How to Prevent Wedding Planning From Taking Over Your Life

Productivity guru Paula Rizzo shares her best sanity-saving planning tips.

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and sidetracked (Pinterest, anyone?) when you’re planning the biggest day of your life. You may find yourself jam-packing your planning into too many evenings and weekends, but there are ways to make sure that time is optimized. Here’s a checklist to be more efficient and keep planning from consuming your entire life.

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1. Break Up Your Wedding To-Do List by Date: Having smaller lists will serve you well with such a big undertaking. Get out a calendar and work backwards from your wedding date, filling in deadlines for all your must-do tasks. Then create daily or weekly to-do lists for yourself. This way you have smaller, more manageable lists instead of one big, scary ongoing one.

2. Delegate: You know how friends and family always say, “let me know if there’s anything I can do”? Well they actually mean it — so take them up on it. This could include making appointments with vendors, comparing prices, finding florists in your neighborhood, etc. Plus, don’t forget to get your guy involved. Look at your to-do list and break off certain tasks for your man. You’ll be surprised just how interested he is in finding the perfect band or researching your honeymoon.

3. Bundle Tasks: Would you do your laundry one sock at a time? No, you wait until you have enough clothes for a full load. Same goes for your wedding tasks. Bundle them to be more productive with your time. For instance, set a specific time and day to check in with your vendors or pay all your deposit bills at once instead of piecemeal.

4. Keep Notes Accessible: No doubt you’re holding onto myriad swatches, websites and lists as you plan, but sometimes carrying that enormous paper binder just isn’t doable. I suggest going digital with Evernote. Start on the website and make notebooks for all your vendors and a notebook for ideas and inspiration. Then use the app when you’re out and about to refer to your notes or add information as it pops into your head.

5. Be Realistic: Take a look at your to-do lists. Set yourself up for success by being realistic and understanding that you might need some help crossing them off. Or you might just need to let some of those ideas go and move on to what you are able to do. Also set aside a scheduled time (like Sunday mornings) to chat with your fiancé about the to-do lists and what needs to get done. Having a regular meeting, once a week or every two weeks, will help to set expectations and make planning run more smoothly.

6. Assign a Time Limit: Oh the time you could spend researching color palettes, bouquets, venues, etc. online! To avoid analysis paralysis, assign yourself a limit on how much time per day or week you spend researching each florist, dressmaker and venue. At some point you need to just made a decision and move on — otherwise you’ll feel like you’re drowning in choices.

7. Reward Yourself: One of the keys to getting things done is having a light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, getting married to the love of your life should be that light but I’m talking short-term goals here. To stay motivated to work through your to-do list give yourself a reward. This could be a half hour on Pinterest, a 20-minute call with your best friend, a mani/pedi or just about anything that will inspire you to get more done in less time — the better to walk down the aisle in stress-free, serene style.

Paula Rizzo is an Emmy award-winning television producer and founder of the productivity site She’s also the author of Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed.