NOT what you want. Ask suppliers what their back-up plans are for emergencies, build a rapport and ask to see other references. For my wedding I trusted every single supplier, had vetted them and also booked them for extra coverage on the day:
- My hair and make-up stylist stayed to touch me up after the wedding ceremony/before wedding breakfast
- My florist stayed until I had arrived at the venue to approve everything before leaving (not many offer this and will leave before you arrive)
- I investigated preferred suppliers of my wedding venue, if suppliers didn’t know the wedding venue I organised for them to see it in advance of the day
- I chose a venue with a wedding coordinator for the day of the wedding
- I chose my catering company with industry awards so I knew the food would be delicious
Knowing everything is in good hands will allow you to focus on your business and not let chasing of suppliers consume your time.
Plan a month of calm before the storm
The final month should be filled with whatever you want but should not be stressful. Everything for my wedding was set one month before, all RSVPs were in, table plan completed and table favours boxed and ready. All suppliers were paid, briefed and trials had been completed. Apart from an Aunt who decided to book a helicopter for herself to arrive in, it allowed me time to get my work in order before I went on honeymoon. This is important for your business, you need to give it proper attention before your honeymoon or break – make sure everyone is paid, tax is filed, customers are happy – you will thank yourself for this when you fully allow yourself to relax on that beach.
Planning your wedding is so fun, it’s one massive party, showcasing your style, where everyone in the world you love is there just for you and your husband – yes some people can run headlong into it with little planning but if you want to keep your business on track then you have to take a more pragmatic approach. You’ll thank yourself….I promise you!