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everything i learned about project management... 
i learned from planning my wedding

Jill Barrett Parisher, recent bridezilla | 1 2 3

I'm a compulsive planner. I love to plan. I like throwing dinner parties so that I can spend three days plotting and scheduling.

So why didn't I enjoy planning my wedding? Oh, sure, it started out fun, with deciding who to invite and who was to be in the wedding party. But the reality of planning a wedding from three thousand miles away soon kicked in. And, other than the occasional party -- usually casual or small or both -- I'd never planned an event of this size, much less importance, before. As the bride, I knew that I'd be managing this project on my own simply because I am The Planner.

Aside from being the project management, I was the graphic designer, accountant, secretary, phone operator, and receiving department for this particular production. But the project management part was the hardest thing I've ever done.

broad brushstrokes
The first step in project management is to define the project in broad brushstrokes. So I started dreaming about what I wanted in a wedding. And I took notes. I wrote down adjectives (large, busy, elegant, secular) and other descriptors (mingling, great food, conversation). I also sat down and thought about what I didn't like about other weddings I've witnessed, and wrote down the adjectives that I didn't want to apply to my wedding (white, frilly). I then asked my future husband what he wanted and didn't want, while keeping my vision to myself. I wanted his honest opinions. This was, after all, his wedding, too.

Our dreams determined several things, like the location of the ceremony, the fact that we wanted to have as many of our family and friends there as possible, and the type of food to be served at the reception. We also determined the theme of the wedding.

After dreaming, I knew that the next big bite of reality would be to determine the budget. Once I had that information, I knew that the budget would be our big limiter and that I would be watching and tracking every cent. Wedding websites like The Knot (www.theknot.com) give the average breakdowns for budgets, but I knew that I wouldn't be spending 20% of my budget on my dress! I'd be using that money for the reception.

getting specific
My ideal wedding and his ideal wedding were different in many respects. We went through our ideas and determined what was most important to our respective visions. These things became the touchstones for the wedding, and I made sure that we made them our top priorities. Everything else that differed, we compromised on, as long as it wasn't part of the touchstones.

skedaddle on this-a-way

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