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  • Olivia De Santos

How to Keep Wedding Planning When Life Gets in The Way

Work deadlines pile up. Family members can have crises. Or sometimes, you’re just having a rough week. Life happens and I know this more than you know. I have kept afloat for my clients through big moves, break ups and meltdowns, as well as supported them through even more distracting and distressing life events. So here is my best advice for continuing to progress with your wedding planning when life gets in the way.


Photo by D10Photo


Get ahead if you can


I am a big advocate of this and employ this tactic with most of my couples if appropriate and if they are up for it. Getting ahead in wedding planning takes the weight off your shoulders. It is natural for wedding planning to happen in waves of sorts with sprints and lulls. When the opportunity to sprint presents itself, grab it by the cohoneys and charge forward! This could be by:


  • researching a certain supplier and sending enquiry emails ahead of when you need to

  • starting any DIY projects nice and early

  • getting your first draft of your wedding vows done

  • looking into pre or post wedding events that you could do with leftover budget

  • reviewing your budget in detail

  • beginning your tableplan with the people who have RSVP’ed

  • researching ceremony readings and songs

  • collating your favourite songs into a spotify playlist for your DJ


Photo by João Almeida


Let your wedding planner or suppliers know


The biggest favour you do for yourself when going through tough times is to let people know. That’s just a life lesson in general. Bottling it up and not communication to those around you will make things worse. In this case, your wedding planner should be one of the first people to know what is going on.. Of course, you don’t need to get into specifics. Sometimes a simple email saying “we are currently having some family issues” or “the wedding planning is a bit much right now, can we scale back for a couple of weeks?” will really help your planner tailor the experience for you. That’s not to say that your planning will be completely stalled, but that your planner knows to keep working on their end, but not trouble until you are ready.



Photo by Piteira Photography


Remember a couple of days off won’t hurt


This is possibly the hardest thing to grasp. We feel as though everything needs to be done so quickly and suppliers don’t help with that pressure. Of course they want to make the sale so they remind you that you have until “the end of the week to pay my deposit or I’ll give the date away!”. Granted, for busy Saturday dates, there can be a huge amount of demand - particularly when it comes to destination weddings in Portugal. But in my experience, the pressure can often be totally unwarranted.


If you are not in the headspace to make a decision because something is off in your life, please don’t feel bad for stepping back for a while. A couple of days, or one week or even two weeks sometimes will not dramatically hurt your wedding planning progress is any way shape or form. Granted, use your best judgement on this. If you are getting married in 5 months and want a particular venue, you’ll need to make a faster decision than, say, deciding on an acoustic guitarist for your cocktail hour. Some things definitely can wait. Allow yourself some grace and time.


Photo by The Quiet Wolf


Or lean in if it feels good


This point comes with a story. One of my brides was going a really rough patch due to family illness. It was tragic and sudden and she confided in me as to the hurt she was going through. My automatic response was to relieve the pressure. I reassured her that I can man the fort of the wedding planning ship whilst she and her groom spend more time with family. To my surprise, she wanted the exact opposite


“Actually Olivia, these wedding planning check-ins with you are the highlight of my week!”


This took me aback somewhat but I completely understand it now. Sometimes you just want to distract yourself with wedding planning. It’s fun to talk about colour schemes and cake flavours, floral arrangements and canape choices. I am by no means suggesting that you avoid your problems. That is completely unhealthy and you should allow yourself time to process what is going on, but if imagining how your bouquet will pair with your dress or picking out songs for your jazz band to play is helping you cope, lean into it.


Wedding planning is joyous and exciting. If your life needs that bit more joy right now, by all means, enjoy.



Photo by Piteira Photography


Taking a longer break


Sometimes the very worst happens. A family member has died. Your soon-to-be-spouse falls ill. You lose your job unexpectedly. Your mental health has taken a huge turn. In these truly tragic times, the best solution is to take a longer break or call off the wedding altogether until things have settled again. In this case, here are some steps you can take to lessen the damage:


  • Contact all of your contracted suppliers and explain the situation in full. It is at the suppliers’ discretion whether they refund your deposits to you or not, so prepare to lose these. Many will be understanding and return them, or remain “booked” for your future wedding date.

  • Send out notifications to all of your invited guests letting them know that the wedding has been postponed or cancelled

  • Take some genuine, wholehearted time off after this devastating news. We can get bogged down in the logistics and problem solving when something terrible happens, but it is so extremely important to take some time to process. Lay in bed all day. Do yoga. Watch Netflix. Cry. Talk to your partner. Take some scenic drives out to the country for some fresh air and limited signal. Do what you need to do to feel yourself again.


I hope this little blog on how to keep wedding planning when life happens was helpful for you. No matter what tragedy or crisis is going on right now, just know you are not alone. I wish you all the best through this difficult time and wedding planning will still be there when you’re ready to come back to it.


Ta ta for now,


Olivia