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How to Keep Couples Planning When You Take Time Off

Aisle Planner Keeping Couples BusyAs planners, we’re essentially entirely responsible for the success of our clients’ events (and people wonder why we drink so much wine). It’s a ton of pressure and we can often feel a sense of–we’re coining a phrase here–planner guilt when we’re not working. Planner guilt is built on the same premise as mom guilt: when we’re away from our clients or our work, we feel as though we are being selfish and convince ourselves that our work needs us at all times. But, the truth is, that’s a completely inaccurate (and unhealthy) state of mind to live in.

In fact, as you’ve all probably experienced, our work actually tends to improve when we give ourselves a break from it. Refreshing and reenergizing our minds (and spending time with our family and friends…and learning their names again) is exactly what we need to refresh and reenergize our client experience. Vacations are such a powerful way to reconnect with ourselves and, in turn, refuel our creative tanks. One thing that can make personal time difficult, though, is leaving our clients (and our email inbox) for days on end. But, by giving our clients tasks to complete while we’re gone, we can avoid those unsolicited Facetime calls and dreaded countless emails sent by idle hands. So today, we’ve broken down some of our favorite tasks to keep eager couples occupied while you dig your toes into the sand and sip that much-deserved mojito (or three).

Adding to their style guides

For couples who are further along in the planning process, few tasks offer better “busy work” than the dreaded seating arrangement. This is something you would have assigned to your couple regardless of if you were out of the office or not, as it’s not something you can’t create without their input. Asking them to take a first stab at it while you’re gone, then, is a strategic way to ensure they’re working on something that keeps them occupied and that plays a pivotal role in the overall event.

Creating their song list

So many of our couples are music lovers (who isn’t, really?), so this can be a really engaging task for couples to embark on while you’re away. Create a note within Aisle Planner called “Song List” and ask them to fill in their music selections. They should include ceremony songs (for the processional, bridal entrance and recessional) as well as the songs they want played during cocktail hour and the reception (first dance, etc.). This is also a great place to make note of their “do not play” songs.

Completing their seating chart

For couples who are further along in the planning process, few tasks offer better “busy work” than the dreaded seating arrangement. This is something you would have assigned to your couple regardless of if you were out of the office or not, as it’s not something you can’t create without their input. Asking them to take a first stab at it while you’re gone, then, is a strategic way to ensure they’re working on something that keeps them occupied and that plays a pivotal role in the overall event.

Non-Essential Tasks

At any given point in the planning process, there are always non-essential tasks. These are tasks that may not be absolutely necessary to the success of the event, but, when executed, help things flow that much more seamlessly on the day of. We recommend making a checklist in Aisle Planner that’s chock-full of these tasks and asking your client to complete them while you’re away. This includes things like alphabetizing the escort cards before the day of and organizing the place cards to a tee. Maybe your client ordered flip-flops for the dance floor, but they’re all individually wrapped and could stand to be opened before the morning of the event–ask that your client do this while you’re away. Maybe the party favors could use a pretty satin bow. Asking your client to complete these non-essential tasks is beneficial for both parties: you’ll rest easy knowing they’re staying busy while you’re on vacation (and that you won’t have to perform all of these tasks on the day-of), and they can rest easy knowing that they’re completing simple tasks that, otherwise, would be taken out of their bank of hours/paid planning time.

Overall, the key to keeping clients busy while you’re away is to supply them with lots of homework before you leave. Set both clear boundaries (let them know you’ll be away from email and unresponsive for a few days) and clear expectations (let them know you really need them to complete X,Y and Z while you’re gone). The number-one reason clients tend to email us while we’re gone is to keep the ball rolling on their event. Assigning them tasks, then, is a great way to illustrate the fact that, though you may have pressed pause on your busy schedule, their event is, in no way, on pause. After all, hands that are too busy to send emails are the best kind of hands (thinking we should coin that, as well).

Do you have any tips or tricks you use to keep your clients productive while you’re on vacation? Share them with us in the comments section below.

About the Author

Gillian Griffith
Gillian Griffith

As Aisle Planner’s Associate Editor, Gillian knows there’s nothing as deadly as a woman with good grammar, great nails and a strong backhand (think: tennis). She is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, where she spends the sunny days with her family, her Louisiana Catahoula pup and, her ultimate love, a 1939 typewriter. Follow Gillian on Instagram @gigi_the_girl

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