Congratulations, you’re engaged!!!!!
Planning a wedding can be one of the happiest or one of the most stressful experiences in your life. How you come out in the end really depends on how you go in, and without the proper preparation, a blushing bride can turn bridezilla real quick.
While planning my own wedding, one of the things that kept me composed was having a wedding binder. Organizing the INSANE amount of information needed to pull off a wedding all in one place helped immensely during the entire process. A wedding binder doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and with a few office supplies you can create your own, and be on your way to happily ever after!
What you’ll need:
- 3 ring binder
- binder tab dividers
- additional sticky tabs for sub-categories
- loose leaf paper
- clear sheet protectors
- optional (but awesome!): pen loop
FRONT POCKET – To-Do List
Having a month-to-month to-do list can help keep you organized and know which tasks are important to focus on when. Once that month is over, rotate the sheet so your current tasks are always front and center. You can download the version I used HERE, and there are lots of empty spaces for you to add on as well.
On your front pocket, tape paint swatches that match your Color Scheme. These will come in handy when picking out dress fabrics, decorations, and flowers.
BEFORE TABS – Master Contact List
Keeping all phone numbers and email addresses in one place is very important. I had at least 15 different vendors to keep track of while planning my wedding, and not having to search for their information every time I needed to make a call was perfect. Also, creating a separate “wedding” contact list on your phone will help too.
Behind each tab, keep a few sheets of loose-leaf paper to take notes as you talk to vendors. This is also where you can print out and keep any photos and ideas you’ll want to have on hand while dress shopping, talking to your florist, hairdresser, or photographer. Think Pinterest, but in real life. Keeping things in separate categories will help organize your thought process and be incredibly helpful when explaining your vision.
Contrary to what you may believe, it is VITAL to have a budget in mind before you begin planning your wedding. Even if your strategy is to only buy what’s on sale, or be thrifty whenever possible, it will get out of hand if you’re not careful. Breaking everything down in a Budget Excel Sheet (that’s another example you can download if you like), planning on what you should spend, and recording what you actually do spend, will help you keep a running total of your costs.
Hanging on to all of your receipts is also very important when sticking to a budget. After every tab, use a sheet protector to house all paperwork relevant to that section.
Before you can decide how much to spend, you need to figure out how big your wedding is going to be. As you decide who makes the cut, this is a great time to start collecting addresses. Keeping all of that information together will come in handy when it’s time to send those invitations (and, later, Thank You notes). I used a Guest List Spreadsheet to keep track of our total invitee number.
Here is where you can keep details such as; the wedding party, ushers, program attendants, readers, communion distributors (if having a mass), singers, and musicians. You can keep a list of what songs will be played when, which readings you would like during your wedding, and important venue information.
Take notes while talking to each vendor. Keep receipts, quotes, contracts, and business cards in the page protector, and house all your idea printouts to show while in meetings.
- Flower Girl/Ring Bearer
Before you sprint to the nearest bridal boutique, it’s always a good idea to have SOME type of look in mind. Otherwise you could waste a lot of time and energy just trying to get in the right direction. Print out dresses you’re attracted to, suites you think look sharp, and any ideas you may have for your bridesmaids to help the shopping trip go as smooth as possible.
Invitations and programs can get really expensive really fast. Talk to vendors and compare printing prices. This is also where you can keep any specific information you may want to have featured, and ideas of how you’d like them to look.
There are a LOT of people involved in a wedding, not just the bride and groom. When it comes time to show how much you appreciate each and every person who helped you out, creating a list of gift ideas and how much to spend is a must. This is also a great place to keep your gift list after the wedding, and make sure you don’t miss anyone when writing Thank You cards.
Information overload? Maybe.
Will you thank me later? Most definitely.
Now go! Go forth and plan that wedding you’ve been dreaming about since you were seven. But this time instead of marrying the dog, you’ll be getting hitched to that hot and sexy piece of tail you love more than anything in the world!
Isn’t being a grown-up awesome? 😉