Planning a wedding is hard work, but something that will make everything easier in the long run will be to have a system that will keep you organized throughout the process. Here are a few steps that I used for planning my own wedding that worked really well for me.
Step one for me was to buy a printer. Granted- most people have one, but for some reason I did not and I learned quickly that having one would be incredibly helpful. Most vendors these days you will be contacting through email and sending you contracts and such. It’s best to print these out immediately and keep in a file somewhere safe. Also print any emails that you send back and forth amending any contracts. Some vendors won’t send you an updated contract with every little change that’s made, so it’s good to have these agreements on paper in case you need it down the road (although you should always request an updated contract anytime a change has been made- more on that later.)
Step two was to have somewhere to put all of these documents. I chose the good old tried and trusted binder with labeled dividers- venue, ceremony, reception, photography/videography and attire are just some of the dividers I used. I put EVERYTHING in this binder, from contracts, to receipts, to registry lists. I made sure to get one of those small hole punches you can clip into the binder so at vendor meetings I could always file any papers or contracts where they needed to go. I also always had sheet protectors where I could slide receipts, business cards and even magazine clippings into. Vendors LOVED this idea, and it really does help months down the road when you need that business card to the calligrapher you met at that one bridal show. Just open the binder and there it is!
Step three for me was to get a Pinterest account. This is pretty basic these days, but I still see the occasional bride who hasn’t even heard of Pinterest (ummm- where have you been?). I personally don’t see how brides planned a wedding before Pinterest. It’s seriously amazing! But it can also keep you organized. Create a board for each aspect of your wedding- flowers, food, centerpieces, attire… Then when you go to vendor meetings and they are asking what it is you are looking for, you can whip out your tablet, laptop or smartphone and show them exactly what it is you’d like. No messy magazine clippings that always get lost, or vague descriptions that can lead them easily astray. If the vendor has a Pinterest account (which they should if they know what’s up) they can just follow that board and always have a reference down the road. One word of caution with using Pinterest though- the weddings these pictures are usually taken at are expensive. Keep your budget in mind and be realistic with what you can afford and what these things cost to make happen.
Step four is to create a new email specifically for wedding use. This is so invaluable especially for going to bridal shows. These guys are ruthless, ladies. Don’t get me wrong you can get some GREAT deals from bridal shows, but some vendors will try to contact you for months, even after telling them that you have already made your decision to go with someone else. And some of these vendors- we won’t mention any names here (cough, David’s Bridal, cough cough!!) sell your information to any and everyone. On the same note- you may want to get a google voice number as well for the same reason. I found that having my wedding things separate from my personal and work email and phone made things much easier and organized. That way, at work I wasn’t getting distracted with “24 Hour Sale on Wedding Dresses” emails and vendor questions. And when I was ready to delve into planning, I wasn’t getting bombarded with Facebook notifications and such.
Another note on attending bridal shows, print up sticker labels with your name, wedding email and phone number, address and wedding date. You’ll be filling out so many forms that this will come in handy big time. You’ll save so much time and have more time to make the most of at the show. Bridal fashion show, anyone?
I hope these tips help you stay organized and sane during your planning process. What are some organization tips you used, or are using, to plan your wedding?