The Foundation of Cake and Wedding Planning

AA  “CAKE Franck, is made of sugar and water!” That is Steve Martin’s character’s reaction to the cost of a wedding cake in the 1991 remake of “Father of the Bride”. And by the way, if you haven’t ever seen “Father of the Bride”, rent it right away. It has been one of my favorite movies since I was seven years old and it will give you a much needed laugh in relation to planning a wedding. Although a cake is simply made of sugar, water, and a few other main ingredients, those ingredients act as the foundation to a wedding cake. The more detailed and time-consuming work comes from decorating the cake (and that is also why they are so expensive). For the next few weeks, I will be writing about the basics of project management because a good understanding of the foundation is needed before planning the wedding can begin.

First of all, let’s look at the definition of a project: A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. Based on this definition, a wedding is most definitely a project.

Now for what I like to call the project management wedding process:

  • Phase 1: Look at Bridal Magazines Every Chance I Get (Initiation)
    In order to officially initiate a project there has to be some type of authorization and for me this is where the engagement came in. In my case, after my fiancé and I got engaged, I officially had permission to start pouring through bridal magazines and websites.
  • Phase 2: Use my Obsessive Compulsive Skills for Good (Planning)
    Here I will be planning to plan. As I project it, this phase will most likely take up a very large chunk of the entire wedding planning process. It includes things like determining a budget and who is contributing to it, what our top priorities are for the wedding, what we picture our wedding to be like, etc. Basically it’s the big picture before I get down into the nitty-gritty. This might be the one time my fiancé appreciates my obsessive compulsive nature.
  • Phase 3: Shopping Time! (Executing)
    After all the planning is done, I will have to put my plan into action by hiring vendors, buying decorations, finding a wedding dress, scouting out  guest accommodations, booking a honeymoon, etc.
  • Phase 4: I Will Have to Learn how to be Slightly Annoying (Monitoring and Controlling)
    This phase is important and I can see how it could easily be avoided. Who wants to pester their vendors (or, for that matter, guests)!? But there has to be a fine line between checking into things and completely annoying people. As I see it, monitoring and controlling are the only ways to prevent disasters from happening on the wedding day.
  • Phase 5: Time to Write Thank You Notes (Closing)
    In a non-wedding planning environment the closing process encompasses accepting the results of the project, reporting to key players, and archiving documentation. With wedding planning this phase will probably be more informal: hearing from guests about what a great time they had, speaking with those contributing to the budget about what the final cost was, and perhaps filing away all the documents I have in case I want to pass the information on to any future brides I may know (like my sister, ahem).

So there it is, planning a wedding using project management summed up in about a page. But at least I now know what I have to look forward or not forward to. If only planning a wedding were as simple as combining sugar and water.


  1. Kristin
    Apr 22, 2011

    I love that you’ve done this! I’m a future PMP who recently got engaged to a current PMP. I just told him that I think we should apply project management principles to our planning, Googled to see if anyone else is doing it and here you are! I’ll be watching to see how your process goes and what best practices you identify:)

    Congrats on your engagement!

    • lcagan
      Apr 25, 2011

      Hi Kristin,

      Thank you for the note. I am so excited that you were able to find my blog. It is nice to know that there is someone else out there doing something similar. Congratulations on your engagement as well and please feel free to let me know if you discover any best practices or tips through your planning.

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