Monday, March 22, 2010

Ah, the dreaded checklist.

This is what my to-do list looked like 14 days before the wedding. (And I had already removed all the dumb things I had no intention of doing, so the list was of one hundred and eighty-eight ACTUAL things to do.) No wonder I felt overwhelmed and semi-zombie-like.

And I logged in today to see what is lingering out there in cyberspace for me to do, and I kid you knot, this is my wedding to-do list today:

As you can see, I am still trying to wrap up things from the wedding.

Now, there is a lot that could be said about the to-do lists on The Knot. And a lot I am not going to say. But I will say that I joined excitedly, and optimistically began my to-do list so that I would not inadvertently skip some major things. And because I really like to-do lists. Well, lists in general. Immediately I was bombarded with about 134 items I was already behind on. I guess this is because the list must be geared to people with one year engagements or more? We only had a short planning period of about three and a half months, and thankfully, I found it hilarious to begin already so impossibly behind.

Though I also used some of the Knot photos for inspiration for flowers and hair, I did not venture to any forums or message boards because I quickly realized that our wedding was going to be more laid-back (and lower budget) than most other weddings out there being pictured. So I basically used The Knot for The Checklist and approached it for what it was: a list of things to do. And I am grateful  for it because I had nothing concrete before that and this great resource (no helpful books, no big sisters armed with the necessary spread sheets, etc) so it was a comprehensive starting place for a wedding beginner.* And after getting rid of the things that were unimportant to me (or were out of our budget), it was a pretty good working list. It even included some things I liked but probably would have not thought to do, like to practice walking in my wedding shoes. And there were the things that were impossible for us: mailing the invitations three months before the wedding. We had some trouble choosing a city/country for the wedding and finding an affordable venue was a huge challenge too, so we had our planned date but no confirmed venue until about two months before our planned date. We sent the Save-the-Dates right after the confirmation, and the invites about five or six weeks before the wedding. With some late stragglers for those with missing addresses. And this was for an international (Canada-US) wedding with invitations going to Europe too.**

The Knot list did surprise me with a few common things that weren't on there. Out of Town Bags, for example. I was shocked these didn't make the list as an optional item, like engagement photos, which they do include on the list. And of course their list is not geared to brides who are self-catering or doing DIY projects, so that is a whole slew of other additional things to do, if you take that on, like we did. So that means a whole other collection of lists. I had a main wedding to-do list (The Knot) and all sorts of spread sheets for DIY stuff (dessert reception food list, rental list, decor list, invite list, RSVP list, out-of-country guest list with travel/contact/hotel info, day-of schedule, thank you list, etc.)

Now I love lists and am a pretty good planner.*** But lists can also make me feel stressed about what is undone. So this overwhelmingly thorough Knot list, in particular, combined with my own collection of other lists and spread sheets, was a mixed blessing of focus and stress. Perhaps I would have been more relaxed without the lists, but knowing me, I would have worried infinitely more about all the gazillion things I would forget. And to be honest, I probably would have created a similarly thorough list if I had not had The Knot Checklist as a resource because that is just how I am. I would rather know and have it all in front of me, so I can then stress and figure out how to deal with it. Or so that I can make an intentional choice to ignore. (Maybe I can one day figure out how to eliminate the stress part. S is usually quite good at not stressing, maybe it will rub off on me one day?)

But at some point shortly before the wedding, sad events in real life happened and all my checklists were no longer important. So I decided I could only manage to accomplish the essentials (um...get married), and I would abandon some things (day-of schedule, tying or stapling programs, making cupcake toppers), and operate in survival mode. I realized I would just have to finish some stuff after the wedding (like half-finished wedding party gifts). Thankfully (and embarrassingly), I recently mailed the second part of thank you gifts to the wedding party. And while admitting embarrassing things...we are still writing thank you notes. (Eek. I KNOW. The Knot says you have two months, and I think old-school used to be one year. I wanted to finish by three months, but...that didn't happen. I am determined to have them all done by six months. And that thank-you note guilt has been following me since the wedding. As has my big blue Bag-O-Thank-You-Note-Supplies that I have been hauling back and forth from Montréal to Québec when we travel. And it is weird because I like writing letters and feel so, so incredibly thankful for our friends and family, but there are just so many letters to write at once that it is quite overwhelming. Anyhow...)

Thankfully, at least one of the things left to do is fun: post-wedding photos. We have a friend that was going to take some couple pictures of us sometime out in a fun location somewhere. We didn't want to do this on the day of the wedding for timing reasons, and hopefully now that the weather is getting better, maybe we can do that sometime. Maybe that will be my reward for finishing the more difficult tasks. Hmm, that is a motivating idea. Maybe I will go write some more thank you's now and stop procrastinating by blogging about to-do lists...

* Now Google Docs has a bunch of great already created wedding planning documents that I wish had existed last year. Some of these look FABULOUS.

**This was not ideal timing. Thankfully, our Save-the-Dates were emailed, so those were instant and most people (for whom we had email addresses) were able to plan from that point, not when they received the paper invite, which was more of a pretty formality for most of our guests. But I liked our fun, bilingual invitations, so I don't mind.

***I am a director and have even self-produced theatre. Yet, planning a wedding is definitely different than other events planning. There are just way more emotions and relationship dynamics involved in the process. Though having some planning skills certainly helps, to be sure.


  1. i'd be totally okay w/ it if google took over the world. they make everything better! :)

  2. So with very married on the google thing!

    My checklist still looks quite similar 84 days after our wedding. So much did not get done.

    The photo shoot sounds fun!

    And Thank you notes are nice wherever you get them.

  3. I am DEFINITELY going to us the address book form that Google has (the form that asks people to please send their contact info). What a great, easy way to get everyone's mailing addresses in order.

    That checklist on The Knot really scares me, though... even if I love lists too. I think I might just stay away from that site altogether!

  4. (Although, like you, there is a very good chance I will create a similarly thorough list on my own!)