How to Plan a Wedding When You Have Bigger Priorities

Many newly engaged couples expect wedding planning to be a life-altering experience, with details like cake flavors and flower types taking over the mundane responsibilities of everyday living. However, it doesn’t take long before the realization settles in that the promise of a wedding doesn’t change the world around you. 

Instead, the planning process becomes something to fit in between work projects, familial responsibilities, household chores, and everything else that keeps the gears turning. For some, the balancing act can feel overwhelming and take the pleasure out of what should be a joyous period of engagement.

If you’re ready to ditch the plans and head off to city hall, put a pin in that thought. (Although, scaled-down city hall nuptials are lovely in their own right!)

Here are some expert tips to keep you on track with wedding planning when you have bigger priorities in life.

Photography: Savannah Brown Photography

Book vendors strategically.

Your vendor team forms the bedrock of your wedding’s design, planning, and execution — so you need to get it right, especially if wedding planning isn’t at the top of your to-do list. Once you hire the integral team members, the rest should fall into place!

Peter Mitsaelides of Brooklake Country Club & Events recommends starting with a venue and caterer to nail down your date first. “After that, every other vendor selection is built on that foundation,” he says. 

He also speaks to the idea of “less is more,” suggesting couples “look for vendors who can provide more than one service, like a DJ who offers entertainment enhancements like lighting, special effects, and photo booths.” With this approach, you have fewer contracts, invoices, and people to coordinate — easy is a must when stretched thin!

Hudson Valley Weddings at The Hill’s Betsy Scott also encourages leveraging your booked vendors to build out your team. “Venue owners/managers have their favorite wedding vendors,” she asserts. “These professionals know the venue intimately and can work well as a team. Take advantage of those preferred vendor lists.”

Hire a professional planner.

An expert wedding planner is key to a successful celebration, as they’ll oversee logistics and help coordinate the rest of the team. Without one, all of those responsibilities fall on your plate, adding to your busy schedule and never-ending to-do list.

“The best way to avoid overwhelm, keep you on track and ensure all your t’s are crossed is to hire a planner!” assures Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “He/she/they can set a reasonable and accurate timeline, guide you through the process, and make sure no detail, large or small, is overlooked. Enjoy your engagement while a professional deals with logistics in the background.”

A planner will free up your time to savor the fun parts of wedding planning, like catering tastings, dress shopping, date nights, and engagement shoots.

Planning and Design: Sapphire Celebrations, Photography and Video: Studio Lemus

Work together to double the progress.

Even with the best team, wedding planning isn’t a hands-off process. You still have to step in for research, gather inspiration, make decisions, and support your team’s efforts. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be a one-person job!

“Lots of times, one person will take on all of the planning and while it’s perfectly fine (and many times better) to have a point person, getting wedding planning tasks done is a lot easier when there are two of you working on it,” says Mango Muse Events’ Jamie Chang. “In some instances, you’ll be working on one thing together; in others, you’ll each take on a different task. In either case, by working together, you’ll make it easier, save time, and be a part of creating your wedding day.”

When time is limited, Steven Feinburg of Bunn DJ Company suggests “put[ting] “planning dates” on your calendar with your significant other. At each session, have a list of goals and divide up the tasks. Then once the work is done, have some fun. You deserve it!” 

Ask around for help.

Your loved ones are excited to celebrate your love, so don’t be shy about inviting them into the planning process! Just be mindful about what you’re asking them to do, as Monika Kreinberg of Furever Us explains.

“Enlist the help of your family, best man, and maid-of-honor to help you with specific tasks,” she says. “However, consider people’s tastes and organizational skills before delegating assignments. You can give them small jobs to do, for example, help you book appointments to try on wedding attire. Or they can be your wedding calendar and track what needs to be done by specific dates.”

A wedding isn’t just an observance of the love between you and your partner; it’s a chance to honor your community’s support, so find a way to bring them along for the ride!

Don’t take on more than you can handle.

It seems like an obvious tip, but one that can quickly go out the window when your Pinterest inspiration boards start filling up. So be cautious about giving into inspo overload and keep your wedding plans as simple as possible.

As Feinburg recommends, “decide the six most important things you want out of your wedding, besides, of course, saying “I Do.” Put your energy into them and let the rest fall into place.”

Remember: Your wedding is about more than having Insta-worthy décor filling every corner. It’s an opportunity to enjoy an experience personalized just for you and your partner — so let go of the little things and enjoy the process!

Photography: Cody Kurtz Photography

Take advantage of industry tools.

Fortunately, you’re not the first to plan a wedding! The wedding industry is filled with countless professionals who have hundreds of events under their belt — and they’re happy to share their expertise through helpful online resources!

“There’s a reason for those chronological wedding checklists,” Scott says. “It’s because they work! There’s a sequence when it comes to wedding planning.”

Here are some apps and resources suggested by the experts in this article:

So if you’re feeling stretched thin by wedding planning responsibilities on top of regular life priorities, there’s no need to fret. A few useful tools, a supportive community of loved ones, and a skilled team of professionals are all you need to have the wedding of your dreams!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.

We’ve partnered with OFD Consulting to bring you this great advice from their collective of wedding professionals.