Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Matrimony Wednesday-A Wedding Breakdown Structure

Once Mike and I got engaged, I started making a Master list to get my thoughts in order...what do we need to have a wedding? It was scrawled on 4 pages of looseleaf and shoved into a binder. Then I went to pinterest and started pinning pretty pictures of center pieces.

Obviously a wedding just doesn’t happen from making a list and pinning pretty pictures and since the months are ticking by we decided it was time to get organized.

In project management there is a term called work breakdown structure (WBS). You look at a project by area, and then break down that area into small manageable pieces. It helps manage the schedule and budget.

Being the nerd that I am, I decided to create a WBS for the wedding.

The overall areas are:

6000-Wedding Party

Within each of the areas I have started breaking them down to small manageable pieces based on my giant list:

  • 0000- General
    • 0100 Decorations
      • 0110-Lighting
      • 0120- Center Pieces
      • 0130-Flowers
        • 0131 Decorations
        • 0132 Bouquets
        • 0133 Boutonnieres
      • 0140-Fabric
      • 0150- Misc
        • 0151 Mason Jars
        • 0152 Cake Stand

You get the idea. If anyone wants the full WBS just let me know and I can email it you!

After we made the WBS (on excel), we made a tab for each general area, and started making to do lists for each sub category. We gave each task a date based on a few key Milestones from wedding planning websites: (lots of info here), but we choose our own key points based on things “needed” for a wedding.

18 Months- Book Photographer/Caterer/Location/Officiant (DONE YAY)
12 Months- Save the Date
6 Months-Invitations
Then we can look at what needs to be done to make those milestones happen (for example, for the Save the date we need engagement photos and our guest list mostly finalized, so we can start working backwards from those points, as well as making the ongoing lists (collecting decorations etc.)

Now to the play on words part- Wedding “Breakdown” structure. After making this very detailed list that has everything from Cake to Portapotties (and so far is almost 100 items long), it could induce a breakdown! Ha!

But there are few things keeping me calm. First of all, I actually like big event planning, and I’m lucky because so does Mike! He got equally excited when I suggested a WBS style to do list with progress dates and milestones. Second of all, breaking the whole thing into “bite sized” chunks helps us stay focused. The past two weeks we have been focused on starting the guest list and choosing the wedding party. Next will come preparing anything we need to do when we are home this summer (engagement photos, meeting with the caterer etc.). So if my brain starts to wonder about wedding favours, or even wedding dress shopping, I just calm myself down by saying it’s not time yet!

The most important thing that is keeping us calm is the fact that we have a list of must haves: an officiant, family and friends attending, and a photographer to capture the moment, and food and shelter to keep our friends and family happy. Anything above and beyond that is nice, but it isn’t what the day is all about. Keeping grounded and not stressing about what exact flowers we are going to have, or what exact suits the groomsmen are going to wear hopefully will continue to help us throughout the planning. And when those items come up on the to-do list we will make a decision and move to the next item!

Will my logical project planning side of my brain fade away as the wedding gets closer..stay tuned to find out!

Anyone else have tips on how to handle the mega to-do list? Anyone else make a WBS for their wedding?

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