As the events manager for Know Your Value, I love paying meticulous attention to all the details that make our national events, which have over 600 attendees, successful. Even my project plans have project plans!
So, when it came time to plan my own wedding, I assumed it would be a breeze. I thought, “Only 250 guests? No problem! Hiring photographers and videographers? Easy! Only one outfit? Nothing to it! No celebrities? What a breeze!”
Boy, was I wrong.
I learned quickly that planning your wedding is nothing like organizing a work event, because emotions run high and traditions influence you. The guest list may be smaller, but it’s full of friends and family. They’re there because they love you, and that has weight.
I also realized that navigating this special period in my life was tricky from a professional standpoint. I had so many questions. Do I invite my boss? How do I ask and plan for my leave? Is it okay to talk about my wedding at work?
That’s why I spoke to Jon Weinrott, a 30-year veteran of the wedding industry and co-owner of Peachtree Catering & Events, just outside of Philadelphia. I also chatted with Fallyn Maleski, sales manager at one of Peachtree’s venues, Parque, to get their expert insight.
Do you have to invite your boss and co-workers?
Both my fiancé and I come from large families, so our guest count grew quickly. I struggled with who to invite from work. I have strong relationships with my talented, driven, funny colleagues but could not include everyone.
When asked who should be invited, Weinrott told me, “Your boss, yes. Co-workers are a little trickier. You can invite all of them or none of them. Picking and choosing can get tough and can cause a bit of office drama. Stick to those closest to you; it’s ultimately your special day.”
Picking “rules” when it came to our guest list helped so that it was clear to everyone that I was not excluding people for personal reasons.
If you are wondering if your co-worker guests should get a plus one, Maleski explained, “If they are engaged or married then typically, yes” you would invite them. Other than that, going back to sticking to an overarching rule keeps things clean.
When and how do you talk about your honeymoon and leave with your boss?
I’m a bit of a workaholic. For years, I slept with my phone under my pillow. The idea of taking a few weeks off felt indulgent, even when the objective part of me knows I have the personal time. Still, it was important for me to communicate the time I needed to my bosses.
Weinrott suggested, “Just like any other normal vacation — submit a vacation request with plenty of notice and ensure that you have vacation time saved up.” If you are worried that some work might fall through the cracks when you’re on your honeymoon, he also said, “You may also want to offer to hand off projects that are your responsibility to a co-worker (after asking your co-worker).”
Giving advance notice, following protocol and demonstrating that you can delegate will show your bosses that you are a thoughtful, detail-oriented employee.
How much should you talk about your wedding at work?
People will ask about your wedding all the time at work, because your colleagues are excited for you. Managing these conversations without making people feel excluded can be difficult.
Maleski explained, “If someone asks you about it, then feel free to discuss. But be mindful of others who are getting married or have recently gotten married. Don’t just remain caught up in yourself!”
Reframe the conversation so that you’re also talking about other big milestones in your coworkers’ lives. It might seem like the world revolves around your wedding, but that’s not the case for everyone else.
Is it okay to plan your wedding during the workday?
Planning a wedding takes a lot of valuable time, but that doesn’t mean you should allow it to blend into your professional life. Weinrott told me, “Only on your lunch break!” Managing your time and energy is a good way to show your employers that you understand the responsibilities of your job.
Weinrott suggested, “Set up an email account for your wedding so that you don’t mix the planning up with your work correspondence.”
To save time so that you don’t feel time crunched at work, he recommended establishing a budget, choosing an all-inclusive wedding venue, hiring a wedding planner, making a timeline of "to-do's," creating a vision board and asking for help!
What are some fun ways to incorporate your co-workers into your wedding planning, even if not everyone will be invited to the main event?
This was one area where I struggled. I thought that it would be good to find ways to include everyone, even if I could not have them there for the wedding. Maleski cautioned, “If they are not going to be invited, stay clear from wedding planning discussions and discussing upcoming wedding events. They may think you are inviting them. Some offices will throw a little bridal shower or get you a gift — that is the time you can really discuss the wedding with them and not feel guilty. Just make sure to send thank you notes!”