Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Getting Organized

Before I was even engaged I stashed away tons of articles and tips on Pinterest on how to stay organized while wedding planning. As someone who has had experience planning several large scale events I had no hesitations about planning a kickin' party for my closest family and friends, but when I started to get into it I realized it was a bit more to keep up with than I originally thought.

Enter the wedding binder!

There are some great resources out there but after trying to play around with The Knot for a few weeks too long I realized I would need to figure out a different system to work with. I took information from several sources and thought about what methods usually work best for me and I knew that a tangible (and adorable) binder was going to be the best way for me to go.

THE Binder
You're going to become intimately familiar with your wedding binder throughout your engagement so spend time finding something you love. I found this polka dot binder at Target and they had a ton of different patterned binders to choose from, find something that's your style. Grab some stickers or a paint pen and make it your own, add your name or better yet your future name! I printed off some of the images I found on Pinterest that inspired the colors and feel for our wedding and taped them on the inside of my binder so I have some eye candy every time I open it up. A picture of you and your fiance is also a good idea!

Once you have the binder you're going to need to fill it, trust my advice and splurge for divider that have folder pockets on them. They are crucial for stashing away business cards, brochures, and other materials that you can't hole punch. Here's how I organized my dividers:
  • Venue {contracts, floor plans, pictures, and details on your venue(s)}
  • Catering & Sweets {all things food, sweet and simple}
  • Guest List {finalized guest list, RSVPs, seating chart, gifts received, thank you's sent, gift bags}
  • Bridal Party & Attire {details & receipts, attire choices for bridal party, checklist}
  • Photo/Video/Paper {photog contract, must-have photo list, info for save the date & invitations}
  • Vendors {all contracts, details, pictures, business cards & comprehensive contact list}
  • Rehearsal {everything and anything for the rehearsal & dinner!}
  • Timeline & Details {ceremony plan, day of timeline, decoration/set up details, miscellaneous}

You can find checklists galore on the internet. There's a pretty comprehensive one on The Knot, then there are some cool timeline infographics like this and this, and finally there are some phenomenal blog posts out there like this one with links to free printables to use in your binder. I decided to use these different resources as a guide and created my own on plain old loose leaf paper. I used a different sheet for each month leading up to our wedding, the week of, the day of, and post-wedding. This method works well for me because I was able to customize the list to fit the details of our wedding specifically. For example we're getting married and having our reception at the same venue so that cut out many items that are on sample checklists.

Some things are just easier in a good ol' spreadsheet: guest lists and budget. Use one spreadsheet for your guest list and create multiple tabs for different wedding festivities like the rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, bachelorette, etc. Immediately add all of the addresses you already know and then contact the remaining guests for their information. Excel is clearly your best friend when it comes to the budget. Even spreadsheet illiterate people like myself can do it! There's a wedding budget template...shhhhhh.

Google Drive
For brides that are planning all the time and all over the place Google Drive can be your best friend. It's a great place to keep your guest list so you always have access to it, but I've found some uses that work well for me. I have one master spreadsheet with a few different tabs:
  • Music {keep track of your must plays, don't plays, and ideas for the first dance, father daughter, etc.}
  • Vendor Research {great way to keep track of recommendations from friends, that cute bakery you pass by while shopping, etc. to look into later}
  • Registry {master list of what to register for and conveniently on your phone so while you're cooking and realize you don't have a garlic press open your Google Drive app and voila! add it to the list}

Get a system going early and find a regular time each week that you can sit down to do some planning, a routine is one of the best ways to tackle this beast. At the end of the day don't stress out, and remember...



Liz @ iheartvegetables said...

Aw, these are good tips! I'll have to keep this in mind in the next few months... ;)

The Art of Being Happy said...

your extreme organization makes my heart smile!

Megan C. Stroup said...

You're right - I did love this post! :) I actually did make a binder a few weeks ago, but I just printed out The Knot checklist and stuffed in all the wedding packets from the venues we had visited (which was only three haha). I definitely appreciate your suggestions for specific tabs! Thanks for sharing. :)