How to Write a Strategic Plan for your Wedding

When I tell people that I have written a strategic plan for our wedding they laugh and look at me funny.  I expect that, but as we move into the main planning phase and things start to go wrong or get complicated, I feel more and more that a strategic plan is not a laughing matter, it is vital.

When you are surrounded by vendors telling you about their vision for your wedding it is important to have done the pre-work and be firmly grounded in why you are having a wedding and what your first principles are.  This can be true of bringing family and friends into the wedding process as well.  Knowing why you and your partner are choosing to have a wedding (vs. elope or live together and commit to one another without a ceremony) and what is most important to you will help you immensely in making the thousand small (and big!) decisions in wedding planning.  By sharing your strategic plan with those family and friends who are helping to plan and execute you can keep everyone on the same page and feel more comfortable delegating.

Angela Valerino's wedding

Angela Valerino posing with her rugby friends (Photo by Jay)

So what goes into a strategic plan?

Mission -

The mission is the simple what of your wedding.  Try to state as plainly and concisely as possible what it is you are actually doing by planning a wedding.  You may get so lost in the tulle netting and silk flowers that you can find wedding zen by just reading your mission statement.

Example: Jay and Sharon are legally wed in the presence of family and close friends.

kate and seth osborne

Kate and Seth pose with a surprise wedding cake (they chose to do ice cream at their reception so Kate's mom got a wedding cake for the pre-wedding event to be able to use the family wedding topper and cake knife). (Photo by John Tewksbury)

Vision

The vision statement is aspirational, it is the picture you see in your head when you imagine your wedding at its most successful.  You strive for the vision, but outside forces may prevent you from actually achieving the vision.  It is sort of like running a race and keeping your eyes on something in the distance so that you do not slow down right before the finish line.

Example:

Our relationship is strengthened through the experience of making a commitment in front of those we love and who support us.  Our ceremony and reception reflect our values and provide an opportunity for both sides of the family to get to know one another better in a fun, beautiful, and comfortable atmosphere.

blitz torte

Beautiful blitz torte made lovingly by Cindi and Millie and Ken for Nate and Nicole's wedding

Values

I think it is most important to include a statement of shared values when you are planning something together for the first time.  You and your future spouse hopefully have some shared values and these are what will be expressed on your wedding day.  You may also have areas where your values are not shared, so it’s important to discuss what is most important to each of you to find the common ground to build from for the first day of your life as a married couple.

Example: 

Commitment
Trust
Hospitality
Generosity
Note: You may want to describe each value or discuss how it would be expressed in the ceremony or reception.
terri hugging mom

Terri Defazio hugging her mom while family looks on at the beginning of their ceremony

Goals

The goals are where we move from what to how.  Goals are behaviors or actions that you want to see based on your mission and vision.  Focus on no more than five goals.  Goals are different than action items in that they can be accomplished in multiple ways.  This is important to have in the strategic plan for when your action plan falls apart.  Maybe you decided to have your ceremony outside in a park because you value nature and want to connect to the natural world during this important ceremony.  Well, if it snows or there are hurricane force winds or the park kicks you out because you didn’t have a permit, it is important to come back to why you were getting married in the park to begin with.  Perhaps it’s time to bring live plants inside for the ceremony or get married in a green house or indoor garden.  If it was important enough to write a goal about it, do not just let it go, but find a new way to accomplish that goal.

Example: 

We create a warm, welcoming environment where our guests can feel that we value their support.
Our wedding ceremony is an expression of our values and our relationship.
melinda bloom dancing

My mom in the conga line in a great Albert family tradition at Kacy Gerst's wedding (photo from Kacy Gerst's collection)

Indicators of Success

You’d be surprised how common it is for a couple to get to the end of their wedding day and not actually be wed.  There’s paperwork to sign and local laws to follow…  Maybe, you already know that you can not be legally wed in your state and that is not actually the point of your wedding day.  So what does success look like?

Example:

1.  Sharon and Jay are legally wed.
2.  We spend our wedding day smiling and laughing with our closest friends and family.
3.  Our wedding guests are active participants, telling stories or dancing, lending a hand because they are welcome to do so.
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5 responses to “How to Write a Strategic Plan for your Wedding

  1. Did I miss the first post – How to Get a Girlfriend? ;)

    (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

  2. LOL – Zoe’s face is so funny in the background of that picture. Great recommendations Sharon! Keep up the blog – I’m sure lots of people would love to hear all the tips you learn through wedding planning!

  3. Inspirational Sharon!!! Great thought process and ideas. Glad your mom shared the link……Happy planning. We’re looking forward to it!

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