When it comes to weddings, there are options GALORE! There are billions of ideas to consider. In a word? It’s overwhelming.
In today’s post, I’m going to show you how to narrow your focus and how to keep the number of options under control. And I’m going to back it up with science – because I love psychology!
Can You Relate?
This is past-me at a restaurant with a giant menu: I’m flipping page after page because everything looks so good. Then I go back and forth, flipping pages and weighing the options, and then asking my friends what they’re ordering, and telling the server that I need a few more minutes or asking, “You work here, what’s your favorite dish?” and … ugh, I can’t decide. Usually, I just end up making a last-minute decision under pressure…and then I start second-guessing myself. (Does that ever happen to you?!)
Anyway, I finally developed a technique for this – because efficiency is kinda my thing. Here’s what I do:
- First, I skim the entire menu
- Then, I take a closer look at the dishes that jumped out at me
- One of those dishes will inevitably make me think, “Oooh, that sounds good!” and then …
- I CLOSE the menu!
THAT’S IT! No more browsing because I don’t want to fall into indecision, I just want to eat something that sounds good. And you know what? It works! I’m generally always happy with my decision – because it’s delicious but I feel even better about it because I didn’t have to agonize over it. (Keep reading, I’m going to show you how to apply this strategy to wedding planning.)
Research has found that long menus lead diners to take a much longer time to make a decision – why? Because there are too many options. It’s something called “Choice Overload.”
Choice Overload + Analysis Paralysis = OVERWHELM & STRESS 🙁
Choice overload is when you’re presented with so many options that you feel overwhelmed, your mental energy plummets, and that makes it even harder to decide … “The choice overload hypothesis states that an increase in the number of options to choose from may lead to adverse consequences such as a decrease in the motivation to choose or the satisfaction with the finally chosen option.”
And analysis paralysis is when you over-analyze your options so much that you default to doing nothing, or procrastinating. In wedding planning, over-thinking is prevalent because:
- there are so many options
- it’s your wedding day, you only get one shot at it
- you need to work with others to make decisions (e.g. your partner, family, etc.)
What happens as a result? You overthink, you get confused in the process, you do more research to get clarity, you find other options and add them to the mix, which increases the choice overload which increases the analysis paralysis, and … see? It’s almost like a vicious cycle of overwhelm.
When you feel overwhelmed, you lose momentum. And a loss of momentum is a loss of motivation and progression. Plus, the clock keeps ticking – the closer the wedding date gets, the more stressed out you get.
So let’s avoid all of that, okay? Instead of feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and frazzled, I’ll show you how to feel in control, confident, and productive when it comes to weighing your options.
3 Practical Ways to Avoid Analysis Paralysis and Choice Overload While Wedding Planning
1. Know Your Non-Negotiables
As you start planning, you will start to figure out what you want for your wedding. Take it a step further: come up with a list of non-negotiables. This will help narrow your focus so that you’re not overwhelmed by a million options.
Browse, research, and consider only the options that meet all of your non-negotiable criteria. This way, you’ll have a short list of options – which will prevent choice overload and analysis paralysis.
For example, let’s say you’re looking for a venue; one of your non-negotiables could be that it must have an outdoor ceremony space. This means only venues with an outdoor space will make it to your “shortlist” – this will limit your options.
2. Limit Your Research
It can be easy to get carried away with the research – you’ll find yourself on websites like Yelp or WeddingWire clicking through website after website after website. Keep the research under control – so that you don’t end up with too many options.
To do this, just keep it simple: find five options that meet your selection criteria and do some deep research on those options first. Remember, you can always research more options later if the initial five options are no good.
Don’t feel like you need to research/contact EVERY caterer in the area – just start with a small list to narrow your focus.
3. Use the “Close the Menu” Technique
This technique is named after my strategy of choosing something from a long menu at a restaurant. I skim the entire menu, find the dishes that jump out at me, and as soon as I find something good enough to order, I go with that and then I close the menu! Otherwise, I’ll keep browsing and second guess myself.
You can apply this technique to wedding planning too. Here’s how: if you’ve done your due diligence in the research phase, you will have at least a couple of good options for a particular decision (that means: you and your partner love it, the price is right, the reviews are stellar, etc.).
But maybe you feel like there are better options that you might’ve missed, or maybe you’re just curious to see what else is out there. At this point, CLOSE THE MENU! You have excellent well-researched options – it’s time to move forward and weigh your current options against each other. Remember, you can always go back to the research later if you need to!
If you practice these three tips, you’ll have a nice narrow list of options that will be MUCH easier to work with. But it doesn’t end there…
Once you have a nice short list of options – you still have to choose one of those options! Next week, I’m going talk about the next step – the decision-making process.
And because I love science, I’m going to talk about two more psychological phenomena that we experience while making decisions.
Plus, I’ll show you how to add structure to the decision-making process to help you keep moving forward. See ya next Wednesday!
In the meantime, you can read more about how to research wedding vendors – and remember, don’t go overboard in the research phase 🙂 (And if you’re ready, you can start shopping for vendors – using my email templates of course! Download them below!)