So I might be letting my crazy out with this one…..but I’m going to give ya’ll a peek into the binder that defined the last year of my life as I planned our wedding.
When I say every little detail was thought of and planned out, I mean it…and you’ll see just how planned it really was- drawings and all!
I’ve recently shared my Pinterest wedding boards, which you can see here , but my planning went far beyond pinning inspiration on those boards. If you’re planning any big event, especially a wedding, I’d highly suggest getting yourself a binder to help you keep track of everything you need to do! One of my best friends, Vanessa, bought me my binder right when I got engaged and it immediately became my crutch and organizer for getting s%&^ done!
Below are my tips for staying organized while planning your dream wedding!
- Get yourself a BINDER! It will truly keep you organized and help you sort through things you need and don’t need. My binder was full of SO much wedding information which was helpful because I was able to read through all the details for each “part” of wedding. My binder broke down the wedding into separate parts (something I suggest you do with or without a binder), which helped prevent me from feeling overwhelmed the entire time. I was able to focus on one thing at a time and once I felt like I completed one part of the wedding, I flipped to the next. Binders also come with planning sheets, to help you stay organized.
- Decide on a theme/vibe of the wedding. Use Pinterest or wedding magazines to help you decide on a theme for your wedding. This is probably the most important aspect, as it will dictate all the decisions you make going forward. Do you want something bohemian in nature or more romantic? Do you want an outdoor or indoor wedding? A small, intimate wedding or one with a larger guest count? This also includes choosing your wedding colors, which will accentuate the theme you choose.
- Use a planning sheet or create an excel spreadsheet to write down and compare your vendors. Do this for each vendor you’re hiring. Write down their name, phone number, email, packages they offer, pricing, etc. I reached out to probably 7-8 vendors for each category (music, florist, planner, photographer, videographer, rental companies, etc) and kept track of all their packages and my initial “feel” for that person. Did I like them? Did I think they’d understand my vision? This was something super helpful for us because it allowed us to get a feel for what is “normally” charged within said industries and then helped us judge what we were willing to spend on the person. I can’t promise you’ll always hire the cheapest vendor (we didn’t) but it helped us feel better about what we wanted to spend since we were hand picking the person we actually liked.
- Break your wedding down into separate parts. My binder did this for me, but if you don’t have a binder, you can easily do this yourself as well. Focus on one thing at a time. Start with your Pre-Ceremony, what music do you want played? What kind of guest book do you want? How do you want to decorate your welcome space, gift table, guest book table, etc? What do you want your guests to see and feel as they enter your wedding? Then move on to the Ceremony. What do you want your arch to look like? Or your aisle decor? Next is Reception, decide on decor for dinner tables and how you want them to look. Then move on to Dancing and Dessert, what do you want your dancing hall to look like? What about the bar? Do you want special decor displayed there? I went step by step and designed the special areas for our entire wedding one at a time. So don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, break it down into separate parts and take it step by step.
- Decide whether or not you want to plan your wedding yourself. Is planning every detail of your big day something that seems fun to you? Or do you think you’ll drive yourself crazy and hate the process? If you don’t think you’d enjoy reaching out to vendors, reading contracts, designing your space, and quite literally being the living, breathing embodiment of “wedding planning,” I’d say it’d be pretty smart to get yourself a wedding planner. I wanted to be in control of everything, and thoroughly enjoyed planning all the details of our day. I’m actually quite sad that I’m not planning a wedding now, to be honest, lol. It was fun for me and I enjoyed coming home and jumping into my binder and emails. I believe planning a wedding should be the most fun process there is. You’re planning the biggest party of your life with your closest friends and family, and building your dream of a day top to bottom! I thought that was the most amazing thing ever and literally loved every moment of it. But if you think you’d enjoy your time being engaged better without having to plan a wedding, I’d suggest hiring a wedding planner to do most of the work for you. Because in no way should this be a stressful part of your life! I hired a Day of Coordinator to run the day and create the timelines for me. She ran the wedding day and really started taking control of my wedding with about 2 months to go. I handed over all my decor blueprints (photos below) and vendor contracts to her and she planned when everything would be set up for the big day and then ran our rehearsal and coordinated the timeline for our wedding.
- Decide on a wedding date. Take your time with this one. I know so many people who rushed into picking a wedding date that they didn’t even enjoy being engaged. Joey and I spent 2 months of soaking in that “just engaged” feeling before we decided to start wedding planning. It was something important to us to not rush anything. Being engaged and then married is such a special time and one that should not be rushed at all. You’re only going to do it once, after all!
- Get a wedding planning app or create a timeline of your own. Once you decide on a wedding date, you’ll need to start a month by month timeline of when things need to be done. With a wedding, you can’t just book vendors the week before, things take time and vendors are usually booked months in advance. I used The Knot’s wedding planner on my phone. When you plug your wedding date in, it creates your timeline and will let you know what you should have booked 10 months before, 8 months before, 6 months before, etc. You can also find checklists and timelines on Pinterest or in wedding magazines. I also used one of those!
- Create a checklist for decor items you’ll need (by space). If you’ve decided to decorate your space and plan your wedding yourself (like I did). I suggest breaking down each “space” that you’re going to have decorated and then write down and make a checklist for the items that you’ll need /want to fill that space. This will ensure that you don’t forget about something and truly have everything you wanted.
Well, those are my tips to staying organized while planning your wedding! I hope they’re helpful to any brides out there!