As I shared in my last post, it took a lot of planning and effort to put together a wedding in six months flat. But we did it!
And one of the things I found most remarkable about my wedding week was that I was so peaceful. I thought that the final days might feel intense or pressured, but they didn’t. And through good planning and the prayers and positive thoughts of so many friends and family members, not only was everything getting done, but it was also covered in a lot of grace.
That peace carried through to my bachelorette party on the Thursday before our wedding where I was on time as well as to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Friday where I was also on time despite crazy traffic due to construction. Everything flowed very well, and I felt very prepared.
But my “timeline” started to get a wee bit off the morning of our wedding. To start, I had one of those wake up at 3:30 am moments where I realized that because some of our guests had their flights canceled that it made sense to rearrange the seating chart so I was scrambling to do that the morning of the wedding. That took a few extra minutes and then with the construction traffic already ramping up by 8 am on a Saturday, I ended up getting to the hotel about 20 minutes later than the makeup artist had recommended.
She was great about it, and we carried on. But then between me being a little late and her also doing a few other people’s hair and makeup, I was cutting it really close with being ready for my first look photos. Then the icing on the cake that pushed us over the on-time edge was the fact I had a wedding dress with a corset-style back with ribbons. This was wonderful for not needing alterations. But super difficult for getting it on without messing up my hair. After I got into the dress, my hair had to be fixed again with the dress on. That meant I was 30 minutes behind for my first look photos. Eek! I had a moment. Not a big moment but I was stressed about running behind.
We carried on, did the first look, took some lovely photos in a cute downtown area nearby and then headed to the church. That’s when I realized I was going to arrive at the church 10 minutes after the start time on the invitations of 3 p.m. I had another moment. Not a big one, but a little one where I just wanted everyone to get in position as quickly as possible for go time. Thankfully my lovely husband Stephen is type B and remained calm and told me not to worry about it. And my bridesmaids reassured me that brides are late all the time and they even knew a bride an hour late for her wedding–10 minutes wasn’t a big deal.
The bridal party arriving late meant that the wedding began a little later than planned. But actually not by much because I had planned in 10-15 minutes of buffer time for guests arriving late (little did I know I would need it!) And it turned out that us starting later was actually a big blessing. Because with the bad construction traffic, many guests arrived late so fewer of our guests would have seen the wedding if we had started on time. Also, the ceremony ended up going more quickly than I had anticipated so if we had started the wedding on time, we might have been done too early and the appetizers might not have been set out for the guests yet.
So in the end, not being on “my timeline” was the perfect divine timeline. I’m so grateful everything worked out how it did.
Here are a few time management principles that may help you whether you’re planning a wedding or any other big event:
Unexpected Things Happen: Even with the best of planning, unexpected things like flight cancellations, seating chart changes, and construction can come up. Remain as calm as you can and remember–the unexpected is normal.
Set Transition Times When Getting Ready: I had set transition times for going from one place to the next. But I didn’t set a transition time for going from getting my hair and makeup done to putting on my dress and doing final prep for the first look. I think if I had done that, I might have realized earlier that we were running behind and perhaps been able to speed up the process.
Hitting 85% Is Great: The hands down best piece of advice I received from people was to just let it go if certain things didn’t go the way that you expected at your wedding. In particular, the advice that if things go 85% right you’re doing great, really, really helped me. When I had my moment where I was stressed about being late to the first look, I just asked myself, is everything at least 85% right? And I could confidently answer, Yes! Absolutely. And the same with arriving 10 minutes late at the church. Sure we weren’t exactly on time, but all the major things did go right. Really letting go of perfection helped me relax immensely and enjoy the day instead of getting upset and uptight.
No One Is Perfect: As a time management coach, I do feel some pressure to live up to my reputation. Usually, I am on time, but sometimes, I’m not. I feel that overall I did a fantastic job planning out the wedding day, but even with all that prep work, I still couldn’t control every variable and always hit the mark perfectly on time, and that’s OK.
Trust Divine Timing: Even though I had two moments of stress about the schedule, by the end of the ceremony, I was rejoicing that everything happened when it did because the “late” timing was actually better for the overall flow. This was such a good reminder for me that God’s timing is best and when things seem to not be going according to my schedule, they’re often going on a better schedule. My job is to relax, surrender, and trust.
All in all, we had an incredibly lovely wedding day. Stephen and I were overjoyed to be married, and so very happy to have a wedding where our friends and family could celebrate with us.
About Real Life E
Elizabeth Grace Saunders-Lukasik is the founder and CEO of Real Life E® a time coaching company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished. She was named one of the World’s Top 30 Time Management Professionals by Global Gurus. The Christian division of her company focuses on a God-centered approach to time management through Divine Time Management.
McGraw Hill published her first book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress. Harvard Business Review published her second book How to Invest Your Time Like Money. FaithWords published her third book Divine Time Management: The Joy of Trusting in God’s Loving Plans for You. Elizabeth contributes to blogs like Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox.