Planning a wedding – or any major event – requires a certain je nais c’est quoi, and a great degree of over-preparation. Some of my favorite wedding industry people will describe themselves as a little bit crazy; a few others have told me that they simply make order from the glorious chaos. Perception is definitely a ways off from reality in our industry, for good reason: executing on the day of an event is nothing short of a three ring circus with you as the ring leader, and while the event looks FLAWLESS and guests are raving, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. So how do these wedding planners and industry pros get to be so organized and generally good at life? This week I took notes on my boss’ tips and tricks of the trade, Kaella Wilson of Kaella Lynn Events – you might want to write these down (in color coded pens, preferably in a monogrammed agenda).
Cait: So you run a successful business, have a fantastic family and bouncing 1 year old, and still find time to be chic and peppy as can be. How do you organize yourself each day, in order to execute the amazing weddings you do, and also keep your life intact?
Kaella: I’ve always been organized. I was probably the only kid who cleaned up after her friends before proceeding onto the next activity. An organized space truly helps me focus, so I’ll often start my day cleaning up anything that was left out the day before. Aside from keeping my space tidy, I love a to-do list. Before the smartphone and all it’s fabulous organizational apps, I wrote down my to-do list for the next day/week at the end of each workday and used highlighters to color code levels of importance. Crazy, right?! Now, I’m bound to my Seize the Day app on my iPhone. I also enter meetings into my calendar immediately to keep ahead of my schedule.
However, all the organization in the world wouldn’t suffice if I didn’t have support. Fortunate for me, my husband not only supports me as a wedding planner, but encourages me to push myself in my career, even if it means sharing in household responsibilities, like cleaning the dishes or putting our son to bed so I can jump on email at night. Which is extremely inspiring, since he himself has a very demanding job.
C: What is the best organizational advice you’ve ever gotten in your career?
K: Being organized has always come natural for me and been a strength in my career, so I’m not sure I’ve received much direct advice on it. However, I did read once that studies found you should start your to-do list with a couple items that are quick and easy. Accomplishing these tasks at the start of your day will motivate you to tackle those bigger, more tedious tasks. I’ve always done this, but didnt realize there was scientific evidence behind it. Course, don’t let this lead to procrastination.
C: What is the most challenging part of your day to day as a planner, and how do you work around that ? Is organization a key piece of your routine?
K: As much as planners love structure, there isn’t much in the life as a Wedding Planner. Maybe that is the beauty in it, as we are experts at creating structure out of chaos. There is a lot of context switching – from artist when sketching a design to analytical thinker when budget planning to sometimes even therapist or solution provider. I can sometimes wear all these hats in just under 30 minutes! This is why my to-do list is such a life-line. It keeps me focused when the world is pulling in a million different directions. And learning to prioritize is key. Sometimes, you just can’t get everything done in a day. Maybe a vendor hasn’t replied yet with key information or you had to drop your list to take care of an emergency for an upcoming wedding. It’s all about organization, but also important to be fluid and problem solve.
C: Just for fun, what are some of your favorite products that help you keep everything in your life in order?
K: At KLE, we are mostly digital in terms of how we stay organized and share documents. I even use the Evernote app on my iPad as my “event binder” at every event or wedding. It allows me to keep everything at my fingertips digitally. And much lighter than a binder full of paper.
As mentioned above, I love my Seize the Day app on my iPhone. I do have to say that sometimes it’s easier to work out ideas on paper, so I do keep a good spiral notebook or pad of paper and a nice ballpoint pen at my desk.
I want staying organized to be as fun as possible, so I like to buy products that not only serve their function, but are cute too! Pretty much anything Kate Spade, striped or with gold accents makes me happy and motivated!
Team KLE’s favorite goodies to stay organized, throughout wedding season and beyond: