couple waving as they enter their wedding reception
onelove photography

If you feel like wedding planning could be a full-time job, I hear you! All those phone calls, emails, conversations with your partner, inspo sessions… in fact, for professional planners, it literally is a full-time job. So why is it that couples are expected to plan extravagant weddings on top of their day jobs? It’s one of life’s great mysteries why paid wedding planning leave isn’t yet a thing, but until it is, there are some ways to make life a little easier while balancing both work and wedding. Because, alas, it’s important to hang on to that job as best as you can, so it’s still there when you get back from your honeymoon!

Check out these ways to balance your work commitments with wedding planning.

Keep them separate.

When you’re mood-boarding your wedding florals, you’re probably not giving a second thought to the drama du jour going on at work. Why shouldn't the same be true for when you’re on deadline at the office and a wedding planning fiasco pops up? Sure, sending a few emails to your vendors or running a couple Pinterest searches over your lunch break is one thing, but devoting huge chunks of your workday to wedding planning is a major mistake—for your reputation at work, and your overall sanity. The former, because your company is paying you to do your job, not plan your wedding, and there’s only so much non-work you can do at work before getting caught. The latter, because focusing on work and not obsessing over your wedding will give your brain the break it needs from the sometimes-ridiculous stressors of wedding planning. A good way to keep planning from creeping into your workday is to simply schedule designated planning times when you can get wedding work done (like a few hours on the weekend and one weeknight per week) and switching off wedding planning mode entirely outside of those times.

Find a veteran to talk to.

Here’s some simple math: Event you think about planning 24/7 + people you spend 8 hours a day with = a whole lot of talking about the aforementioned event to the aforementioned people. Wedding talk, like wedding planning itself (see #1 above), can totally pervade your work life if you don’t place some limits early on regarding who you’re talking to and when. My advice would be to pick a work friend who’s already married—married people love to commiserate over the trials and tribulations of wedding planning!—ask her (or him!) to be your official office confidante during your planning process, and try to keep the wedding chatter to a minimum with others in your office. This is not because you should censor yourself and the things that are important to you while at work, but rather, because if you allow yourself, you’ll talk (and think) about your wedding way more than you want to at work, without even realizing it! Picking a confidante—and sequestering wedding whine sessions to, say, only when the two of you are stepping out for coffee—will help keep work a priority at work. (While still giving you a chance to vent about wedding woes!)

Save and use your vacation time accordingly.

As soon as you’re engaged, you should start scaling back the PTO usage and saving your vacay days for wedding use only. Because, while most jobs will be cool with you ducking out from time to time to take care of quick wedding tasks, you certainly can’t be spending hours of on-the-clock time meeting with vendors, going to fittings or doing tastings. This is when vacation days come in handy—you can get a ton of work done in a few full days off rather than spreading these tasks out over many “long lunches” away from your desk. Also, you’ll feel so much less pressure about planning knowing you’ve got plenty of PTO in the bank when you need a day to cross must-dos off your list, or even just to take a mental health day and steal a break from wedding and work stress! Finally, don’t feel guilty about using the PTO you’ve saved up for this exact purpose. Less than half of us actually use all of our accrued time off each year, and when you’re doing something as important as getting married, there’s no better excuse to put every last hour of that hard-earned vacay time to work!

Divide the labor fairly.

There are a million reasons why you and your partner should share the load equally while wedding planning, one of the most important being that if you don’t, the one of you that takes on more of the work will probably end up putting their work on the back burner as a result. It’s a no-brainer but bears discussion between every newly engaged partnership: Sharing the wedding work will help maintain work-wedding balance for the both of you. So as soon as you start planning, split tasks down the middle as evenly as you can. And if one of you is looking at a particularly stressful workweek, the other should step in and take on that person’s wedding tasks for the week, and vise versa. There are two brains in this operation for a reason, and they both should be utilized to their fullest extent! Plus, if one of you isn’t putting their career on the line to plan the wedding more than the other, you’re sidestepping a whole lot of resentment that could cause trouble down the line.

Hire a pro if you can.

Like I said above, there are people whose entire jobs are doing the exact thing you’re trying to fit into the few hours a week when you’re not devoting your life to your actual job. If you have a seriously demanding career with long hours and high stress, give serious thought to hiring a wedding planner. This is the reason they exist, and the reason why you’ve got a wedding budget—planners, for people like you, are necessities, not indulgences. So talk it over with your partner, do some research and splurge for a planner if you can afford it! The wonders he or she will do for you in the work-life balance department will be invaluable. If you’re anxious about fitting wedding planning into your busy work schedule but don’t quite have it in your funds to hire a full-on planner, browse all the packages available by event planners in your area. You’ll be surprised by all the options available—smaller packages like day-of coordination or part-time help will save you money but still make a huge dent in your to-dos!