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10 Tips to Plan Your Wedding in Style

10 Tips to Plan Your Wedding in Style

So, you’re engaged — congratulations! Now the only thing between you and happily ever after is planning the big day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different pieces of the wedding puzzle, but these tips will be sure to save you some stress!

1. Budget

In addition to setting an overall amount that you’re willing to spend on the wedding, you need to break the budget down so you know how much you can afford to spend on individual pieces like the reception or the venue. A good rule of thumb is to allot half of your budget to the reception and another 10 percent each for flowers, attire, music and entertainment, photographs, and invitations and gifts. Also, be sure to leave some leeway for extra expenses that could pop up unexpectedly along the way.

2. Organization

Whether you decide to use a wedding planning application, track everything through Google spreadsheets, or go old school and store your notes and plans together in one big binder, you need to keep track of everything you plan and store the information in one central location. This is good for your sake when you want to double check how many invitations you ordered or exactly when you told the caterers to show up, and it also means that you have proof of any agreements just in case.

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3. Schedule

Once you’ve figured out a budget and a method for tracking your expenses and plans, you’re ready to start laying out a timeline of events. Save yourself the headache of having too much to decide too close to the wedding by setting smaller deadlines along the way for things like hiring your caterer or booking the band.

4. Guests

When determining who to include on your guest list, prioritization is key. Create a list with most important family members and closest friends at the top and neighbors, coworkers, and other less crucial people at the bottom. Then cross names off starting at the bottom of the list until you’ve reached a comfortable number. And remember, often a quarter to a third of the guests you invite won’t be able to come anyway.

But don’t worry too much if the final number ends up a little higher than you were hoping — at least you can be happy knowing how many of your friends and family cared enough to make your big day a priority!

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5. Vendors

When it comes time to choose vendors, be sure you’re paying attention to the people you’re hiring, not just the product. If you find a caterer who cooks amazing food but who is totally unwilling to budge on small details, don’t hire them! You want people who you can trust to have your back and help make your wedding go smoothly.

6. Dress

If you’re like many brides, you’ve been imagining your wedding dress for ages. Don’t let that perfect image in your mind keep you from shopping around in reality, though. Try on a lot of dresses and visit a lot of stores. You never know what you’ll find — the perfect dress may end up being something totally different from what you were picturing initially.

7. Gifts

The gift registry is an important way to make sure your guests know what to get you so that you get things you actually want and need, but not everybody wants new kitchen appliances or household items. If that’s you — don’t worry! There are plenty of less traditional gift registries out there, from honeymoon funds to charitable donation plans. Search around a bit to make sure you find a way to get gifts that you’ll appreciate and that your guests will feel good about giving.

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8. Honeymoon

You want your honeymoon to be exciting, relaxing, and special, but with all of the wedding planning to take care of beforehand, you might feel overwhelmed trying to plan the honeymoon, too. One increasingly popular way to get around this problem is to postpone your honeymoon by a few months to give yourself time to recuperate and focus on the honeymoon itself. Definitely consider this option if your nerves or your finances are feeling the strain of wedding planning.

9. The Day-of

Even after all of the details you’ve taken care of in advance, from arranging vendors to booking hotel rooms to putting together gift bags, there are still a number of things you simply can’t take care of until the big day arrives. From doing your hair and makeup to greeting your guests, you’ll have your hands full from dawn ‘til dusk on your big day. To ensure that you have time for everything, schedule the whole day in advance and make sure to hand off any responsibilities you can to a trusted member of the wedding team.

10. Relax

Even if you’ve only just gotten engaged and haven’t really started the planning process, the mere thought of all the pieces you somehow have to put together to make this wedding happen could be getting to you. Don’t worry! Really, this is supposed to be a special day celebrating your happy union. Whenever the stress starts getting to you, focus on that and let the little details zoom back into perspective. No matter what, at the end of the big day you’ll be happily married and surrounded by friends and family.

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There are a million different ways to plan a wedding, from a tiny ceremony to a giant, fancy party to an exotic destination. When you’re planning yours, don’t feel like you have to conform to anyone else’s expectations. Stay true to what you want and that will make all of the effort way more fun and worthwhile.

Featured photo credit: fotomelia via fotomelia.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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