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Checklists can be helpful and can certainly reduce your stress. 

But.

When the checklists you download to help you plan your wedding, and the ones in all those wedding magazines, and the ones in the books your friends and parents have given you over the last few months all conspire to convince you that there is a specific way to plan a wedding, and that there are specific elements that must be included, that shit can get stressful FAST.

We've been working with brides and grooms for a while now, and over and over we have people tell us that we made things easy for them. Over time, we've developed a little arsenal of advice we give newly engaged couples who are stressed out by wedding planning, and now we've compiled it into a downloadable checklist of sorts.

Nothing here is about how many months before the wedding to do this or that thing. Instead, this checklist includes reminders and advice for keeping your cool, honoring your gut, and planning a wedding you can actually enjoy.

Download your own copy here (two-sided PDF). I've also transcribed the text below for those of you who don't like downloads or whatever.

I give you, our Non-Crazy Wedding & Elopement Planning Checklist

STEP ONE: LET YOUR EMOTIONS GUIDE YOU

  • Before you start planning in earnest, talk about all kinds of weddings and see what makes you feel excited. Keep talking until you land on something that makes you both excited to plan it.
  • If something in the planning process is making you uncomfortable, honor that feeling (it means something isn’t right), figure out what’s wrong, and find a way around it.
  • If anything on this checklist bothers, upsets, or pressures you, GRAB A THICK, BLACK SHARPIE AND CROSS IT OFF FOREVER. Do this to anything else in your wedding-planning-folder that makes you feel that way.

STEP TWO: SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE

  • Spend some time being excited about your marriage (not your wedding). Daydream. Fantasize. Engage in ridiculous pillow talk about what marriage will be like.
  • Remember that your wedding is a CELEBRATION, not a competition. Plan in that spirit.
  • Things are going to go awry before and during your wedding. Try to get comfortable with that now. The craziness makes for some of the best memories anyway.
  • Periodically take a night OFF from planning. Do something you used to do before you were engaged.
  • Remove SHOULD from your wedding vocab. In my experience, the word masks what is really ambivalence between something you want and something you don’t want. Figuring out those two things can help you make decisions you can feel good about without ever feeling like your hand was forced.
    • Practice breaking “should” down into its component parts:  “WHAT I WANT” and  “WHAT I DON’T WANT.” 
    • Here’s an example: “We should have a rehearsal dinner” becomes “I don’t want to have a big event the night before my wedding, but I want to spend some casual time with my family.” Voila. Do that. Or it may be “We don’t want to have a rehearsal dinner but our families would like to, and we’d like to find ways to include our family.” Then think: is there a way you can include your parents in whatever you DO want to do the night before you wedding? Or can you do something with your family the week before instead of the night before? Going past SHOULD can help you be creative about solutions.
  • With the internet providing potential access to Every Thing in Existence, Ever, remind yourself: it’s okay to stop searching, and it’s okay to decide that what you’ve already found is good enough or affordable enough.
  • Remember: your guests are rooting for you. You could get married in the parking lot of a gas station and serve pixie sticks and slim jims (stick-food as hipster wedding trend?) and they’re going to be psyched. If they’re not, they’re kind of lame.

STEP THREE: CREATE A WELL-CONSIDERED TO-DO LIST

  • Before you get very far in your planning, try making a four-part list: 
    • what is essential to having a wedding (the affianced, officiant, marriage license, witnesses...)
    • what is important or special to you (maybe this is the location, or elements of the ceremony)
    • things that would be awesome but aren’t that important
    • things you don’t care about at all
  • Then use this list to prioritize your time, your budget, and your list of things to let other people handle.
  •  Give up one item on your little-details list. nix it entirely and don’t look back.
  • A corollary: give someone else total control of an item on your to-do list. BONUS: do this multiple times.
  • Remind yourself that no one but you knows what’s still on your last-minute list. No one will know if something goes undone. How awesome is that?

LOTS OF LOVE, The Folks at Skipt

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