Time-Saving Secrets for Busy Brides

You have a job. You have a life. Now you have a wedding to plan. Nine tips to help you get it all done (without messing up!).

6. Power Up Your Lunch Hour

“I did almost all my wedding planning on my lunch hour,” says Vapenik. “I went online for everything: I picked my music, I researched what flowers were in season, and I got lots of ideas about what other brides are doing these days.” While dining at your desk, update your wedding budget or file research in your binders. If you can escape from the office, shop for bridesmaids’ gifts, or if it’s a nice day, head outside with your cell phone and call vendors. Just make sure you’re prepared. “You’ll want to create a list of questions to ask so you can interview each vendor quickly but thoroughly,” says Lusardi. If you run out of time, ask vendors to mail or e-mail you samples of their work. Other doable lunch-hour tasks are updating your registry and your wedding web site, and researching honeymoon destinations.

7. Make Use of Time-Saving Technology

Many busy brides are going high-tech to get the help they need. Wedding-related computer programs, like fivestarsoftware.com, allow you to keep track of expenses, the guest list and your deadlines. Some brides find they can’t go anywhere without their smartphones, which can store names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and appointments. Of course you can also use your phone to get on the Internet and check to see if your vendors have gotten back to you with answers to your questions. And you might want to keep a voice-activated tape recorder in your purse—you never know when inspiration will strike!

8. Compensate for Unexpected Problems

Even with the best-laid plans, things come up. Perhaps you find that your chosen reception venue isn’t available, and you need to take a couple of extra mornings off to visit more sites. Or maybe the bridesmaid who was going to help out with the wedding invitations comes down with the flu. When you explain to your boss that you need to take more time out of the office, be up front about it—you don’t want to sound out of control or irresponsible, so ask if you can work some Saturdays to make up the time, or else arrange to work late. If you find that you have to schedule early-morning appointments, find out if you can come in to the office a bit later and make up for it by working extra hours at the end of the day. You can avoid making your boss anxious about your job performance if you reassure her that you will be certain to meet all of your deadlines.

9. Delegate!

Are you finding that you’re missing deadlines at work, making careless mistakes or misplacing important papers? Take control by enlisting the help of friends, family and fiancé. “With a full-time job, I saw that I just couldn’t do everything myself,” admits Vapenik. “I learned how to divvy up tasks among my family members and eight bridesmaids.” Catherine Turner, founder of Melica Wedding Event Planning, in Montréal, Canada, adds, “Typically, the mother of the bride wants to be involved, so she could be in charge of flowers, décor or anything else. If you have creative friends, let them help you design your wedding programs, create place cards or make a scrapbook of your wedding. Friends can look up addresses for your guest list. Your bridesmaids can set up hair and makeup appointments.”