How Small Business Owners Do Weddings

Recently I pulled off one of the biggest and most important projects of my life. My son got married a few weeks ago to a lovely woman, and we are so happy to welcome her into our family.

I ended up organizing much of the celebration, which was both an honor and a pleasure. Turns out planning a wedding has some elements in common with managing projects for a growing business – although with higher emotional stakes and different expectations for long-term benefits. I found that my skills as a CPA, project manager, and small business owner served me well during the process.

A CFO’s Favorite: Know Your End Goal Before You Start

I always emphasize the value of knowing your end goal: being aware of what result you want before you start. That’s important when you plan a wedding as well as in business. For example, I wanted my son and future daughter-in-law to feel loved and wanted to ensure that our guests had a good time while staying safe from Covid-19. I also thought that the wedding was a way to get the new couple off on the right foot as they became part of our family.

In other words, I wanted to make sure that all the stakeholders were heard and felt appreciated – just like any good small business owner.

Plan and Set A Budget

Similarly to any project, I knew that the first step was planning and setting a budget. This is as true for weddings as it is for small businesses. Both families worked together to develop an overall plan, including talking through the amount we might spend on each aspect of the celebration. The result was a weekend where all of the hosts, including me, were able to enjoy ourselves and develop great memories. 

It was essential to be organized and use a spreadsheet to keep track of details. Believe it or not, Google and Microsoft both have templates for planning weddings! We used a template that was pre-built with all the necessary wedding-planning components, including timelines that the family and vendors could refer to as needed.

Communication and Coordination

Successful projects also require communication and coordination. Weddings are no exception. There were many parties to coordinate with: family members, friends, and lots of different vendors. The vendors were all very proud of their work and were glad to refer to the timelines to ensure they do the right thing at the right time, all on the same day. I won’t say the day went off without a hitch, but all the pieces came together beautifully.

I even devised a drink calculator to estimate what we would need to ensure that our guests were all able to enjoy their cocktails and mocktails during our time together. (You can check it out too if you’d like!) In college, I was the party planner who always worried we’d run out of beer, and I wanted to be sure that we had enough supplies on hand so all the guests could enjoy the unique signature drinks we had planned. 

Spreadsheet of party drink quantity calculator

Be Willing To Pivot

I am also a firm believer in being willing to pivot. In weddings – as in business – there will always be unexpected developments. You need to be prepared to react and adapt. Like so many who had developed plans for events during the pandemic, we had to move dates around numerous times before finally settling on one that would work. 

One of the caterers that we had carefully chosen a year prior, went out of business because of Covid. Pivot. Fortunately, the former caterer provided a recommendation for the new caterer.

We had assumed that another vendor would be able to provide food to meet the needs of guests who were gluten-free, vegetarian, or had other dietary restrictions, but just a few short weeks before the event we discovered that was not the case. Pivot. We had to find a new vendor.  

Within days of the event, we learned of guests who were unable to make it due to the pandemic. Pivot. Time to change the table arrangements.

Fortunately, from my years as a business owner—not to mention all the times I’ve helped clients—I’ve had a lot of experience in pivoting, and we were able to change plans relatively painlessly.

A Solid Plan = A Solid Result

In the end, everyone had a good time, my son got married, and me? I’m counting the days until I can organize another milestone family event (baby shower, wedding, come what may).

At KBS CFO, inevitably, much of the work we perform requires the ability to effectively manage projects, from addressing a problem that needs to be solved during our monthly work to migrating to a new accounting system when the time comes.

It comes with the territory of addressing the complexity of supporting a growing business. Need some help supporting your growing business? Contact KBS CFO and see if we can help. We serve clients both locally and all over the country.