Wedding planning is not an easy feat for any human being out there, but I will say that being in the public relations field has its advantages when it comes to being able to pull off a successful celebration.
If it weren’t for lessons learned in my communications training and event planning experience, I might have struggled with some aspects of bringing our “when in white” visions to reality. Here are a few skills PR professionals have that come in handy for planning a wedding:
The PR process should always start with research. In the beginning stages of working with any client, a proficient PR pro should be able to answer the who, what and why of the situation. The ability to research what is occurring in a particular industry, with competition, and about the target audience, etc. helps us develop the best recommendations for our clients.
Being new to the wedding planning process, taking the time to research is crucial to setting yourself up for success with as minimal stress as possible. Whether it’s meeting with potential vendors in-person, touring several venue options, scrolling through Pinterest, stalking photographers on Instagram or just talking with others who have recently gone through the process, there’s a lot to explore and weigh before making decisions.
Especially for us “agency life” folks, learning how to effectively manage multiple projects at once is a must. Working in a fast-paced environment and knowing how to keep the wheels moving for several clients while staying organized prepares someone well for juggling wedding-related tasks, too.
I opted to go without a wedding planner and handle preparations myself, along with support from close family members, friends and, of course, my fiancé. This meant it was primarily up to me to find and ultimately book five vendors who all had different deadlines, contracts and communication preferences. Being able to keep track of all the details with to-do lists, calendars and Excel spreadsheets helped me make sure expectations were met for all parties involved.
An integral part of being able to stay organized and meet deadlines is taking the time early on to create a timeline containing actionable items and assigned task-doers. I’ve gained significant experience in this area planning our PR projects, and the ability crossed over well to wedding activities. Setting timelines helps keep us accountable and moving forward on tasks. If you’re finding it difficult on where to start, I find it to be helpful to work your way backwards from the end goal.
I will note that no matter how well-thought-out a timeline is, it is important to ensure there’s some room for adjustments along the way, which brings me to my last point.
As much as we carefully plan every last detail of any communications project, challenges pop up. Sometimes clients change course with little or no notice, a negative social media comment suddenly gains traction among your followers or your electronic file disappears and there’s no way to retrieve it. Unpredictable things happen and we have to be creative in our problem solving to make things right.
I think it’s fair to say weddings are planned similarly. We’ve decided everything from the types and colors of flowers for our centerpieces, to the words we will say, how many seconds a certain song will be played, all the way down to the way the napkins are folded, and yet there are things that are completely out of our control that can influence the day. Take the weather, for instance, or car troubles, maybe even some questionable actions from a guest who has had a few too many trips to the open bar.
To be a good PR pro, you need to have the ability to handle whatever comes your way. I think the same goes for any bride and groom. It’s important to be prepared to adjust to changes as they come, see the big picture and not let bumps in the plan negatively affect how you feel about your special day.
I’m certain there are many other public relations professional traits that help give us the upper hand when it comes to wedding planning. I’d love to know what things come to your mind.
It’s hard to believe it, but my wedding is less than two weeks away now. Here’s to letting the last few planning efforts come into place so we can focus on enjoying every moment on the big day.