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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 2

Deadlines are incredibly important, especially when crunch time (about a month prior to the big event) starts. When your helpers know exactly when you need certain things done, it makes everything a little bit easier on everyone.

To save money (and spend more on the large reception both of us wanted), we created our own invitations on our home computer and photocopied them on nice paper at Kinko's for a cost of about a dollar per invitation. Doing it ourselves, while incredibly time-consuming and labor intensive, also meant that the invitations were representative of us personally, rather than being chosen from a book of strikingly similar invites. We also made favors, after finding that buying them pre-made was cost-prohibitive (not to mention white and frilly, two adjectives that don't apply to our wedding in any way), for about $1.50 each.

wrapping up
The first step in wedding project management is to figure out what you want. Then, find out what your budget is, and adjust the wants to the proper scale. Afterwards, find out what is important to yourself and your partner, and prioritize your list. Delegate what you can, but don't delegate what you can't stand to have leave your control. Keep up with what your team is doing, and let them know what the other members are up to. Know your deadlines, and know which ones can slip and which ones are absolutely drop-dead. And stay calm.

Throughout the individual tasks, it's very easy to lose track of the big picture. It is also very easy to slowly compromise away touchstone items, with each small compromise not changing that much. Later, you'll realize that those little changes added up to a big change in an area where you didn't really want to divert from the ideal. However, sometimes these little changes lead you to another path that works better than your original ideal. Other times, these little changes cause a large amount of 'damage control'.

Even if your partner isn't as involved with the planning as you are, this is not just Your Day. Keep him or her updated on what's going on and any major decisions or items that are on the horizon. The other people helping you to carry out and plan the wedding also should be apprised of what's going on. This is a good time to keep everyone's mind on the plan.

While it's wonderful to have the wedding of your dreams, and I expect that every bride-to-be works her hardest to make sure that dream comes true, it's more important to have a good marriage. This is a time of heavy stress for both people involved in a partnership; both have doubts and worries and issues, but if you can survive managing a personally difficult project, you can do anything.


Jill Barrett Parisher is a materials engineer who currently works to get more girls interested in engineering. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her brand-new-husband, and their shared library. Next on the task list is finishing that pesky Master's thesis, because she has to plan something now that the wedding's over.


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