Balancing Your Busy Career with Wedding Planning | Willow & Oak Events

Balancing Your Busy Career with Wedding Planning

With great bliss comes great responsibility – isn’t that how the old adage goes? The truth is, balancing your busy career with wedding planning can be an uphill battle. Or it can be faced with a well-considered strategy that keeps you feeling only the good feelings. So get ready to say sayonara to stress because these 8 tips will have you mastering the art of an enjoyable engagement season in no time.  

double exposure bridal portrait with luxury embellished wedding dress and calligraphy overlay
Photo by Julie Livingston // full gallery + vendor team here

Hire a team of vendors you trust wholeheartedly

Let’s start with the basics: booking only the vendors you know you can trust 100%. Doubts, weird vibes and bad communication will only lead you to frustration and annoyance. And you have a full-time job to worry about! No one should have to stress over wedding planning on top of that.

While many couples are quick to lock in a venue as their first major step, our recommendation would be to secure a wedding planner first. A seasoned planner can guide you in the pros + cons of each location, ask the right questions, share considerations about a particular destination you may not have thought about, help you find a venue that checks your most important boxes and help you be conscious about the aesthetic, the feeling and the overall mood of each space you look at. Your venue selection will inform every single decision that follows, so it’s one that a little guidance from the pros never hurts to have!

Laying the foundations of the relationship with your planner this early on in the process will also allow you to establish connections with the remaining vendors from the photographer to the florist to the paper good designer you ultimately select. For instance, our relationships with wedding vendors span the entire globe and you can bet we’re considering everything from personality to style to workflow to budget when we’re recommending a handful of vendors in each category to our couples. No matter where they are based.

Ultimately, what you’re looking for with each of your vendors is trust, confidence and personality (make sure you have good vibes when speaking to them in a consult call). Investing time to evaluate these options from the beginning and making informed decisions will reap a much smoother planning process in the long run since you know each creative will guide you every step of the way.

pink velvet ring boxes with vintage engagement rings
Photo by Hannah Alyssa, styling by W&O Events and rings from Croghan’s Jewel Box

Speak up about your availability

Have an open conversation with your vendors before getting started about your career commitments and preferred availability for calls, meetings, and so forth. They’ll be more flexible than you think!

From a planner perspective, we always love understanding what works best for our couples (from their normal routine to any planned vacations throughout the year) so we can keep this in the back of our heads whenever scheduling meetings or presentations with them. We want it to be a time they can be fully focused and present because a these are the moments in the process that really matter! And they should be something to look forward to, not squeeze in just barely with an eye on the clock the whole time. Vendors want to make your life simple, so just speak up and your work/life balance will be so. much. better.

Be open to collaboration

We don’t need to go through the whole trust spiel again, but know that this tip brings that element into play! When you’re working with your creatives, embrace your most honest self. Your vendors’ biggest goal is to create something totally unique for you, and they can only do that if they have the chance to get to know you. So build a relationship with them that has depth and authenticity. I have never worked with a  couple and thought “Goodness, they’re giving me too much information about themselves.” The more we have as designers to work with, the better! Because we can bring all those tiny little details to play in the most subtle, yet artistic ways. And you and your loved ones can connect emotionally on the wedding day at an even deeper level when this happens.

When you’re open + honest + in a collaborative mindset throughout the process, your vendors will be able to exceed your expectations because they’ll know exactly who you are and what lights your fire and what you value. So never hold back! And you’ll save lots of hours of back and forth later.

English garden cottage wedding venue with climbing ivy and terra cotta urns
Photo by Kristin Sautter

Avoid being a martyr

There’s no reason you need to tackle every wedding planning task in a single week. Be patient with yourself and allow space around each planning milestone. No wedding to-do should feel like a chore that you’re dreading – not even the table assignments! (Hey, with a good artisan pizza night and Eat, Pray, Love in the background – who says this can’t double as an epic date night?!)

The way we approach “the checklist” with our couples is to release a handful of tasks each month that are relevant only to that time. If something can wait, it can wait! That way, the to-do’s suddenly seem manageable and you might blow through them in one weekend tops wondering why you were ever overwhelmed in the first place.

A handy tool to utilize if you are planning your wedding on your own is Aisle Planner – it allows you to customize checklists with dates, reminders, assignments (to your fiancé, parents, MOH, etc!). We’ll get into this more in a second, but just know that having a system in place to track your progress and keep you posted about what’s coming up next is a game changer!

Gain the support of loved ones you can count on

You can do anything you set your mind to – we know! But as far as physical wedding planning tasks go, we highly recommend delegating a few tasks to trusted loved ones. Whether you can do it is not the question. Whether you should is.

Delegating tasks equals sighs of relief left, right and center. You have a lot on your plate right now, and your Maid of Honor, Best Man, parents, siblings… they’re probably all eager to help you out however they can! So our best advice is to let them. If they want to help wrangle some addresses for the save-the-dates, select stylish bridesmaid dresses in your color palette or help you with the website, take them up on it!

pastel building cobblestoned street wedding portraits with bride in a vintage inspired gown and groom in a black tux
Photo by Kylee Yee with planning + design by W&O Events and florals by Out of the Garden // gallery coming soon!

Streamline all things wedding

We mentioned Aisle Planner a bit earlier, and we cannot recommend it enough. Each of our couples has their own personalized client lounge on this platform where everything from their checklist to their budget tracker, RSVP summary + guest address spreadsheet, wedding day packing lists, vendor contracts and invoices and timeline live… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Whatever system you use, try to keep everything in one place. It never hurts to create an email address dedicated to all things wedding as well so you can keep this separate from your personal + work accounts (i.e. hanksryanwedding@gmail.com) – can you tell we adore Nora Ephron rom coms?

Bonus: Apply for a credit card that’s strictly dedicated to wedding purchases as well. Not only does it leave a clean history of payments, you can rack up all kinds of points + rewards for the honeymoon! The Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum are a couple of our favorite cards with major benefits right now in case you want to explore the options!

petite spring bridal bouquet with Icelandic poppies
Photo by Kylee Yee with planning + design by W&O Events and florals by Out of the Garden // gallery coming soon!

Be wary of the rabbit holes on social media

Social media can be a nice respite in moderation, but when visited for wedding inspiration, it can turn into an endless rabbit hole that leaves you wondering where in the world those 45 minutes went. Do your best to avoid shiny object syndrome when it comes to your Instagram check-ins – for your mental state and schedule, but also so you don’t become flooded with ideas that are already out there.

Originality is the greatest gift you can give yourself, and your vendors will help you arrive at elements that are personal to you in all the right ways. It’s of course okay to save wedding-related images that really spark joy in your heart to share with your creative time, but there’s a difference between a handful to be inspired by and 300 contrasting ideas you think you need to replicate.

Embrace wellness practices

We cannot sing the praises of regular old wellness practices enough. They improve everything from mindset to energy to immune system to sleep which will all support a boost in your productivity, focus and overall mood.

A few of our go-to practices?

  • Download the Calm app and practice morning meditations
  • Start a gratitude journal and dedicate a few minutes each evening to handwrite 5-10 things you were thankful for that day
  • Stretch for at least 5 minutes every morning and every evening
  • Drink half your weight in oz. of water each day (or equal your weight when you exercise that day!)
  • Limit your screen time (and the headaches will stop!)
  • Bonus: Work out or move your body for at least 30 minutes every day

Dedicating time to perfecting your wellness routines will help you stay balanced in general throughout the whole process. Trust us, it works!  

al fresco fall dinner table with foraged flowers and cloth linen
Photo by Brian D Smith Photography with styling by W&O Events // full gallery + vendor team here

Remember, you don’t need to become an expert in wedding planning. Leave that to your amazing vendor team that you trust and build a genuine, collaborative relationship with! They are there to guide you so that you don’t have to do all the busy work. They’ve spend decades perfecting their craft, building a network of reliable contacts, understanding specific destinations, creating timelines, designing contingency plans, etc. You hired them to help you. So don’t try to carry all the weight on your own shoulders! You have endless support through your vendors, your loved ones and of course, your partner.

You are ENGAGED and living your best life and you should be able to appreciate every single moment of it! So let your full-time job be your full-time job, and your wedding planning meetings, to-do’s and showers be light-hearted extra you look forward to throughout the next 12-18 months.

Til we meet again…

Xx,
Haley

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  2. […] anticipatory details that keep the comfort and entertainment of your guests top of mind. Trust me, I understand the feeling of overwhelm you’re probably experiencing at times. The anxiety over not knowing where to begin, the stress over what you might be forgetting, the […]

  3. […] When you hire vendors you trust, you allow yourself the freedom to enjoy your engagement season. You take back your life! You focus on your relationship, which is what this is all about anyways! You spend time with one […]

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