Planning your wedding is likely one of the largest (and possibly most expensive) group projects you’ll ever work on. If this harkens a level of PTSD from high school assignments gone awry, think of it instead as the ultimate team building activity: You and your partner are testing the waters for a lifetime of collaboration, decision making and schedule management before taking the plunge.
To shed more light on this project planning mentality, we’re taking a page from the tech playbook to help streamline your wedding plans better than a Silicon Valley startup. To guide the way, we’ve tapped Feyisola Ogunfemi of Statuesque Events, a former computer engineer turned wedding planner, to bring out the Project Manager in you as you gear up to go live with your next big life launch.
Meet the Expert
Feyisola Ogunfemi is a Nigerian wedding planner with 10 years of experience, and owner of Statuesque Events, which is based in the DC metro area and specializes in multicultural and cross cultural weddings on the East Coast and abroad. She is a Computer Engineer and PMP certified Project Manager turned wedding planner and public speaker.
“Everyone's wedding planning process is different, but we definitely take a more agile approach at Statuesque Events,” Ogunfemi says. “Most people get very overwhelmed by the idea of making a decision on colors, venue and all vendors at once, so we find it more reasonable to break up the work in chunks and set deadlines for each, which in a sense breaks the work into ‘sprints’ similar to the agile development process.”
Ogunfemi advises that the following steps in the agile development process are equally important to weddings.
- Planning: In the agile process, this is where projects are envisioned and prioritized. Team members are identified, funding is put in place, and initial requirements are discussed. In event terms, Ogunfemi says that this includes confirming who the decision-makers are, agreeing on an overall budget, deciding a high-level vision for the day and mapping out a plan for when and where the event will take place.
- Execution: Once a plan has been outlined, an agile development team will begin to iterate on solutions that meet the requirements set in the planning phase. For weddings, Ogunfemi outlines that this will include designing the event, booking vendors and working on the event timeline.
- Testing: At this stage of the agile process, quality assurance testing is done and internal and external training takes place. Translation: Catering tastings, cake tastings, ceremony rehearsal and final venue walkthrough.
- Go Live: Integrate and deliver the working iteration into production. In other words, the big day has arrived! This is where your wedding team is managing the event day (including any risks or issues that arise) and you are celebrating the successful launch of your marriage.
- Feedback: In the tech industry this is where stakeholder feedback would be worked into the requirements of the next iteration, but for the wedding host, this means taking time to review your vendors, share testimonials and write thank you notes for your guests.
Ogunfemi recommends incorporating one central system to manage the entire planning process. “From documents, to contact information, and even discussions on different topics, we use a customized web-based system to track everything for clarity and easy reference.”
Ready to dig into your own project management process? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite software programs below that cover the basics of planning like a project pro.
Best All-Around: ClickUp
ClickUp is a “forever free,” all-in-one project management tool that helps users easily assign tasks, manage timelines, track budgets and communicate easily with collaborators. The platform even has templates built-in for Event Planning and Event Management where you can seamlessly plug in your wedding details right down to individual vendor budgets.
Best for Schedules and Timelines: Asana
“Asana is my favorite because of the ease of use, how easy it is to see progress at a glance and the way it prompts reminders for upcoming deadlines,” Ogunfemi shares. No doubt, Asana is one of the most popular project management software solutions out there. Likely because it’s free for up to 15 team members and has a clean, user-friendly interface where users can visually sort tasks across boards and timelines.
Best for Communication: Basecamp
Meeting notes, recaps and timelines are of paramount importance both for traditional corporate projects and event planning, Ogunfemi reiterates. This is where Basecamp shines—the platform’s message boards, group chats and activity tab keep all communication in one place. Basecamp Personal is free for up to three users—perfect for you, your partner, and your wedding planner to get to work!
Best for Tasks Lists: Trello
Trello is a super simple drag-and-drop tool that works best for a long list of to-dos. Attachments and details can be added to different task cards which can then be dragged from To Do, Doing or Done so you can visually follow each assignment through the project workflow. Free for up to 10 team boards.
Best for Budget Tracking: AirTable
Especially best for the spreadsheet-obsessed, AirTable is like Excel on steroids with more bells and whistles. You can create trackers for venue comparisons with checkboxes or fields for attaching proposals and easily crunch numbers with built-in formulas to track spending. As an added bonus, their powerful filtering and sorting functions make building guest lists a breeze too. Essential features are free.