What Wedding Planning Taught Me About Project Management

I’m getting married.

Yes, I’m thrilled. It’s going to be a small wedding on the shore of the lake. Beautiful spot for a beautiful day.

I’m pretty busy with the wedding planning. Even though it’s going to be small, we still have almost all the elements and decisions that come with a big wedding. Perhaps this is as unromantic as you can get, but it seems to me we’re using project management skills to do all of this.  We have calendars, file folders, checklists and meetings.

This is a product launch to be branded as “Mr. and Mrs. Carl Natale.”

Here’s what we’re doing that you can apply to your next project:

Designate a Project Manager

That would be my fiancée. She has a head for details and an eye for design – and I’m more than willing to let her run with it. The decisions are ours but she makes them happen. Although she has final authority, she works with me on decisions and we have consensus.

Takeaway: Although someone needs to be in charge, the project manager doesn’t have to rule with an iron fist.

Outsource to vendors

We would like to handle as much as possible but we don’t have the time or skill to pull all this together. We’re bringing together a caterer, florist, photographer, officiant and invitation designer. To find them we researched the web, scoured wedding publications and asked for recommendations from our networks.

Takeaway: Now that they’re hired, we keep in communication to develop a relationship. As the big day approaches, we have become more familiar with each other. This should help keep things running smoothly.


Since I’m a writer, I assumed we would be writing our own vows. But as we talked to our officiant, we found out we could create almost the entire ceremony. Writing is in my wheelhouse so my fiancee handed that off to me. I can’t bake a cake or arrange flowers, but writing the ceremony is my gig.

Takeaway: Make the best use of the talents and passions you have in-house.   Better yet, make use of their time as well.  You’ll likely have some people who are excited to tackle some major aspects of the project.

Sync Calendars

I’m a Google Calendar kind of guy. She lives by the month-by-month hanging in the kitchen. I keep an eye on hers for additions and add the appointments to the Wedding calendar I created online. That and constant communication keep us aware of deadlines and appointments.

Takeaway: People work best with different productivity tools. Make sure you can share information despite the difference in tools.

Stick to Deadlines

The wedding day is a deadline written in stone. It all needs to be done by then. We can’t move it because the flowers won’t be ready. Everything else before then may be kind of flexible. But every delay will make it harder to squeeze everything in before the wedding.

Takeaway: Having a hard and fast deadline is wonderful motivation for getting everything done in a timely manner.

If you take a similar approach to big project as we have with our big day, you’ll have great results and enjoy the path you’ve taken to achieve them.  With a solid foundation in place, they’re also more likely to have a lasting effect.

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Carl Natale is a freelance blogger who writes about tips and advice for small businesses. He runs the site Expensiccino.com - a site about how top brands set their prices.


  1. Ashley Hill on the 16th July

    First of all, congrats! Also, this is a great article…I compared project management to stage race cycling last week, but your’s is much more personal.

  2. Salman, Khwaja on the 17th July

    Amazing Takeaways. True essence of Project Management blended with a personal touch.

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