Planning a wedding is the kind of project that people tell you is challenging, but you may not fully grasp the scale of it until you find your home office covered in stacks of paperwork, linen samples, and magazine cut-outs, unable to find your cat under all the mess. While being organized throughout the planning proves helpful in avoiding these moments, there are a few other skills that you'll want to hone in on as well. Good communication, clear negotiating, mediation, and figuring out how to compartmentalize are a handful of new skills you'll learn while planning your wedding—and you'll continue to use them long after the big day is over.
You may already consider yourself a people person, but it takes time to become articulate and friendly but also being able to get what you want. Wedding planners call this Communication 101, but the average person may not realize the importance of great two-way communication until they're knee-deep in negotiations with various vendors. The key is to never make any assumptions about details, get as much as you can in writing, and always keep your cool. Sure, there may be vendors who really frustrate you, but any seasoned event planner will tell you that being calm and rational is the best way to get what you want.
You shouldn't expect to be able to negotiate pricing with every vendor, but you can often make small changes to a package or add a few details to sweeten a deal. By picking and choosing which packages or services are worth pushing back, you'll be working on your negotiation tactics at every meeting. And, at the risk of sounding redundant, get everything in writing. It's reasonable and expected that a lot of your negotiating will take place on the phone or during a meeting, but be sure to back it up with confirmation in writing. Most vendors will include all details of your negotiation in their written and signed contract, but if something is missing, be sure to speak up. If there's anything missing from the contract, there's no way to prove all that hard work that went into negotiating in the first place.
This may not come as a surprise, but there's absolutely no way to plan a great wedding without being exceptionally organized. In fact, most event and wedding planners double as project managers. Why? Because they're excellent at making list, top-notch coordinators, and crazy about organization. It's really the only way to survive the planning, so get your filing system ready.
No matter how well you get along with your friends and family, there's bound to be a moment or two along the way when you have to dust off the mediator skills and step in to keep stress levels low. Whether it's a tiff between your parents about the budget or an argument amongst friends about where to go for the bachelorette party, it's nearly impossible to avoid acting as mediator in at least one drama.
Managing your own stress levels, keeping family and friend drama at bay, maintaining work/wedding balance, and keeping a good head about the relationship you're about to commit to is a lot to handle for anyone. Compartmentalizing is one of the most helpful things you can learn to do in order to stay calm, make quick decisions, and keep your priorities in check.