6 Steps to Stress Free Wedding Planning

6 Steps to Stress Free Wedding Planning
6 Steps to Stress Free Wedding Planning

If you’re just starting your journey to Dream Wedding™ then here, here and here are some great tick lists of things you need to think about.

What I’m offering here are tips and tricks to help streamline your wedding planning and actually GET SH*T DONE.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, and like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, hopefully this will help. Don’t let it get you down – you can do it, and it will all be worth it. And don’t forget, you aren’t in this alone. Ask for help, and if you can afford it, hire a professional for some jobs. DIY is great but it isn’t for everyone.

What do I know about all this?

Well, in a former life I was an Exec PA at a FTSE 100 company, and managed the time of some of the most disorganised people you can imagine. I have balanced working full time, planning a wedding, starting a business and writing books. And most importantly, I’m an organising addict. I am addicted to getting things done, so I know what works.

Become Your Own Exec PA -Yes, I have a new letter-board-thing, and I am not afraid to use it 😂

I used to find it really difficult to get as much as I wanted to done – I still do, but that’s because the standards I set for myself are ridiculous. But then I realised that while I was really good at organising other people’s lives, I wasn’t applying those same practices to my own life. I was acting as though my things were so much less important than those of the people I was working for.

I became my own Exec PA, because it might not be important to anyone else if I don’t remember to set up my coffee machine the night before, but it will make a massive difference to my morning.

My jobs – your jobs – which are unpaid and only for our benefit are just as important as those which we are paid to do. You are worth organising your time and treating yourself with the respect you treat those you work for, or those you love.

Disclaimer – this isn’t for everyone. No one size fits all here. But what you might find is that once you start crossing things off your to-do list, you get hooked too;) Some of these things might seem obvious – great! It’s all part of the journey to getting things done.

Get Everything Down on Paper

 

1. Get Everything Down on Paper

You’ve probably started making lists already. You can’t sleep because of things popping into your head that need doing. Get it out of your brain and down onto your notebook app, some scrap paper, or in your gorgeous, shiny and new wedding notebook. What you want is a master list of everything that needs doing. Then, you need to break it down into small, easily achievable tasks.

For example:

  • Wedding Stationery:Check Instagram for stationery ideas
    • Compare stationers x 3Bespoke?
      • Colour scheme?
      • Price Range?
    • Order stationery samples
      • Finalise details:
        • Venue
        • Date/time
        • RSVP date/method
        • Guest list – numbers
        • Day/Evening numbers
        • Send details to stationer
    • Collect addresses from guests
    • Write 50 invitations
    • Write 50 more invitations
    • Post out invitations

Phew!

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and depending on how you want your wedding to work, your stationery to-do list might look very different! But have a good think about every little job which makes up all your big jobs. Think about what you’d be likely to achieve in, say, 15 or 30 minutes. Having bite-size jobs makes it easier to complete – you’re more likely to find 15 minutes than an hour, and can slot your tasks in throughout the day.

Once you’re done, take a look at your undoubtedly massive list. Feel a wave of overwhelm and panic wash over you. Let it pass. Breathe. You got this. Remember – you don’t have to do everything yourself. Write initials next to the jobs you can delegate. You know almost everything that needs doing, and you know how long you have.

You have the POWER.

Decide what’s a priority

2. Decide What is a Priority, and Make it Non-Negotiable.

Every day this year (it’s almost November), I have done at least 10 minutes of yoga. I’m not telling you that to brag (much!;p), but I’m sharing it as an example of what can happen when you make something non-negotiable. You find the time in your schedule to make it work. I’ve got up half an hour early to do yoga before I had to go out all day. I’ve travelled to and from London in a day and got home at 8pm, and done yoga before I ate my dinner so I could crack on with the wine.

I never thought I was the sort of person that could do that, but it’s the sort of person I want to be.

As soon as something is non-negotiable, you’re spending your time thinking about how to make it work, rather than how to get out of it. So for wedding planning, it might be non-negotiable that you and your partner need to sit down at some point during the week to discuss – and decide – your guest list. Eat the frog, and plan it in so you can open the wine after, or if you get it all done, you can get a takeaway as a reward. But regardless, it has to be done.

Get yourself a planner
Get Yourself a Planner

3. Get Yourself a Planner

I use a week-to-view diary for my planning. Because I have my master list of little jobs – which I can keep adding to, I don’t need to plan for, say, a month, 3 months, or 6 months at a time. I can be a lot more flexible when unexpected things arise. If you don’t want to buy a diary, or it isn’t the time of year for it, you can download loads of free, blank, weekly planners, draw one in your notebook in a couple of minutes, stick it on a whiteboard, or whatever you prefer.

Working one week at a time, pick your priorities from your master list, and slot the little jobs into your diary. I’d recommend adding in your day-to-day jobs too, like *clean bathroom*, *buy season ticket* and *go to Tesco*. You’re doing them anyway, and they get you into the habit of crossing things off. Once a task is completed, just cross it off. I score through with a line so I can still read it, but that’s because I like to be able to look back and see the things I’ve done.

Don’t forget to add in things you did that weren’t in your planner – and immediately cross them off!

I like to do my planning on a Sunday – be sure to write *plan for next week* on the following Sunday when you’re planning!

You will also have the satisfaction of crossing things off your master list, done in the previous week when you’re planning the next.

Sometimes, if I’m not sure how a job will turn out, or I’m not sure of what I’ve got on all week, I’ll only plan for a couple of days at a time, rather than the full week. It’s about making it work for you, and allowing yourself some flexibility.

I like to go easy on what I put in my planner on weekends. This means I can add in more if I’ve got time, go back to things I didn’t get to, or I can use my free time to do other tasks and get ahead of myself.

But then again, I am a planner addict whose only idea of fun is strictly organised fun.

I have a Pusheen diary for this year, which is just DARLING, and the little pictures of cats make using it more fun. Next years’ is a bit more boring, but I needed it in July, when limited diaries were available. It’s still really pretty, and it has larger spaces so I can write in more little jobs.

Challenge Yourself
Challenge Yourself

4. Challenge Yourself

Once you’ve started, you might be surprised by how much you can get done. By making your master list, the most difficult part is over. Thinking about what you need to do can take longer than actually doing one or two of your little jobs. You can crack a couple of these out in a lunch break, if you’ve planned ahead.

If one wedding task a day is working out, maybe knock it up to two some days! If you’ve a really busy day coming up, find one of the more fun or quick tasks (eg looking at instagram for inspo/texting your third cousin for her address) and pop it in on that day.

Cut Yourself Some Slack
Cut Yourself Some Slack

5. Cut Yourself some Slack

Unexpected things happen. Sometimes you have a bad day, there’s a traffic jam, you just need to sleep. Other people need your time, you have to work late, or what you thought was a little job turns into a big one.

Don’t stress. You got this, remember?

That’s the beauty of working through these little, little jobs, and only planning up to a week at a time. You can cross it off another day. Or you can push it back to next week. Maybe you can give it to someone else to do. The important thing is that you’re in control of everything that needs doing, and you can move things around. You know what’s non-negotiable and what there’s some flexibility with.

There are days – and weeks – where the best thing for me has been to ignore my planner, or not plan at all. If it’s all too much, give yourself a break. You deserve it. Planning a wedding should be fun for you, not just the day itself.

You are allowed to go at your own pace.

And here’s another thing – plan in some fun. Yes, I love organised fun, but that’s not what I mean here. Plan doing nice things. Schedule in a long bath for yourself, or to read a couple of chapters of a romance novel. Schedule in some time with your partner where you don’t talk about the wedding, perhaps over a romantic dinner. Be nice to yourself.

Bask in Your Own Brilliance
Bask in Your Own Brilliance

6. Bask in Your Own Brilliance.

As you work through your week, and then go back to your master list, you’re going to start to be pleasantly surprised by how much you’ve got done. Suddenly, big jobs are completed and you barely broke a sweat.

Using a planner and crossing things off works best for me because I can look back at a week and see everything I achieved. There’s no way I can remember everything I’ve done each day, but when I look back at what I’ve crossed out, I’m genuinely always surprised by how much I’ve done.

I do find that putting something in the planner means it has a higher chance of getting done. Little things I’d otherwise forget, like *take dinner out of the freezer*, *brush the cat* or *soak beans for tomorrow’s tea*. They all get done because I don’t even have to think about it.

I just look in my planner.

So them’s the tips. I know it’s not for everyone but I really hope it helps. The most important thing I can suggest it writing that big list. Seeing exactly what needs doing, physically in front of you, gives you so much more control over what you can get done and how and when you do it.

Don't Worry, You've Got This.
Don’t Worry, You’ve Got This.

What do you find helps you get stuff done? Are you a planner devotee? Or if you’re struggling, what do you find your biggest obstacles are? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Reduce Wedding Stress with Giftast Loves… Chilling the H*ck Out – Part 2

Want to reduce wedding stress? Let’s talk about relaxing! Continuing from my first post about letting go and Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, here are three more things which help me chill the h*ck out and which I, a person with more anxiety than I know what to do with, definitely need. 

As always, still not a doctor, and please don’t use this advice in lieu of consulting with a medical professional.

Down Dog

Click the picture to visit their site. So much battery life <3

Yes, but have you tried yoga?

I don’t want to be that person. I mean, really. But, as with everything in this list, it’s stuff that works for me. Down Dog is an app which plays you video yoga routines of your choice of length, style and difficulty. It’s really simple to use and you get loads of functionality on the free version.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to do at least 10 minutes of yoga a day, and so far, I’ve stuck to that. Having this non-negotiable routine I have to work around means that I accomplish something for my own well-being and health every day, and now have tiny muscles in my arms which I refer to as my guns and will flex at the least provocation. The routines are just the right side of difficult meaning I can do them without injuring myself, but that I do have to concentrate to do them correctly, thus making my internal monologue shut the hell up for at least 10 minutes. If you’ve been fancying yoga, I’d really recommend giving it a try. There’s a dog, as well, which you sometimes see a picture of. It’s pretty fluffy.

:’)

Yogi Tea

Urgh, Katherine. First yoga and essential oils, and now yogi tea? Next you’ll be telling me you’re a vegan!?

*cough cough*

Not remotely unnerving. >_< Click to view on Amazon – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

In some cases, some stereotypes are true. I’m also British, so of course I love tea. The chocolate one helps me sleep. It’s really nice. The little phrase cards on the tea bags are like opening a fortune cookie, so there’s a tiny bit of joy in that.  

Brendan Burchard – Release Meditation.

Under different circumstances I’d highly recommend High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard, another Marie Forleo guided find and another self-help thing which I have found really beneficial. But in the context of this blog about chilling the h*ck out, I will instead recommend Brendan’s release meditation. 

It’s a tool to help reset your attitude, and make a break between tasks. If you’re feeling annoyed by your extended family’s insistence that they bring their umpteen kids, but you need to speak to, I don’t know, a vicar next, maybe try the release meditation to help you diffuse that anger and bring your best self to any visits with clergy. Or whatever. This is great if I’ve had a bad day at the side-hustle but really want to recharge and bring something positive to my work on Giftast, or spending some time with OH without spending another 2 hours complaining about how I was deeply, deeply wronged. 

So clear 20 minutes if you can, and I’ll let Brendan explain.

So there you have it, my six tips and tricks to chill the h*ck out. I’d love to know what you think, and what works for you!

Giftast Loves… Chilling the H*ck Out – Part 1

What does this have to do with weddings, Katherine?

Oh, ye of little faith. As I continue in my quest to prove that I can relate almost anything to weddings, I invite you to beat wedding stress and join me in chilling the h*ck out. 

Wedding planning is a stressful business. I know it, you know it, we all know it. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person engaged in planning a wedding must be in want of chilling the h*ck out. So while I can help take some of that stress away by sorting your wedding stationery (plug, plug), other things out of your control may go a little awry and send you into a stress spiral. As the big day approaches and your guests/family/significant other may be less than cooperative about who sits with who or on how urgent it is that they RSVP, you may find yourself feeling a little… tense.

Even though my wedding is well over, I still, as I always have, find it very difficult to switch off. Sleep is one of those things other people are good at, but it’s just so hard to shut my brain down most of the time. I’ve complied an arsenal of things which help me, which, if you’re close to the end of your tether with wedding planning, or you just need a few moments of chill, might be helpful.

Not a doctor, obviously, and please do not use this advice in lieu of seeking medical help.

Relax Melodies

Click to visit the Relax Melodies website.

If I’m in a strange place or OH is on night shift, then I am constantly vigilant. Any noise, and I’m not only planning my escape from the (presumably) masked intruders but also speculating on exactly how I’ll be murdered. 

I know.

So in order to drown out the tiny little noises which are absolutely not worth my time and worry, and to shut off the racing, survival part of my brain which is straining to hear them, I use Relax Melodies.

You can mix and match repetitive sounds from birdsong to womb (!?) and orchestral to oscilating fan. You can then layer over a mix of meditations to help with a range of things from sleeping to tinnitus relief. When wedding stress gets you down, you can tune out to a cat’s purr.

Just LOOK how much battery life I have left. <3

I shelled out for premium for the full range of meditations, but the free version has plenty of sounds and meditations to get you started.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down – Haemin Sunim, Penguin.

 

We know the world only through the window of our mind.
When our mind is noisy, the world is as well.
And when our mind is peaceful, the world is, too.
Knowing our minds is just as important as trying to change the world.

– The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down – Haemin Sunim, Penguin

Click to view on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This book is adorable. I saw a guy reading it over a couple of weeks on my commute to my side hustle, and he looked really chilled. Which could have been because he had a seat, while I was squeezed into the aisle between a rucksack, some guys’ spread out knees and someone who ABSOLUTELY HAD TO read a newspaper at full stretch. Yeah, you know what I mean. Anyhoo, I checked it out, and it’s filled with tiny wisdom to help you get things into perspective. Made for dipping into rather than reading in one sitting, this is great for grabbing a few moments of chill.

Tisserand Essential Oils

Click to view on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Now, I don’t know how essential oils work. Do they work? Is it a placebo effect? I have no idea. But what I can tell you is that this little box of Energy from Tisserand does seem to have helped me focus, get more energy and have happy vibes, depending on which I’ve used. I’m writing this now while dotted with the Focus bottle, and not only does it smell lovely, but I am rattling out words like there’s no tomorrow, having just finished designing a stationery suite. 

TREMBLE BENEATH THE POWER OF MY LASER LIKE FOCUS.

*ahem*

They also do a little box of sleep which I’ve not tried yet but, ya know, seems like it’s only a matter of time. 

There’ll be three more things I use to chill the h*ck out (yes, I need six) and which might help if wedding stress is getting you down. They’ll follow in Part 2 next week. In the meantime, what helps you when you’re feeling stressed? I’d love to hear in the comments below <3

Giftast Loves… Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

This isn’t always going to be books. Just mostly books, because books are literally the best things. I grew up on a steady diet of fiction, discovered Mills and Boon at 18, then diversified into mystery and thriller in my 20s. One genre I’ve never really got into until the past year or 2 is Self Help.

I was always quite dismissive of self help, because sometimes, when we are younger, we’re assholes. But as I got older and realised just how much my Self could do with Help, I decided to go for it. I think it was spurred on by starting my own business – nothing shows you how little you know than starting a business. But we digress.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I guess most people will know Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love, but I am not one of those people. Was it a historical romance? No? Then Katherine wasn’t interested. I first heard about Big Magic on the Marie Forleo podcast (see, I am 100% embracing the self help, and I love, love, love Marie). You can see the Marie TV episode below, and I’d highly recommend it.

So, Big Magic.

About 7 years ago I completed an illustration degree, and in the process had completely fallen out of love with drawing. I’d been slowly getting back into creating art over the past couple of years, as you can probably tell by this whole “Giftast” thing, but there was still this cloud of doubt in the back of my mind. I feared that I was wasting my time and wasn’t good enough.

There are lots of things I want to do, to make, to create. Fun things, big paintings, tiny, detailed drawings. I want to make a pack of cards, entirely hand painted. I want to make massive posters and experiment with gold leaf finishing on one-off portraits. But I haven’t. Why?

Quote from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert - "You do not need your fear in the realm of creative expression"

Fear.

If you don’t do it, you don’t fail. This mentality has held me back in a lot of things in my life. But now… Big Magic.

I read chapters of this and was moved to start creating – this has reaffirmed my love and helped me remember why I drew in the first place. It’s all about the joy.

The book is written in easy to digest chunks that you can dip in and out of, and Glibert’s style is like that of an old friend who deeply cares about you. I’d recommend this to anyone considering taking up a creative pursuit, returning to one, or who finds the process of creating difficult. Gilbert’s insights about the trickster/martyr were particularly useful to me, and I’m sure I’ll revisit this book many times in the future.

Quote from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert - "You do not need anybody's permission to live a creative life."

Fear and doubt don’t go away, just like that, just because you read a book.

But what this did for me was to put those fears and doubts into perspective. Creativity is a gift, it’s fun, and when you’re practising drawing and you just can’t get the eyes right because you keep forgetting to check them in a mirror, it can be easy to misplace that feeling of fun.

How does this relate to your wedding, you may be asking? Well, if you’re planning a wedding, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. There may be things you want to do yourself – table centres, the cake, the dress, the invitations – but if you’re out of the creative habit, it’s easy to assume you won’t be able to do what you want, or it won’t look as good as it does on Pinterest… If it is something you’re unsure about, maybe give Big Magic a read, see if it helps?

Check out Big Magic here, and don’t forget to watch Elizabeth Gilbert on Marie TV!