Bridal Motivation – 7 Habits of a Highly Efficient Bride

Okay, so I didn’t exactly think this one up on my own! Following the self help/motivational theme, I’ve turned to the self-help guru Steven Covey. While at the student success seminar in Savannah, we got a chance to look at how some of his books could be used in the field. Dr. Covey has sold over 20 million books! I mean, this guy is a big deal! His book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (which happens to be the inspiration for this installment of Bridal Motivation) was named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century!

Don't have time to read the entire book tonight? No worries: I've summed it up!

I’ve taken each of the Seven Habits, and decided how they could help me when it comes to this wedding planning stuff! If you aren’t planning a wedding, feel free to read on. Each Habit is open to interpretation. Maybe you aren’t into the whole self-help kind of thing. That’s alright! It is obvious why they’re good traits, but maybe reading them again will spark something in you. I think that we can all use motivation to become a better person. I don’t expect anyone reading to base your life strictly on the 7 Habits, but a little guidance to reference never hurt anyone!

Habit 1:  Be Proactive

Change starts from within, and highly effective people make the decision to improve their lives through the things that they can influence rather than by simply reacting to external forces.

This first habit is about taking responsibility for your life. Covey divides us into two groups: Proactive and Reactive. The goal is to be a Proactive person by focusing your time and energy on things you can control, rather than reacting to or worrying about conditions over which you have little or no control.

Hello, this is perfect advice for a bride! When planning a wedding there can be soooo much stress. It seems like everything is something to worry about! I think that adopting Habit 1 can really help me keep my focus here. My focus is on spending the rest of my life with the man I love. Of course I want the best celebration we can manage, but directly after the ceremony… it will be just a memory. The love that we’ve built and will continue to build is what matters!

Habit 2:  Begin with the End in Mind

Develop a principle-centered personal mission statement. Extend the mission statement into long-term goals based on personal principles.

This piece could be all about our promises to one another and… mushy. I think I took care of that in Habit 1 so lets stick to wedding planning, shall we? I think that I need to consult the groom on this one. Can you imagine his face when I say: “Hey, Kev… I’d like to sit down and draft a principle-centered personal mission statement for our wedding, and long-term goals for our planning.” Luckily, he really is a great sport when it comes to humoring me! No, I don’t think we need a printed Vision Statement to give to our wedding planner… but some brainstorming about what we really want couldn’t hurt.

This goes back to my theory of Halloween candy. Lay out everything that you want, and then pick what is most important to you… after that barter and trade until you get a mix that you want. We’ve already had to do this to some extent. Do we do the small Disney thing, or something huge back home? If our date is taken at the Wedding Pavilion: is December 1st more important to us, so we pick a different venue. OR Do we want the Wedding Pavilion even if it isn’t the 1st, and change the date? Once we’ve traded candies, we can make our official TO DO LIST. After that, its just about checking things off one by one…

Is this place?

Habit 3:  Put First Things First

Spend time doing what fits into your personal mission, observing the proper balance between production and building production capacity. Identify the key roles that you take on in life, and make time for each of them.

I really wrapped up the last habit to play right into this one! Yes, we have quite sometime to get things together (based on my handy-dandy counter from, we have 618 days). The thing is, a year is like 3 months in the wedding world!First things first… okay… let’s see:

We need to set an actual budget for this (or these) shindig(s). We probably need to pick a place (or places), and set an actual date (or dates). We’ve talked about all of this, but we really haven’t made a set-in-stone decision! The whole Disney thing is going to continue to be a little bit of an ulcer (yeah, yeah… I’m working on Habit 1) because we can not be 100% sure about the venue until 1 year before the date. Most decorations are taken care of at Disney. Our plan doesn’t include a traditional reception, so that isn’t a worry either. We pick a cake there. A trip or two to Florida, and we’re done! In theory, you could plan the thing over the phone without even going there! Talk about easy! The venues back home will be something that we will need to pick food, decorate, and find a cake. Yup, these ones aren’t so easy! Expect many blogs to follow based on these aspects!

Habit 4:  Think Win/Win

Seek agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial. In cases where a “win/win” deal cannot be achieved, accept the fact that agreeing to make “no deal” may be the best alternative.

Wait a second! This doesn’t mean cut out the candy trading method, right? I don’t really interpret this one as working on relationships with people, but instead in the plans in general. Some things aren’t going to work for us. They may not be feasible, they may not be within our budget, or they may be something that we don’t agree on! Looking at everything as a win/win can really help. One of my favorite sayings is: Pick your battles. Using some of these suggested Habits as rules of thumb can really help us through these issues. We will decide what really matters, and work toward making it the best day that it can be. Either way, we will be celebrating our love with our closest friends and family. If that isn’t a winning situation, I don’t know what is.

In the words of the always amazing, Steven Tyler: Life’s a journey, not a destination.

I do hereby solemnly swear to resemble nothing even remotely similar to a Bridezilla!

Of course the end in sight is the actual wedding, but what good is it if it does nothing but cause us grief. We’ve decided to look at what is most important to us: getting married! Heck, we could do that at the court house! We could not get married. I don’t think that either of us place any value on being officially married according to the government. We’ve already made that commitment to each other. We’re good to go. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to share that love with our friends and family. It wouldn’t be the kind of celebration that we envision sharing with our friends and family. Bottom line: we want to have a wonderful wedding that is exactly what we envision, but don’t want to kill each other getting there. Sometimes seeing the end result means more when you remember the labors of love!

Habit 5:  Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

First seek to understand the other person, and only then try to be understood. Stephen Covey presents this habit as the most important principle of interpersonal relations. Effective listening is not simply echoing what the other person has said through the lens of one’s own experience. Rather, it is putting oneself in the perspective of the other person, listening emphatically for both feeling and meaning.

This is my favorite Habit. This is a trait that I try to live by. If you know me, you know I may take this one just a little bit overboard. I tend to cry just a little from time to time, usually because I put myself into someone else’s shoes. This Habit really plays off my explanation for the last one, too! I really have to listen to what Kevin wants throughout this process. Am I expecting him to be excited about much of this planning? Do I think that he will be stoked to look at different colors of tulle? Is he going to be giddy about center pieces? No. He tends to be a man of little words, so I’m going to do my best to listen to him… even when he isn’t necessarily talking.

While it is our day, I will be thinking about the experience of our wedding party and guests. I’m not going to pick puffy sleeved, cotton-candy pink prom dresses for my bridesmaids. I’m not going to do the hokey-pokey at the reception. I’m not going to force Kevin into a tuxedo with striped pants, a long tailed jacket, and a tight bow tie. I really could settle for the bow tie… but I’m picking my battles. I think I’d rather keep trying for suspenders. Yup, you read that right. I am hoping so much to embrace a vintage feel to things. I’m a hopeless romantic! I guess I had better move on to the next Habit!

Habit 6:  Synergize

Through trustful communication, find ways to leverage individual differences to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. Through mutual trust and understanding, one often can solve conflicts and find a better solution than would have been obtained through either person’s own solution.

Wow! It sure seems like this book was written for married couples, huh? More than just getting along, and using to unity of marriage to go from two individuals to one entity… I’m still thinking about tying these suggestions to planning. This one still applies to a wedding. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It is the entire experience that has your guests in awe. Trust me, I just cleared out 5 episodes of Four Weddings. This is a show on TLC. The premise is: there are four brides that are complete strangers. They go as guests to the other brides’ weddings, and host them at their own. They then rank the weddings of the other brides. The winner gets a surprise honeymoon. It really is nice to see what aspects of a wedding are important to different people.

The venue, decorations, music, food, and ceremony all come together for a wonderful memory. People remember that the bride had on a beautiful white dress, lovely flowers, and that two people got married. Unless they think that one of those things was really ugly, after the wedding they’re talking about the party! I’ve worked for a production company, and let me tell you… if your wedding goes on too long: people will be looking at their watches. Much longer than that, and they’re going to look to the faces of others. I’m not saying that people aren’t so excited to be there on your special day… I’m just saying – they’re probably getting hungry. Yes, it is the biggest day of your life. It may be one of the biggest for your parents and best friends… but everyone else is there to celebrate in your love. Keyword: celebrate. Hey, the food at a wedding is the first thing on my mind! So remember, unless you’re counting LOVE, it isn’t just one thing that makes a wedding memorable.

Habit 7:  Sharpen the Saw

Take time out from production to build production capacity through personal renewal of the physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Maintain a balance among these dimensions.

Hallelujah! I’m looking at this one as a chance for us to pamper ourselves! I’m doubting Kevin and I are going to go to the spa for couples massages and pedicures. I could do those things, though! Maybe Kevin takes a day to go golfing. I take Daisy on an extra walk. We make time to do something for just us. We sit down to remember why we’re doing this planning. Not just up until, but also after the wedding… we’re going to need to make time for the things that we enjoy!

For a really long time I’ve envisioned my proposal, engagement, wedding planning, and my wedding. Kevin went over and above anything that I could have ever imagined. Even though I missed the planned proposal, it was like a fairytale to me. I recently told him that I was sad that I would never get engaged again, but so happy that it completely overshot any expectations I could have had. The wedding that we’re now planning is nothing like I would have ever imagined! That is not a bad thing at all! Just like the proposal – I’m  sure that our wedding will be a fairytale, and we will live happily ever after.

Happily Ever After... actually, this is dinner at the Sci-Fi Drive-In Diner in Hollywood Studios!




What do you think?

Any motto you live by?

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3 Responses to Bridal Motivation – 7 Habits of a Highly Efficient Bride

  1. kkibler says:

    My favorite motto is by Marilyn Monroe…”a career is a wonderful thing, but you cannot curl up with in on a cold night.” I think the woman may be on to something here.


  2. Really enjoyed this post. As a success coach, I’m quite familiar with Covey and love what you did to break it down into wedding related habits. Have you since had your wedding? I’m writing a book on post wedding motivation and speaking to some newlyweds as part of the process. Look me up if interested. (Again… fab post!)

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