Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's Time to Stop Planning

Yesterday, I had a conversation about how finishing planning early might not be the best decision because it leaves time for other issues or planning details to arise. Essentially, I was reminded of the fact that “a wedding is a marathon, not a sprint”, and to plan accordingly (thank you, Heather).

The fact of the matter, though, is that Heather is right. Planning is a marathon, and is so for a very specific purpose: to avoid over-planning.

Over-planning is a very real problem; I’ve experienced it (but apparently that doesn’t mean that I remember that experience all the time), and found it to be a difficult situation to handle. It’s extremely difficult to tell a bride – or myself – that enough is enough, that something doesn’t really need to be done, or – most importantly - that further planning may just overcomplicate the day.

Planning just for planning’s sake – meaning continuing to deal with things, handle issues or make schedules once every required aspect for a day is complete – makes a wedding day messy. It adds extra elements that may overshadow previous, painstaking details or add just “too much” to a wedding, putting the event over the top and detracting from the original d├ęcor, theme or even the main purpose of the day, the ceremony. This is why it’s extremely important to know when to stop planning.

How do you know it’s time to stop planning?
  1. Your checklist is complete.
  2. You’re only a few weeks out from the wedding and have made all of your necessary decisions.
If you’re still confused, ask yourself: “If I make this change, will it cost me something?” If the answer is “yes”, usually because you’ve already paid vendors in full, then stop planning.

If you’re still, still confused, ask yourself: “Is this something I originally wanted, or did the idea of it only recently arise?” If the answer is “yes”, usually because you’ve re-read all your wedding magazines and fallen in love with new photos, then stop planning.

If you’re even STILL confused, ask yourself: “How much work do I expect this to take and is that amount of time worth it?” If the answer is “yes”, usually because you’ll be required to entirely revise an already-planned aspect of your day, then stop planning.

However, just as important as it is to know when to stop planning is to know when to take a break. Momentum in planning is essential – it’s a well-known fact in the industry that most couples fall off the radar for a few weeks when they’re a few months into planning.

That’s just fine. Even marathon runners stop to walk once in awhile.