You're engaged! Yay! Everyone at work is thrilled for you, but how excited are they going to be when you're putting clients on hold to take a call from your florist? A little wedding planning at work is expected (just like doctor appointments and personal calls)…here's how not to exceed those expectations.
1. Plan your lunch hour.
Have a mini to-do list of calls and online searches you'd like to tackle on any given day. If you're focused, you'll be amazed at how much you can get done in an hour, especially if you bring a lunch and don't have to go in search of one. Spreading tasks out over the course of the work day will probably take more time cumulatively as there's more gear-switching involved, and your colleagues might get the impression that you are literally working on your wedding all day long.
2. Use weekends, after hours, and commute time.
Schedule appointments with vendors after hours or on weekends—this way both you and your fiancé can attend, and you won't feel rushed. Depending on how you commute, you can use this time to peruse bridal magazines, mobile browse, update to-do lists, make quick calls, or sample potential processional and first-dance songs.
3. Be discreet.
Realistically, you won't always want or be able to limit wedding to-dos to your free time. Be ready to switch browser tabs or spreadsheets at a moment's notice. Keep the volume off, as some sites belt out wedding classics. Make/take calls in a place that not everyone can overhear you. Pick up wedding-related pages from shared printers quickly. Leave your wedding binder at home. And be familiar with your employer's Internet policies...if your every online move is being tracked, think twice about cake-pic binging at work.
4. Keep up.
Unless the people you work with are heartless, they'll be able to tolerate a good deal of wedding "work" as long as your real work isn't suffering. Don't miss deadlines, and don't let quality slide noticeably. Spend less time on the personal breaks you would have taken pre-engagement (Facebook, favorite blogs, texting your bff, etc). If you need to, put in extra time after hours. Don't expect your colleagues—even the ones you consider friends—to pick up slack or cover for you.
5. Be apologetic if you get caught.
If you "get in trouble," apologize and take responsibility for your actions. Consider taking a few weeks (or more) off of wedding-related anything at work.
6. Don't over-share.
Your boss might be a couple years your senior and newly married—maybe she genuinely loves your daily wedding debrief…but maybe she doesn't. Share what's going on if you sense real interest, but be mindful not to max out your colleagues' good will and good wishes, especially if your sharing is often of the venting variety.
7. Take time off.
It's tempting to save up as much vacation time as you can for your honeymoon, but those few extra days are not worth your job. Whether it's a few half-days here and there while you're planning, or a couple full days to tie up loose ends before the big day, take time off if you need to.
8. Bring in cupcakes.
Or cookies. Not every day, but every so often, a little unspoken thank-you for putting up with your, ehrm, multitasking self, won't go unnoticed. Cupcakes put everyone in a celebratory (not to mention forgiving) mood.
9. Set limits.
You're in love with planning! (Some might say addicted). It's really difficult to keep focused on work at work. Plus, you feel like you need to survey ALL your options before making any decisions. Enjoy yourself, but set hard limits—like no wedding talk at the office today, or a max number of vendor meetings per category—so that planning doesn't take over your life.