Below follows the script for my tenth Toastmasters speech (tomorrow!) — the culminating speech in the Competent Communication Manual. Enjoy. 🙂
How to Plan and Have a Wedding in 6 Weeks or Less
I’ve always said that I hate planning, that I’m NOT a planner. 5 years ago my fiancée Brian and I got tired of calling each other “girlfriend” and “boyfriend” and were happy to advance to the “fiancée” stage after a proposal at Moraine Lake in July of 2012. However, I was not so eager to approach the daunting task of planning a wedding, and so I easily let it slide onto the back-burner. When circumstances changed, we moved up the date, setting up whirlwind wedding plans that actually went pretty smoothly. Here are 6 guidelines that made the event possible.
1.Have a clear purpose.
Having a clear purpose will keep you focused on your goal. Mine was health insurance.
Do I love Brian? Yes. Do I want to spend my life with him? Yes. But was I ready to plan a wedding? Well . . . I had other things going on that seemed to require my attention. But. . . the law does require the ownership of health insurance, and according to the Illinois Department of Insurance, a partner may not go on the other partner’s insurance unless joined in a civil union or marriage. Though I was eager to move on from the Health Insurance Marketplace, I wasn’t sure I was ready to tie the knot so quickly, but after being dragged by a rope through the Marketplace maze the morning of November 28th, I quickly reconsidered. Thus, the planning began.
2. Give yourself a short deadline.
A 1955 Edition of The Economist defines Parkinson’s Law: “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Have you ever heard the saying: “ If you want something done, give it to a busy person?”
Fastcompany.com expounds on this concept:
“An elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent in finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half-an-hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and twenty minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar-box in the next street. The total effort which would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety and toil.
(Perhaps you can relate?)
Once I decided I was getting married in a month-in-a-half, I had to become really strategic with my time. There were less options because there was a shorter time to think about things. I did almost all of my research and browsing on-line to save time, including dress and ring shopping. This worked out great for me because I am generally not a big fan of shopping.
3. Have a clear vision.
PsychologyToday says “Brain studies now reveal that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions. . . .It’s been found that mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow – all relevant to achieving your best life!”
I knew exactly what I wanted AND exactly what I DIDN’T want: Outside beach wedding in Cambria, California — YES. Big church wedding with reception hall—NO. Hundreds of guests, invitations, and catering? NO. YES to ONLY immediate family, invited by phone, a simple restaurant reception meal, and some basic site-seeing. (It also helped that I had visited and fallen in love with the area a few years before and already envisioned getting married there.) Knowing exactly what I wanted made it easier to for me to direct my planning process.
4. STICK to the vision.
We were very clear on not opening Pandora’s box with invitations – no matter how awkward. Some were startled and jarred by our sudden, private wedding plans – and it made for some pretty awkward holiday reveals — but I knew I’d be miserable if I changed the wedding size or location. Stick to your guns, or you might go up in smoke.
5. Start with the basics.
Steven Covey’s Third Habit from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to “Put First Things First” or “Execute on the most important priorities.”
He says: “To live a more balanced existence, you have to recognize . . . there’s no need to overextend yourself. . . focus on your highest priorities.”
For me, this meant “chunking” and organizing by the order of importance.
Week one of wedding planning: letting guests know and securing a place to stay for the group, securing the wedding location, researching the specifics for getting legally married in California, and booking the flight out there.
Week 2: securing an officiator, making some reservations for the other events, ordering my dress and wedding rings.
Week 3: picking vows, securing a rental vehicle, and making arrangements for our 4 pets.
Week 4: trying on the dress, clothes for Brian, confirming pet arrangements, and final reservations.
Weeks 5 and 6: confirming with officiator, getting shoes, checking in with housing arrangement, checking in with guests, printing out all confirmations, and packing.
Done, done, done, done, and done!
6. Keep it simple.
Did you know that the origin of bouquets was either to mask the smell of the bride or ward off evil spirits? Or that a bride’s attendants dressed like the bride to confuse evil spirits trying to spoil the bride’s happiness? Or that a wedding cake was born from a fertility rite? (RobertsCenter.com).
None of that for me! If it wasn’t necessary, I dropped it. Just immediate family. We take our own pictures. No bouquet. No bridesmaids or groomsman. No wedding cake. Basic rings, basic dress, basic hair, and a quick ceremony. And a quick ceremony — that means we can stand! (No chairs! No setup!) No need for plan B: We use umbrellas if it rains! Simple restaurant reception. Get us in, get us out, and spend the rest of our time enjoying California.
How about you? Are you ready now to plan your next momentous event? Through this process I’ve discovered I actually do enjoy planning! What a difference a quick wedding makes. If I’d followed my own advice, maybe I could have gotten married 5 years ago!