Delegate & Appreciate
Wedding planning is really what you make of it. There is no right or wrong. Yes, there is tradition, and there is a structure you can follow... and those things definitely help. But it doesn't have to be the same old routine, for where's the fun in that? As you may have realized, both Sugi and I have been winging this thing from the beginning - as do most brides who are on a budget and want to plan within their means. We've been Googling best practices and wedding hacks, but we have both decided to do this marriage thing our way... which involves a little tradition, a little unconventional additions, and a lot of guessing and just seeing what works best for us.
With all this planning, comes this question from friends and family: "What can I do to help?" We greatly appreciate the offers, and we really do want the help... but we've come to realize that it's really hard to delegate when we ourselves have no idea what needs to get done. We're going to let you in on a little secret... WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL WE'RE DOING!
At first, Sugi felt like everything would be easier for her to handle alone. Not because she's a control freak, but because she hates burdening people with her own crap, and most details seem too minor to task someone else with. Nicole just wanted to get a game plan lined up before passing out jobs. But it's really difficult when we both didn't know what the eff we needed help with! But as time went on, we realized that there were actually duties to delegate. And we realized things got a lot easier when there were less things on our plates. Here are a few things you that helped us out along the way:
Delegate & Appreciate
It takes 2: Give your partner jobs.
This wedding is just as much your partner's as it is yours. The days of having the bride plan the whole ordeal are so yesterday. We understand it's common to assume that the bride has been fantasizing about this day her whole life, and that every detail not under her control will ensure the ultimate failure of the event... but let us assure you - that generalization is dying, and dying quick. We don't blame you, grooms. We're right there with you. Everyone demands the bride's attention, so we can't blame you for slowly stepping away in relief. But hey guys, we'll be damned if we have to go through this planning process alone. If we have to go through this, you're going to experience it, too! To those men who are equally invested and take initiative in the planning process, kudos to you, bro!
Find your strengths, and delegate accordingly. A way to kickstart your partner's participation in the planning process, is to find out what their strengths are and delegate accordingly. For example, Dustin is a huge foodie and he's way better at music than I am. So, right off the bat, he was tasked with choosing the caterer, and creating the DJ's playlist. I on the other hand love organization, so was in charge of logistics - timeline, hotel accommodations, and website details. One person usually takes charge, then delegates accordingly (in this case that person is me). But everything shouldn't be all on one person... it takes two. Have fun with it. And make sure you both are contributing equally (or at least as much as the other person needs you to).
There are hundreds of things that need to get done before the big day. So you'll definitely find things that one can do better than the other. For example, when Sugi was getting ready to address all of their envelopes for invites, she realized that there had to be an easier way she could import the list and print it off herself. Being the pro in Excel that Derek is, she asked him to help. At first, Derek just sent her a link with instructions (assuming she wanted to be in charge of it), but she insisted he handle it all... and it was executed so much quicker! There's always going to be something, big or small, that the other can do to help. Just don't fall down the rabbit hole of taking everything on yourself. That doesn't make it fun... that makes it stressful. Find each others' strengths, and work together to get it accomplished!
If they offer, let them help.
Parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, friends... you name it - they want to help. It's super tough to delegate tasks when you have no idea what you're doing! But, they tend to be persistent and really want something to do! So, here are 10 tasks that we found helpful to delegate to those who are offering (especially to moms, and mother-in-laws). After all, they just want to help - so let them.
- Venue Shopping. (Good task for parents!) There are millions of venues out there - might as well divide and conquer. If your mom (or whoever you task this with) finds somewhere you might like - she'll let you know! Saving you time and energy on all the places that suck.
Give the volunteer (your parents, friend, aunt, whoever) a wish-list. Tell them what you want and don't want in a venue. Sugi shared a Google Doc with her mom, explaining everything she and Derek were looking for in a venue. I let my parents know that there was one thing we needed in a venue... trees. Lots and lots of trees (and it needed to fit 250 people). If places didn't fit our criteria, it was crossed off the list - and that was one less place we had to visit.
- Create Guest List. (Great task for mom/mother-in-law to be) You're going to need help collecting names of aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, etc. Might as well ask your mom to help you get these names. Provide her a template - and get her to fill it in with everyone's names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers.
- Engagement Party. (Good task for mom/mother-in-law to be) If you get asked right away by your mom or mother-in-law "What can I do!?" - ask them to throw you an engagement party. This will keep them busy for a little bit while you get your shit together. They feel useful, and you have time to organize your planning.
- Dress (or tux) shopping (or fittings). (Good task for mom/mother-in-law to be, bridesmaids/groomsmen, friends, relatives). Ask those who are important to you, to come along as your try on your dress - or search for a tux. They'll feel honored, and it's a fun thing for them to help contribute to. It doesn't have to be the first try-on... it can be your first fitting, or your last! Only take people you want to be there for your first try-on - as it can get overwhelming, and you don't want everyone's opinion. But if you take them to your first fitting, or last fitting - they'll still feel special!
- Rehearsal Dinner. (Good task for mother-in-laws to be) Planning a rehearsal dinner is a lot of work, and something the bride or groom don't need to handle. Give this to your mother-in-law to be, she'll love the importance of this event, and you'll have one less thing to stress about. Just give her a guest list, and request it to be somewhat near the rehearsal venue itself.
- Bring them to a tasting. (Good task for parents/future-in-laws) Bring mom and dad, future mom and dad, to a food tasting! It'll be great for them to meet the caterer, giving them peace-of-mind, as well as providing another opinion to see how your food will be at your big day!
- Shower. (Good task for Maid Of Honor, bridesmaids, aunts, etc) a bridal shower is a great event for your maid of honor, bridesmaids, aunts and/or mother-in-laws to throw you. And great thing is, is that it's appropriate to have two showers. If you're like me and Sugi, you have family/friends all over the place. So we're both having one shower up North with our NorCal friends and family, as one in southern California with our SoCal friends and family! (A fun thing Dustin and I are doing is having a couple's shower! Stay tuned for more on this in next week's post).
- Decor shopping. (Good task for anyone willing to help) If you have a specific theme, and know what decor you'd like - ask people to help you collect items you need! For example, I'm going for a rustic boho theme - where lanterns and candles will be our main decor on the tables. So, I've asked friends and family to keep a look out for lanterns - and they've been sending me photos whenever they find something that could work. If I like it, they buy it! I've already had a few friends help me out with this, as well as my mom and mother-in-law!
- Miscellaneous Rentals. (Good task for dads/father-in-laws to be) There's usually some weird rentals you need for a wedding - mine include porta-potties, bus rentals, and wine barrels for cocktail tables ... all these items I've tasked my dad with finding. And he's done so! Just gave him some guidelines, he found them, sent me pics, and I approved! SO HELPFUL.
- Crafts. (Good task for bridesmaids/friends) If you're a DIY bride like us, you're going to have some items that you need to make for the wedding. Ask your girls to help you out!
If you have more ideas for tasks, feel free to comment below! We'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas.