When it comes to planning major events in my family, everyone turns to me. Others have great ideas (and sometimes not so great), but when you want to get things done…I’m your girl. This has been a fact of life for me for as long as I can remember. So I’m never surprised when we start thinking about family vacations and everyone defers to me or when the holidays roll around and I get texts from everyone asking what the plans are. I’m not the oldest, or even the wisest, but I am the most organized. And I take my position very seriously.
So when my older sister got engaged and started planning her wedding, I wasn’t surprised to be included in all the major decisions. There was the date, the location, the venue, the catering, the decor, the dress, wedding showers (yes…that is plural), the bachelorette party, bridesmaid details, and the list goes on and on. I adore my sister, but she’s free-spirited and easily swayed. Decisions don’t stay concrete and new options distract her. Oh, and did I mention that this was a destination wedding? Or that my sister, her fiance, and I didn’t live in the same cities at the time? Well, combine all that to create the most undesirable planning environment…EVER.
So how do you deal with a bride that can’t make up her mind, a wedding in a place you can’t see, and three parties contributing from different locations? I’ve discovered three principles based on utilizing technology and electronic organization systems that saved my sister’s wedding and our sanity over the last year.
- Document EVERYTHING in a SHARED place:
- The first thing we did was create a Google Drive folder and Pinterest board, and shared it between the bride, groom and myself.
- The beauty of Google Drive and Pinterest is that you can access them from anywhere, edit at the same time as other users, give permissions as needed, and they save automatically.
- We used this for everything from conceptualizing the event to saving vendor contracts, to posting a flexible day of schedule for the wedding party that was accessible from their phones!
- Make things VISUAL:
- Ideas are great, but pictures are powerful! We used Pinterest and Google Images to find inspiration and help vendors understand our vision.
- Can’t find the photos you need – get them taken! My sister hired a photographer on Craigslist to snap pictures and take video of the beach house venue in Florida so we could get a better idea of the space we were working with.
- There are so many technological conveniences that make it easier to see things you’re not close to. Set up a Facetime, Google Hangout or Skype meeting with people and venues you can’t get to in person.
- Constantly REMIND YOURSELF of the ultimate GOAL:
- It’s easy to let people, opinions and regular life stresses get you off track. Document your goals (hopefully in that Google Drive folder you made) from the start and refer to them often as you make decisions. Some big ideas may come up that make it worth straying from the original plan, but otherwise, cling to your initial vision and watch it come to life.
- We based all decisions on the foundation of having an intimate, shabby chic, beach wedding on Pi day (March 14, 2015 = 3.1415) because my sister wanted a memorable date and her fiance is quite the nerd. If it didn’t make the cut for that description, it didn’t make the cut.
Check out some of the Pinspirations that got turned into reality and made it into the wedding…
We got a custom dress hanger made on Etsy and ordered “Pi” cufflinks for the groom (because the wedding was on Pi Day – 3.1415) and he’s got the nerd personality to pull those off.
The rings were carried on a starfish ring bearer pillow to go with the beach shabby chic theme and a naked cake paired with the pie bar rounded out the dessert table.
And finally, my sister wanted a fairy tale ending like the floating lanterns in Tangled, so we made her wish come true!
I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. And my sister loved every moment of her big day, which was all that really mattered in the end.