Time Management for Wedding Planning, Part I

October 26th, 2015
Good planning has good results.  Photo by Johnny Knight.

Good planning has good results. Photo by Johnny Knight.

As you might imagine, I know a thing or two about time management.  I’d like to share some tips with you.  While these are applicable to just about everything in life, they are especially useful when it comes to wedding planning.

It’s tempting to procrastinate on projects until you’re close to the deadline, but that tends to be a bad idea for event planning.  One way to avoid that syndrome is to set yourself mini-deadlines.  For example, you could say that you want to have an officiant hired by a certain date and a florist figured out three weeks later.  And don’t wait until the deadline to start working on the project.  You can save yourself many headaches by working slowly and steadily.  It doesn’t give you an endorphin rush, but it doesn’t give you ulcers, either.

I find the easiest way to make a timeline is to work backwards.  Start with your final deadline (the wedding day!) and work back through everything that needs to be done.  Be realistic–or perhaps pessimistic–about how long it will take to do things.  And if you miss a deadline, it’s important to simply forgive yourself and keep working.

And remember, these are only guidelines, not iron-clad rules, and sometimes the best way to stay on track is to break the rules.  But if you need some guidance, these are a good place to start.

Vendors I Know: Firehouse Chicago

October 19th, 2015
Firehouse Chicago has this great, vintage spiral staircase.

Firehouse Chicago has this great, vintage spiral staircase.

I posted some photos last week from a recent wedding at Firehouse Chicago, but I really need to say more about this venue.  Ever since I visited it at its first open house, I knew I needed to work there.  It is an honest-to-goodness retired City of Chicago Firehouse and is located on the far north side of the city in Edgewater.

The venue consists of one large room with a generous, well-appointed kitchen at the rear, with a beautifully kept side yard.  There is a private room upstairs for dressing.  The venue will hold about 100 people.

But the thing thing that sets the Firehouse apart from other small venues is service.  Not only is the venue manager, Michelle, most helpful, but she has instituted policies that make planning easy.  For example, the venue owns a tent for the side yard and the use of it is included in the rental price.  All you have to do is let them know a day in advance if you want it or not.  That puts an end to guessing three days out whether or not you need a tent.  There are other helpful extras included in quite a reasonable fee.

Also, the venue is committed to sustainable practices.  If you order their candle package, you get all soy candles.  The owners installed radiant heat in the floor.  Everything is as sustainable as possible.

I can’t say enough nice things about this place.  If you’re looking for a venue for a small event, keep it in mind.

Recent Wedding Photos

October 12th, 2015

I just planned and coordinated this fabulous, fun, and tasteful wedding.  The two women getting married wanted a cute location, simple decor, and helpful, friendly vendors.  I found them all of that, and they were more than thrilled with the outcome.  I had a great time working on this wedding, too!

The ceremony was in the adorable side yard at Firehouse Chicago.

The ceremony was in the adorable side yard at Firehouse Chicago.

Here's the interior of the Firehouse as we were setting up.

Here’s the interior of the Firehouse as we were setting up.

It has this great, vintage spiral staircase.

It has this great, vintage spiral staircase.

The stupendous bar is part of the package.  I don't know where the old fire extinguisher came from, but I like it!

The stupendous bar is part of the package. I don’t know where the old fire extinguisher came from, but I like it!

I snuck this photo while the photographer was taking portraits.

I snuck this photo while the photographer was taking portraits.

The dinner tables were as simple as possible in comfortable fall colors.

The dinner tables were as simple as possible in comfortable fall colors.

I liked their chalkboard table numbers a lot.

I liked their chalkboard table numbers a lot.

They had drink koozies for favors with special ones for the bridal party.

They had drink koozies for favors with special ones for the bridal party.

The card box matched the chalkboard theme.

The card box matched the chalkboard theme.

My Best Wedding Planning Tips

October 5th, 2015
If this your idea of wedding dessert?  Go for it! Photo by Becca Heuer Photography.

If this your idea of wedding dessert? Go for it! Photo by Becca Heuer Photography.

I ran into a friend of my husband’s recently.  She and her longtime beau are engaged, and she wanted to pick my brain to help her get started planning.  I want to share with you some of what I told her, which constitutes Lisa’s Very Best Wedding Planning Tips:

Tip #1: As I tell everyone I work with, in order to plan a wedding, you have to know what is required and what is optional.  In Illinois, the only thing required for a legal marriage is that you get a marriage license at least one day (and no more than 60 days) before the wedding and have someone qualified sign it.  Everything else is optional.

Tip #2: In order to have a successful wedding, you absolutely must do the following:  You must end up married to the correct person at the end of the day.  As long as that happens, your wedding is a success.  If anything else goes wrong, it doesn’t affect whether your wedding is successful or not.

Tip #3: Everyone on the planet will give you sage advice on what you must do or should do or ought to do at your wedding.  Some of them will have a piece of good advice.  Most of them will not.  Feel free to smile and reply to every bit of wedding advice as follows, “I’m so glad you care enough to want to help me.”  Then plan the wedding that makes sense to you.

Tip #4: Sometimes, people you care a great deal about will want you to do or not to do something at your wedding.  When faced with a situation that might provoke serious conflict, ask yourself whether it’s more important to have your way or more important to preserve the relationship.

Come to think of it, that’s pretty good advice for marriage, itself!