When you already have a full-time job, planning a wedding can feel like you’re taking on a second one. With the proper organization, time management, and delegation, it’s entirely possible to stay sane throughout the entire planning process and, perhaps more importantly, still keep your job. Here, two top wedding planners share their tips for finding time plan a wedding when you work a 9-to-5 (or later) job.
Before you do anything else, get yourself organized. “Once you set your wedding date, get out a calendar with your partner and start backwards from the big day and mark the dates of major deadlines you need to meet,” suggests Alicia Fritz of A Day In May Events. It’s a good idea to keep a binder with important notes and contracts, but you may also want to set up a Google Drive folder or Trello board that you can share with your vendors and any loved ones who will be helping you plan. Just like you would at work, add appointments and deadlines to your calendar and use your phone to set up reminders. Fritz recommends digital notifications for any important task, like the date you need to give your caterer the headcount and when your hotel room block expires.
Build your team.
Assemble a team to help you plan the big day, and whether that includes your family members and friends or professional planners is entirely up to you. With a full-time job, you’ll probably need to outsource at least a handful of the planning duties to professionals and your bridal party, so enlist the help of people you really trust.
Give everyone a clear job description.
Just as you would when working on a big project in the office, you should delegate tasks to your planning team and provide everyone with a clear description of what they’re responsible for. Create a wedding checklist, split tasks with your significant other, and create deadlines so that everything is accomplished on time.
Be wary of DIY projects.
If you already have your hands full at work, be careful of committing to too many DIY projects. If you realize that you can’t devote the necessary time to a task you planned to take on, don’t be afraid to let those projects go or to ask a friend or family member to work on it instead.
Consult your schedule.
You’ll find that most wedding vendors have limited availability for weekend meetings, so try to organize those dates early, or else plan to take a day or two off work to meet with your team. If you are going to use time off for your wedding, Shannon Leahy suggests scheduling as many meetings as possible on the same day to minimize the amount of time you’ll be out for. You’ll also want to be creative about how you pair your meetings. “Schedule your hair and makeup trial on the same day as your engagement shoot so you can look great for your photos and do those meetings in the same day,” she says.
Make the most of any downtime you have.
The busiest times of the planning process will likely be the month of your engagement when you start meeting with venues and vendors and the month before your big day when you’re finalizing the details. Whenever possible, dedicate part of your lunch hour or any time spent commuting to fielding emails and setting appointments.
This article originally appeared in Martha Stewart Weddings.