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everything i learned about project management... i learned from planning my wedding by Jill Barrett Parisher | 1 2 3
continued from page 1

After determining the touchstones, determine your next top priorities. For us, it was having a good time with our family and friends, so we decided that we wanted to invite as many people as possible. For other couples, this top priority might be elegant clothing, or top-quality food at a favorite restaurant, or a beloved ceremony site, or renting that one museum that could be used for a stylish reception.

The economics of weddings is simply this: the more people you invite, the more money it will cost. Each person gets an invitation, a program, a thank-you note, a favor or remembrance of the wedding, a glass of champagne, a plate of food, and a chair at the reception. That last one might be a bit of a surprise, but reception sites (and, frequently, ceremony sites) are priced according to how many people they can hold. If, like so many quasi-adults, you're paying for the wedding yourself, the budget will be the most important consideration because what's left, you get to use for other purchases.

Determine how many people you want to invite. This doesn't have to be an exact number, but get close -- within about 25. We split our guest list into three portions: my family and my parent's guests, his family and their guests, and our friends. Again, we wanted to invite as many as possible.

Due to Wedding Economics, less people is cheaper, but if you have a lot of family, think about cheaper reception alternatives. A breakfast, tea, or mid-day reception all come at less expensive price tags than do the dinner reception. Surprisingly enough, the hot hors-d'oeuvres reception we wanted had a price tag at the same rate as the dinner buffet, but we were willing to economize in other ways in order to do what we wanted.

getting down to work
As we were planning our wedding from 3000 miles away, quite a few of the local tasks had to be delegated to members of our families. For the most part, our touchstone activities were kept in our to-do lists, while the items that weren't as important went to other people.

Delegating things is tough for me, because I'm a complete control freak. So my tips on successful delegation are:

  • know what you want and write it down to send to everyone involved,
  • delegate only things you aren't invested heavily in,
  • gather all the information about the task beforehand,
  • keep up with the delegated tasks on a regular basis,
  • and set deadlines.

The first step is easy if you took notes during the broad brushstrokes step, the second is easy via the internet and the various wedding planning books, but the last two are difficult. There's a fine line between keeping up with tasks and micromanagement, and I crossed that line through a lot of the planning of my wedding. My obsessive queries about the status led to me doing a bit of work that others could have done, and may have damaged my relationships with several members of my personal Wedding Team.

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