Earlier this summer, I spoke to a group of interns at my former place of employment, Essence magazine. Immediately following the discussion, several of them approached me about contributing to Triple B. One of those ambitious folks was Janine Rayford. Janine explained that not only was she interested in media but was a nearlywed herself and fan of BlackBridalBliss.com. (Swoon!) Janine pitched me the below piece and managed to make her deadline in the midst of all her other responsibilities. This impressive bride-to-be jumps the broom this weekend and has promised to share her wedding with Tie the Knot Tuesday in the coming months.

Janine and her fiance Doug countdown to their big day. Follow her tips so you don't miss out on all the bliss in the midst of your planning!

When my fiancé Doug proposed in May 2010, I was smack dab in the middle of my last year in graduate school.  On top of my studies, I had work, internships and a truck load of other obligations on my plate.  But once that sparkling ring slid on my finger, I happily added wedding planning to the top section of my to-do list. It was tough at first – meeting with venues after school and work, scheduling tastings around Doug’s work schedule, scolding myself for studying bridal magazines rather than my textbooks – but as planning wore on I discovered the best ways to balance it all. Now graduated, working and just a few days away from a 200+ guest wedding, I’m here to share my tips on how to fit wedding planning into an already jam-packed schedule.

1.     Plan Your Planning

With major time commitments like school and work, you can’t just let wedding planning get in where it fits in. Schedule certain times that you solely focus on your big day and nothing else. For Doug and me, wedding time was Tuesdays and Thursday nights. We added weekends as the day drew nearer.

2.     Use Timelines

There are a truck load of wedding planning tools on the web (Editor’s Note: Please check out this fab one from Triple B!) that let brides know when certain tasks should be completed. Find one and use it. It will show everything that should be done a year before, 6 months before, 2 months before – this way you get things done and aren’t overwhelmed with everything all at once.

3.     Get Help

Yes, it’s your wedding, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all on your own.  You’ll be surprised how much work your fiancé and girlfriends can take off of your hands. Consider the talents of those around you and enlist their help accordingly.  Doug loves music so I put him in charge of finding the DJ, and my sorority sister is extremely crafty so she handmade our invitations. P.S. Delegating can save you money too!

4.     Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

How important is it to have artisan hand-crafted programs at each seat during the ceremony, or mini-photos of each guest on their seating card? Details like these may be beautiful, but they’re probably more time consuming and stressful than they are important. Focus your planning efforts on the big things and what your guests are going to remember most. Later, if you can find time to get your Martha Stewart on, then by all means.

5.     Make It Fun

Rather than feeling like wedding planning is just one more thing to do, have fun with it! Make a caterer tasting double as your date night. Go out and taste cocktails for the reception with your girlfriends. Use wedding dress shopping as much-needed mother-daughter time. Your wedding day will be one of the happiest of your life, but wedding planning should be pretty fun too.


I’m not even planning a wedding but I certainly learned a thing or two from Janine’s list for managing my own hectic life. For more tried and true tips on juggling real-life while planning the wedding of your dreams, revisit these posts from newlywed Charli and Triple B’s resident bride-to-be, Nadine.