In a simpler time, when work was less demanding and weddings maybe weren't such a big deal, planning the marriage celebration would not have presented a significant conflict for the bride-to-be. An occasional day off for wedding-dress shopping, a lunch-hour trip to the stationery store, and some brief workday exchanges with the caterer might have been de rigueur. Today, the unemployment rate threatens to reach the post-Great Depression high. Workers who have survived layoffs worry about the next round. And a recent FindLaw survey found that 21 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 are delaying their wedding plans.
For those who aren't pushing off the big day, here are five tips for staying focused on work while planning your wedding:
Consider a planner: Believe it or not, you don't have to be rich to hand off the details to an experienced planner. Planning services—and planners themselves—are available in a wide variety of price points. While the Hollywood version generally oversees the event from start to finish, some couples pay for only a consultation, during which the planner will help them plan their own planning. Day-of planners can coordinate and run the often-complicated wedding day. Some even pay by the hour for a planner's help with certain elements of the celebration. It's a good idea to have a planner map out what you need to do very early on in the process, says Marcy Blum, coauthor of Wedding Planning for Dummies, and an event planner who's helmed the weddings of many "high-powered individuals" and well-known stars.
Watch the clock: When you're working hard to stay focused on the job, the quickest way to become derailed is to place a call in the middle of the workday to, say, the officiant, to work out all the details of the ceremony. Save the long conversations for nights and weekends. Even wedding planners expect to stay late at the office and work weekends because they know their clients are working, Blum says.
If it's impossible to hold off on having a particular conversation during the workday, then save it for your lunch break. Career expert Alexandra Levit, author of They Don't Teach Corporate in College, says that when she was getting married, she found it necessary to designate time during the day to call people about wedding details, so she set aside a specific hour slot to place the calls and then skipped taking time for lunch. "I was very careful," Levit says. "I was working in a cubicle." Even on your lunch break, however, take care with your communications and stick to a personal E-mail account for wedding-related issues.
Communicate—but not too much: You're engaged, and you've set a date. How can you not spread the joy, even around the office? It's important to share the news with your colleagues, says office etiquette expert Judith Bowman, author of Don't Take the Last Donut: New Rules of Business Etiquette. "This is the most exciting time in your life, next to getting pregnant," Bowman says. "You want to share it." But think very specifically about how you tell the news to your manager. She suggests sitting down and saying something like: "I'm very excited, but in no way do I intend for this to diminish my work." It's an important way of showing respect for your job, she says. While it may be a good idea to have this conversation in any economy, it may be of particular importance in a recession, when the payroll is lean and everyone is working overtime to keep up with the work.
Be selective with your obsessing: It's not uncommon for brides to spend a lot of time on a particular part of their wedding celebration. And it's not uncommon for the ruminating to extend to multiple parts of the celebration. But if you're working hard to keep your job, trim the obsessing as much as possible. "The more time you have, the more you obsess," Blum says. So it's best to be smart with your time and disciplined in your decision making. Even very successful people are insisting on doing tastings on weekends, rather than taking time off from work, and they're not prolonging their decisions. Blum recommends choosing the one or two things that are very important to you and spending your time on those aspects of the wedding. Even then, Blum says, "be smart about it," and be decisive.