If there's one thing I have learned about weddings at this point, it's that there is A LOT of material out there about weddings. Yeah I know, it's a billion dollar industry with television shows, magazines, stores, and conventions dedicated to the golden calf of nuptials. I'm doing my level best not to be overwhelmed by it all. I think I'm losing that battle...
Good friends and total strangers alike have pointed me toward a number of books and blogs on how to plan the perfect wedding. My dear mother just recently sent me a checklist she clipped out of her local paper -- a checklist that's as long as my arm. As helpful as every resource has the potential to be, there is a definite blind spot in all the advice: how to organize your plan. Maybe every other couple has their organization strategy set, but I knew early on that Tamara and I were going to need a way to cut through the clutter. More than anything we needed a system to help keep our eyes on the prize: actually having fun while getting married.
My business, software, owes much of its en vogue ethos to Japanese factory management techniques. Perhaps the most famous technique is that of kanban, which essentially groups tasks into three buckets ("to do," "doing," and "done," in our case) and puts a limit on the number tasks that can be in a "doing" state. A "to do" task can only move into a "doing" state when another task moves from "doing" to "done." It thereby promotes the sense of accomplishing small tasks and discourages taking on too much at once. I can report that the panic I was feeling about the enormity of planning a wedding (the event much more than the actual getting married part) has subsided greatly since we adopted kanban.
I first heard of Trello in the summer of 2012. It is a wonderful site that takes kanban into the cloud. Though there is a paid-level, Tamara and I have been using free accounts for our wedding kanban board and we have been very pleased. Through Trello, we have organized our buckets and placed a few cards on our board. We can save links to ideas we find, assign each other tasks, add labels to cards, and make checklists on any card. I also rather enjoy being able to marvel at the "done" bucket and use it as positive reenforcement.
Did I mention that the IOS app is full-featured and well-made?
If I have one complaint about the Trello system thus far, it is that the due date system on the cards leaves a little something to be desired. Maybe it's better with a paid account. I might also add that dragging a digital card across the screen doesn't quite have the emotional satisfaction of crossing something off a list. But hey, it's a brave new world out there.
With so much noise out there, it's easy (for the groom, especially) to get lost. In the wedding world, opinions are like elbows -- almost everyone has more than one. Every book has plenty to say on centerpieces and hors d'oeuvres, but none that I've read have anything to say about staying sane/organized. With Trello and, more importantly, with Tamara by my side I feel like the future is so bright, I should put sunglasses in our gift registry.
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