29th April 2011 is a date firmly circled on the calendar of millions around the globe. An estimated 2 billion people will tune in to watch the nuptials of a future King and Queen of England. And why the hype?
Whilst it is certainly an important day that will become a part of our cultural history, the main reason we will all be perched on the edge of our seats, riveted and thrilled, is because we know it will be a fantastic show.
Nobody can do a wedding like the Royal family can do a wedding. Everyone remembers where they were when Charles and Diana gave shy waves from the steps of Westminster and, even though we have no personal connection to Will and Kate, we want to be a part of the glamour and ageless elegance they will deliver.
Around 1,900 people will attend the service at Westminster Abbey, 650 will attend the lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace and 300 the dinner that evening. This is a wedding of epic proportions and it has all been arranged in less than 6 months! Just thinking about the planning involved and pressure for perfection are enough to make you reach for a nice cup of tea and thank heavens you’re on the other side of the TV screen.
I have had my own taste of the half-crazed world of wedding planning recently, after my good friend Lyndsey asked me to be her Maid of Honour. Thrilled to be asked, I was unaware of the chaos I would soon be a part of. How I soon longed for those halcyon days when I was oblivious to the politics of hen party planning and the logistics of transporting and accommodating over 100 people in peak wedding season.
The breaking point came when my formerly calm and rational friend was weeping (yes, weeping) hot tears of frustration over her laptop whilst trying to order the wedding invitations, ‘because the text just. wont. fit. on.’ Enough was enough.
I took the laptop from her, swept the mound of magazines, leaflets and scrap paper off the coffee table, and took out my laptop. After making her a strong cup of tea and insisting she eat a chocolate biscuit whilst the computer loaded up, I opened up iMindMap. (Now available free)
We spent the next hour going through every little detail of the wedding plans and what needed to be done. From the Order of Service to mudwraps, we covered it all. Just talking through everything and mapping it out in a simple and unintimidating format managed to ebb the tide of tears and soon we were looking the monster in the eye and saying ‘well, that’s not so bad.’
1. Begin by chucking in everything you can think of that needs to be done, from the small decisions to the mammoth tasks, branching them off in every direction. Don’t worry too much about structure yet – you just want to try and unload what’s currently bouncing around in your head into iMindMap.
2. Next you need to make some sense of the mess. Start grouping branches together under the main elements of the event – service, reception, pre-wedding, honeymoon, the Bridal Party, miscellaneous – however works best for you. Create sub-topics within these, such as clothes, or transport, and wherever possible use an image instead of text to keep the map visual and dynamic.
(click images and expand to full screen)
3. Add deadlines wherever appropriate. Use icons as well, such as colour coding with flags, so that you can easily filter your map to find all of the tasks that need doing immediately, before the day, on the day and so on. If you really want to go all out, you can use iMindMap’s Project View and the Tasks tab to set milestones, predecessors and link up to Microsoft Outlook.
4. Add any relevent files or webpages to the corresponding branches on your map. You can link to the guestlist, hotel website, attach images of the bridesmaid dresses and venue. Anything to do with the big event should be either seen on the map, or within one click of the map. This isn’t just the plan and To Do list, it is the wedding filing system!
5. Throw away all of the scribbled To-Do’s you have accumulated and bask in the glow of the organised art on your screen.
Now this is a living document, so keep referring to it, adding to it, ticking things off. Whenever things are getting overwhelming again, pull out a print out of your Wedding map and remember that nothing that can fit on one piece of paper can possibly be that scary. Go back to the drawing board, assess objectively what needs to be done, prioritise and get on with it. As you tick things off the list you can minimise branches using Expand & Collapse to get a clear picture of the progress you are making.
Keep the inner circle up to date by exporting your map from iMindMap to an image file and emailing it out to everyone regularly – a very quick and easy way to keep the family informed! Plus, make sure you keep hold of it afterwards to pass onto friends or relatives taking the plunge in the future – as my answerphone and I found out, it doesn’t just benefit the bride to take the stress out of the planning.
That’s all there is to it – whilst I cannot promise that your iMindMap map will defend your big day against hurricanes or power failures, I can promise that it will be an anchor to sanity. Break it down, divide it up, keep it updated and you can plan a wedding extravaganza with an air of ethereal calm to rival the Royals.
Plus, stay tuned for the next installment in our new series, iMindMap in Motion….← iMindMap 5. Quicker. Easier. Better. Want a Biggerplate of iMindMap? →