AOW A-Z of Getting Married – W is for Wedding Planning Work-Life Balance


The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

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W is for Wedding Planning Work-Life Balance by Frances

I thought this post would be a good one to write. Until our wedding planning collided with the need for me to find a new job and someone FINALLY making an offer on our house. Which means the only balance in my life at the moment is worrying about which of these things needs my attention next, and I’m not always doing too well at that.

When it comes to weddings, balance is a tricky word. There’s no denying that to some extent, unless you get married in a registry office with few or no guests and no reception afterwards, planning a wedding is probably going to take over a large part of your life for at least a couple of months – even more so if you haven’t been dreaming about this moment since your sixth birthday.

The first thing you need to remember is that actually it’s normal and ok to end up spending a large proportion of your waking hours thinking about wedding plans (and a disproportionate amount of your sleeping ones too – hands up anyone who’s had weird wedding dreams? Mine are always about dresses).

When we got engaged, the first thing that every newly married friend or relation of ours said (beyond the congratulations) was “You’ve got a lot of planning ahead of you”. We laughed.

We soon stopped laughing. They were right. For a start, you’re – probably for the first time – planning an important event that everyone seems to have an opinion about. Even if they don’t, it can feel like there’s a lot to think about. Want DIY? Need to plan an evening or many to do all that cutting and sewing. Don’t want DIY? Need to find suppliers (or willing friends) instead. And what do you even want to say to each other in that wonderful moment of becoming partners for life? Everything seems to need thinking about – and there’s a raft of glossiness out there that makes you question every other choice you make.

So you may well feel a sudden urge to discuss menus and seating plans at midnight, especially as you get closer to the day. It’s normal, if not great for your sleep patterns. But you do need to try not to get completely drowned in lace and cupcake stands:

Take a Step Back

Make time to spend together doing some specifically non-wedding activities. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t talk about the wedding and your future marriage (although by all means do impose that rule if you like). Since we got engaged, we’ve been on a cookery course, a kayaking weekend, theatre and concert trips and we even went to the Olympics. Even just going for a walk for an hour or having a wardrobe spring clean can feel like a break. You may even find that some decisions get made much more easily and naturally than if you sat down with a notepad and a blank mind crying “Must. Make. Decisions. Now!”

DIT – Do It Together

I’m all for equality, but play to your strengths. I like research, A likes organising. So that’s what we did. I shortlisted suppliers, ploughed through ideas for readings and dealt with designs for prettiness (tip: keep a notebook or copy of the Evening Standard to hand on those daily commutes). A, on the other hand, makes appointments, fields calls and correspondence and makes sure everything is in the diary and paid for when it needs to be. A task shared is often a task halved.

Make It Fun

Not everything about wedding planning is fun – see ‘table plans’ for reference (does anybody’s guest list divide neatly into tables of 8? If you say yes I won’t believe you). But there are ways of making things fun. We turned supplier meetings into mini-road trips armed with sweets and Radio 2 (turns out Hertfordshire is a rather lovely county). ‘Mission Find Usher Suits’ became ‘Let’s all go and have a long pub lunch together afterwards’. You end up with fond memories from the steps along the way, not just the day itself.

Life Goes On

It’s difficult to know how much to talk about your wedding – some people will ask you about it more than others. What is true (although I’m sure no AOW readers really need reminding of this) is that your friends and family have stuff going on in their lives too – so do go to your friend’s birthday drinks and don’t talk about your wedding all night long. The promotion she just got at work? The baby she’s expecting? Be there and be interested.

Moral of the story? Planning to get married is like every other big event in your life – it takes up time, it’s equally exciting and stressful and you WILL need biscuits. Just make sure you tackle it together and have someone you can get giddy/cry/rant at if you need to. But above all, ENJOY!

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married
8 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted January 30, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    *reaches for biscuit jar*
    After 2 years of planning I’ll be greatful for something else to take over my work-life balance I tell you, weddings have taken over for far too long!
    He is very VERY upbeat and excited about it – I am more the freak-out-and-cry type. Trying so hard to soak up his enthusiasm when he is around to try and enjoy it together!

  2. Posted January 30, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    The thing I’ve found the most stressful is when you know what you want but you can’t find it – totally drives me mad.

    • Posted January 30, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Or you have found what you want but it’s 10 X more expensive than you thought it would be / budgeted for. Grrr!!

  3. Posted January 30, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Oh I have become completely wedding obsessed, but I love organising and researching so kind of knew I would. I try so hard to not talk about it all the time with my friends but I’m not sure how well I manage, I hope they forgive me!

    It’s weird I find it stressful and enjoyable at the same time. Definitely helped with red wine and biscuits!

  4. Zan
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I tend to bounce between thinking we’re really together and organised and wishing it’d all go away! I think as I’m generally pretty busy, at first it was hard to fit in the planning. I kind of resented giving up my evenings to updating multiple spreadsheets! But it’s got easier as time has gone on. I guess as we’ve had less than a year to plan, it’s felt a bit expedited and at times, a bit rushed. But in hindsight, I’m glad I haven’t had longer to plan or I may have gone mad!

    We tend to have spurts of ‘doing’ with the wedding planning. Mid-Jan I had a week where we did nothing at all. I just need a week off from thinking about guest lists and food and chair-covers and everything. And it really helped. And made me see that it doesn’t have to take up every inch of your life :)

  5. Amanda M
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed most of the organising (flaky supplier aside) and miss it a bit! The fact that it was not as stressful as it seems to have been for others makes me think that I possibly missed some of the details that others have managed to incorporate – but what’s done is done and we all had a great time!

  6. Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I’ve really enjoyed the planning process but it does take up so much time – and trying to find a new job and sell the house plus still being in my current job where I’m barely ever home much before 8pm just means I’m feeling pulled in a lot of different directions at the moment. We’re going on holiday at the end of February so I’m hoping that will give me a week just to take a step back (from everything, not just weddings) and get some new perspective. And read books and drink cocktails, obvs.

  7. Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    This is such a key thing to remember – it feels like wedding planning will always take up as much time as you allow it to – so it’s so easy to let other parts of your life fall to one side. Thanks Frances for this reminder!

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