Now that you’re engaged, it’s time to jump feet first into wedding planning! If the thought of basically being a one-woman event planner overwhelms you, you’re not alone. Asking friends and family for help is a great idea — and many will be excited to take on tasks for your big day — but keep in mind that there is a right way and a wrong way to ask for help.
What Do You Need Help With?
It’s a lot easier to ask for help when you know what exactly you need help with. Most brides start planning their weddings during childhood, so you may already have an idea about what type of dress you want, what your theme will be, and who will cater the reception. Before you start delegating like a mad-woman, though, take the time to print a free wedding checklist, like this one from MagnetStreet, sit down with your fiancé, and make firm decisions about all the details of your special day.
- Start by deciding how much wedding you can afford. Although your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, you don’t want to start your marriage in debt, especially if you plan to buy a house, relocate for work or start a family soon.
- Next, choose a date so that you know if you have months or years to prepare for your day.
- Select your wedding theme next. Whether you choose to go all-out and plan an extravagant wedding with hundreds of guests or host an intimate backyard barbecue, this decision affects most of your day’s details.
- You’re now ready to check the best wedding websites and write a comprehensive list of all the decisions you need to make. For example, you’ll need a venue, guest list, florist, caterer, photographer…and the list goes on.
- Now you can divide your list of decisions into bride or groom responsibilities. You’re also ready to start asking your family and friends for their assistance in making your dream day a reality.
Whom Should You Ask for Help?
Because your to-do list is practically endless, the more help you can get, the less stressed you’ll be. So, write a list of everyone you know and what their talent or “specialty” is. Try pulling names from the following suggestions:
- Parents and grandparents of the bride and groom
- Other relatives
- Best friends
- Fraternity brothers/sorority sisters
With your list of potential helpers, start matching people to jobs they can do. Your coworker, who creates wedding hairstyles in her free time, may be honored and delighted to do your and your bridesmaids’ hair on the day of your wedding. Your Aunt Sally owns a catering company and might be willing to prepare the food. And your cousin Jack could use his computer skills to whip up a wedding website for you. Use your imagination as you consider which family members and friends have the perfect skill set that could help you out for your big day.
What’s the Best Way to Ask for Help?
Now that you’ve got your checklist of everything that needs to be done up to and on the day of your wedding, as well as your list of talented friends and family, you’re ready to start asking people for help. Just be sure to keep a few etiquette points in mind.
- Understand that others may not be as excited about or as focused on your special day as you are. That’s why the groomsmen may miss tux fittings or your program printer doesn’t return your calls. Keep in mind that you can avoid a certain amount of stress by only asking reliable family members and friends for assistance or hiring professional vendors with legally-binding contracts.
- Be prepared to share specific details about the tasks you need help with: know exactly what duties you need your helper to perform, how much time you estimate it will take, how much it will cost, and the due date.
- Be straightforward. Don’t just whine to your amazing florist friend that you need beautiful arrangements for your wedding and hope that she takes the hint. Ask her if she would create arrangements for you and be ready with a few photos of bouquets you like.
- Realize that your family and friends may have demanding jobs, busy families or personal crises. Be sensitive and respectful of your loved ones’ lives as you ask for wedding assistance.
- Consider feelings. Will your sister be hurt if you ask your best friend to be your maid of honor? If so, brainstorm ways they can both be intimately involved in your wedding. Ultimately, you want the wedding of your dreams but not at the expense of the people and relationships in your life.
- Don’t ask for money. Yes, the bride’s family traditionally pays for the reception while the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, but your family may be financially unable to commit cash. If you really need money to make your dream day come true, either postpone the date until you can save more cash or downsize your dream day.
- Be willing to take no for an answer. Maybe your friend Ruth does make the best cake in town, but give her the freedom to choose whether she serves as the wedding cake baker or simply celebrates with you as a guest. Extend the same courtesy to your other talented family members and friends, too.
Your wedding day is going to be spectacular whether you throw a lavish party or a small gathering because you’ll be marrying the man you love and surrounded by the people you care about most. Getting help will decrease your stress about this enormous event, and involving your loved ones in your wedding will bring you closer and make it a day that nobody will ever forget.