How Much Time Should You Really Devote to Wedding Planning Each Week?
For your own sanity!
As many couples and professional wedding planners can attest, planning a wedding can take upwards of a couple hundred hours from start to finish. Depending on the scope of your ceremony and reception, the location, the amount of time you have to plan, and your personal working style, it's easy to start feeling like your organizing the details of your big day is the part-time job you didn't sign up for. You may be wondering, "Is this normal?" The short answer is yes, but planning your wedding doesn't have to be all-consuming, especially if you're efficient with your time management.
To get an idea of you complete tasks with time to spare, here's a look at how much time you should actually devote to wedding planning each week. Spoiler alert: It varies based on where you are in the process.
In the beginning...
If you're giving yourself a year or more to plan the wedding, you'll spend the first month or two locking in your venue and vendors, so expect to devote anywhere from four to eight hours on planning each week. Most of this time will be spent on research-it can take hours to sort through online portfolios and reviews, and in-person meetings are generally at least a half hour long, but many will be an hour or more. If you're touring three venues in one day, that's three hours already! There's good news for couples who are hiring a wedding planner: Their team will take care of the majority of the preliminary research, so you can expect to be on the lower side of this estimate. Similarly, if you're tying the knot at a facility that does everything in-house, you can expect to spend less time planning as the bulk of your vendors and choices will be predetermined.
While you'll certainly be spending a good amount of time planning your wedding each week during the first few months, there is a silver lining. You'll start to learn new time management skills and you can establish a schedule for when you're best able to spend time going over the day's details. For some, it works best to designate a day of the week while others prefer to break it up into smaller hourly increments throughout the week.
The next few months...
Once your venue and key vendors are booked, it's not unusual for the bride and groom to find themselves with more downtime. This usually lasts until about three months out from the big day. During this period, you might find that some weeks you're spending just an hour or two exchanging emails with your team of professionals. Other weeks might be a little busier if you have a design meeting, wedding dress fitting, or tasting planned, so you may have a handful of times when you're spending four to six hours planning.
If you find that you're really bogged down with wedding planning tasks during this time, reassess what's taking the longest and think about ways to be more efficient. For instance, you might find that you're spending a ton of time on emails back and forth with vendors when it's often more time effective to pick up the phone and call. You can always follow up with an email if necessary.
The final three months...
The final phase of planning is when everything picks back up, as any remaining decisions and payments need to be made and the RSVPs start rolling in. This is both the most stressful and the most exciting part of the process, and you'll want to be sure you're budgeting enough time for your specific needs. At this point, we recommend setting aside a full day each week to work on tasks on your to-do list, and a weekend usually works best. You won't always need the whole day, but it's always better to have too much time than too little.
The last two weeks...
It's the busiest time for every bride and groom! When you're just two weeks out from your wedding date, you should expect to spend eight to ten hours planning per week. This includes dealing with questions from friends and family, gathering final accessories, sorting out paperwork, and more. At this point, you'll want to be checking emails daily and responding quickly to questions from your vendors.