Recently a friend asked on Facebook, “How do you decide what to eat?” She wasn’t asking because she couldn’t make up her mind about dinner, but because she was interested in how her friends make decisions – what tools or tricks they use to help them decide. Some responded that they use recipe sites for inspiration, some said they create weekly meal plans, and yet some others said they just make whatever they have a taste for that day – or go out to eat.
Wedding planning decisions are on a much different scale than decisions about what’s for dinner, but the process driving them is equally as variable and personal.
Here are a few methods you can use when you’re stuck on a wedding decision:
Classify the Decision
Is this a BIG decision, or a detail? Give higher priority – and more time – to the decisions that affect your entire wedding than you do to the details…even though the details can be a lot of fun. #ProTip: Save some of the detail decisions for the times when BIG decisions are just too much to consider, then make a bunch of small decisions at once to get them out of the way.
Give Yourself a Deadline
About the best thing you can do with a decision is to give yourself a deadline. Mark your calendar and then set reminders to spend a little time researching your options and feeling it out. Yes, I am suggesting you schedule in time to daydream, absorb the info, and to listen to your heart! (This is what a dear mentor of mine calls “The Lasagna Effect” – when the pieces are there, and the flavors just need time and rest to permeate all the layers.) Schedule it in so you don’t forget to let that happen.
Create a Pros/Cons List
A super-simple trick is to create a pros and cons list for each of the 2-3 options (this doesn’t work as well for comparison lists larger than 3 options). The hardest thing to do with a pros/cons list is to keep the lists equal across the board – a plus for one might be equal to a minus for another. It’s still a bit subjective, but when you’re done you can add up the pros and the cons and get a sense for the winner.
Create a Detailed Grid
My favorite method is to create a spreadsheet or grid but it does take quite a bit more time. First you list all the details of importance to you across the top in columns, then you list the options along the left side in their own column. Go across and fill in all the blanks in each row, then highlight the columns of highest importance and whichever row has the most highlights is the winner.
Flip a Coin
When you only have two options and both are equally awesome, you can flip a coin and let chance make the decision for you. (If after the coin flips you have a stronger feeling about one or the other, then go with that one – there are no coin-flipping police!) This is not recommended when two options are very far off in the comparison – only when it’s a “photo finish” between the two.
Delegate the Decision
This method for making decisions is the least satisfying, but it’s also one of the easiest. It’s a little better than flipping a coin in that you’ve handed off the decision to a human with the capacity to give it some real thought – as opposed to pure chance – but you’ve still given away your decision power. I do recommend this for decisions that are less important to you and just taking up your time (e.g. room layout, selection of last-minute decor details, etc.), but I would advise against it for anything that will make or break your wedding experience – or budget! If you choose to delegate decisions, handing them off to a professional wedding planner, your partner, or a close family member who understands and will respect your vision is your best bet.
Ask Yourself ‘What’s the Worst Thing That Could Happen’?
What is the worst thing that could happen if you pick the wrong venue? Or linen color? Or cake flavor? I think we can safely say that none of those decisions are life-or-death, so keep it in perspective and don’t let the minute details weigh you down.
Go With Your Gut
By far the best method for making decisions once you’ve done your research and calculations is to use your gut instinct. If you know the costs involved and you’ve carefully considered the pros and cons of each of your options, stop stressing and trust yourself. The sooner you make that decision, the sooner you can get back to enjoying the rest life has to offer.
Which method do you use to make tough wedding planning decisions?