wedding advice per essence.com: Business Best Practices for Brides
By The Blackberry Bride on December 3, 2009 8:51 AM | 16 Comments
1. Plan: As soon as you get engaged, spend time in thought about what you want for your wedding. You will be inundated with questions and advice from people you didn't solicit it from. But this is really your time to get the general framework of your wedding together. At this point you should not consult magazines or watch Platinum Weddings - unless you have a platinum budget. Talk to key shareholders - those that will be contributing to the cost of the wedding to get an idea of what your budget is. Take that budget and use a resource like theknot.com to tell you based on how much your budget is, how much you should spend on each line item. With that information call around to venues and vendors that you'd like to use and get estimates of how much you can get for what you know you have. Create a timeline, there are many resources that can help you with this as well, and it will determine if you are on schedule or way behind.
2. Develop of a strategy: Even though you are have been elevated to this new position, you still have a life. Develop a strategy that works with your schedule. Depending on how long you have before your wedding, dedicate 1 or 2 specific days of the week to planning your wedding. For instance, I didn't talk about the wedding unless it was Tuesday or Thursday, period. My fiance, family and my co-workers knew that I wouldn't even discuss it with them unless it is on those days. Having specific days will help you concentrate your efforts and keep you more organized. It is a very important day, but don't let your wedding cause you lose sight of your life.
3. Learn to negotiate: Do not approach any vendors without knowing your limits and your needs. Wedding vendors will talk your ear off with all the fabulous weddings they have done and ask you about your dream wedding and all the things you want, try to seduce you with food and drinks and while you're daydreaming about your fantasy wedding, they will stick you with the price, that may shock you. Warning: If you're asthmatic, do not go into these negotiations without your inhaler. You're your own best friend when it comes to negotiating with your vendors. Do a lot of homework on your vendors and what standard costs are in your area. Never settle for your first offer, go to other vendors and play vendors against each other. Customize their packages to your needs and don't pay for stuff you don't need. Money is money, if your budget is $10K or $100K your vendors want it and they will work with you to get it. Go through your contracts with a fine tooth comb, if you see any discrepancies between what you discussed and what is written, use that as leverage to get even more for them trying to cheat you.
4. Be organized and transparent: This is key for any successful CBO. It is very important that your wedding planner and your wedding party know that you mean business. Create a job description for each position. Detail everything that you require from each participant, including any financial responsibilities that will have and a timeline that they need to follow. This needs to be presented to them and they must agree to said responsibilities before they are officially apart of your wedding party.
5. Develop a communication plan: You will have information coming at you from every direction when you are planning your wedding. You will need to figure out what's good and what's garbage very quickly. It'll be your responsibility to initiate almost all wedding communication. Vendors will not come looking for you, so you will need to become tenacious in order to get the time and attention you need from your vendors. It is also very important that you are mindful constantly communicating with wedding participants. Rumors and confusion will take over if you are not on top of keeping everyone in the loop on a regular basis as to updates and changes that may affect them and their agreed upon responsibilities. Your communication strategy should also include a crisis communication plan; in the event of anything disturbing the wedding you need to have a way to disseminate information to everyone involved, make sure your message and your messengers are on the same page.
Tip: Create a email account that is only used for wedding communications, like yourlastname.hislastname@gmail .com. This will significantly reduce the amount of spam you receive in your personal email account and also help you to stay organized with all your correspondence as it relates to the wedding.
6. Manage recruitment and development: You only want the best for your wedding and that really boils down to the participants, from the Maid of Honor to the hostess you want to make sure that everyone is committed, competent and know how to take instruction. Those three attributes alone are enough to take a lot out a lot of people you know out of the running, especially taking instruction - there's only one boss and that's you. Constantly show that you appreciate the work that everyone is doing and that all of their contributions will lead to the ultimate success of the wedding. If you don't see someone as an asset, don't bring them on board. Utilize your participants natural abilities and give them responsibilities that suit them and make them feel more invested in the overall success. Have a succession plan in the event that someone gets sick, or just really makes you mad. Promote from within - this can be apart of your succession plan. And have a reserve list of individuals who can fill new positions that come up along the way.
7. Emphasize your wedding policy: 'My way or the highway,' everyone should be clear on that.
8. Manage controls and reports: Part of transparency is developing reports and timelines that show that you are using your time and resources well. Schedule weekly status calls with your CFO, who ever writes the checks, to remind him/her what expenses are coming down the pipeline, what new expenses have come up and what every CFO loves to hear, how you saved money each week! You should also talk with your wedding planner and the bridesmaid/s that you have designated to keep the other bridesmaids in the loop. Detail your expectations.
9. Manage morale: Make your wedding day enjoyable for all, especially those who are involved in the day. Share the good news updates with those involved, show a united, organized and cheerful front to your participants. You will be dealing with a lot of challenges and setbacks and you must be very wise about who you share the details of your emotional roller coaster with. Keep in mind that there are people who are hoping that you will fail or fall apart so you pressure on and you stay positive. You determine the emotional tone of your organization - keep it positive> If you're not excited about your wedding day, no one else will be.
10. Maintain image and cohesiveness: Always keep in mind that all the pieces of your wedding need to be cohesive. Your day is ultimately about the love you and your fiancé have so don't let your wedding planning drive the two of you apart. Also, keep in mind that all the material things of your day need to flow together as well. If you have a theme, make sure that translates in everything from the invitation to the place settings. Paying attention to these details shows that you can see the details amidst the big picture.
11. Choose and manage your board of directors: Unlike the corporate world, your board can't vote you out and replace you. Your board should be comprised of people you know and trust and have varied skills and expertise. Ideally, your board should have a lawyer, a business person, an artist/style consultant and a pessimist. A pessimist comes in handy because they always think of the worst case scenario which you can then plan for.
12. Manage profitability: It won't be the day of your dreams if you are tens of thousands of dollars in the red. Do not allow your wedding to put you and your fiancé in a bad financial situation. Your ROI, return on investment is what your board will judge you against. If you don't think that you will get a lot of gifts from your wedding, then think twice about the items that are costly and affected by scale, i.e. invitations, centerpieces, wedding programs, reception menu, party favors, etc. When compiling your gift registry, request items that you really need and are in a price range that your guests will actually purchase. If you want monetary gifts don't be bashful, tell them what name to make the checks out to.
13. Choose and manage your board of directors: Unlike the corporate world, your board can't vote you out and replace you. Your board should be comprised of people you know and trust and have varied skills and expertise. Ideally, your board should have, a lawyer, a business person, a people person, an artist/style consultant and a pessimist. Make it clear that they have been chosen and that their input is valued but it is not a democracy it is a bridocracy. Ultimately, all the choices that are made are a direct reflection on you as the bride and that as Chairman and CBO of your organization and you reserve the right to veto any and every decision. Be an expert about your wedding and the details thereof.
14. Pamper yourself: You are the model of your organization and wedding. You're are probably under a great deal of stress and your wedding is just one of the things you are dealing with. Be sure to take time out to make yourself look and feel amazing. Exercise, get massages and facials, and spend time doing things that you really enjoy and have nothing to do with the wedding. If you look haggard and a mess it will be a sign that your not a strong leader. Stress is apart of the deal but how you manage it will determine what kind of leader you really are.