Happy Thursday! Is it just me or is the summer going by WAY too fast?! I seriously can’t believe that next week we will be celebrating the 4th of July! I’m not going to lie – I’m a bit disappointed that the 4th falls on a Wednesday – makes it more difficult to have a long weekend celebration. As of now, my husband and I don’t have any huge plans. If the weather is nice I’m thinking a solid beach day followed by cheeseburgers, corn on the cob, potato salad and a glass of my new favorite wine – a sparkling Shiraz by The Chook (a future blog about wine and weddings and how I learned about this varietal will be up in a few weeks!)
My 2018 wedding season has been off to a great start and August/September are my two busiest months. My 2019 calendar is starting to fill up and I am beyond excited at meeting my new couples! I figured this was the perfect time to give you all some tips on how to stay organized throughout the planning process! I’m going to share with you the tricks that I use myself to keep all the details for my clients in order and also some tricks I used for my own wedding planning!
1. Make a wedding binder!
I seriously can’t stress this enough. It is so important to have one place to track all of your documents. Go to your closest Target, choose a simple but beautiful 3 ring binder, a package of binder dividers, a legal pad and a 3-hole punch if you don’t already have one. The first thing I want you to do is label the dividers with all your different vendors – have a section for documents from the venue, DJ or band, caterer, photographer, hair & makeup, florist, rentals, officiant, etc. As soon as you receive contracts, immediately hole punch this and file into the appropriate section. There are so many moving parts to a wedding and even the best memory will not be able to file everything mentally!
2. Create a forum to organize your ideas
Whether this be a Pinterest board, spreadsheet, section of your binder, it doesn’t matter – just have a place for creativity. As I was planning my own wedding, I would constantly come across pieces of décor on websites that I thought would be perfect. I hadn’t officially decided on my theme but I didn’t want to forget where I found this stuff in case I wanted to go back to purchase. I personally LOVE Excel and the way it helps me organize everything so I set up a grid and created columns for ceremony décor, reception décor, etc. and would write a quick description as to what the product was, the price, and put the website link so I could always refer back to see what I had compiled. I had 18 months to plan my wedding so naturally my themes and designs changed multiple times throughout the process and this spreadsheet was a Godsend for me.
3. Track due dates on a calendar
I personally used an Outlook color coded calendar to track all of my appointments but use whatever works for you. As soon as a contract comes back, review it and immediately note when you have a payment due date, the amount due, when your final headcount is due, etc. For those of you who are an Alyssa Jean partial or full-service bride – I take care of tracking all of this for you so you will always receive notifications before you have a deadline approaching!
4. Plan early!
A simple way to save yourself stress is to plan early! I understand this is not always possible but the more time you can give yourself, the less chaotic the process will be. I loved having an 18-month engagement as it gave me so much time to do everything. I booked my venue first because without a date and a venue, it’s pretty much impossible to do anything else. I then casually started looking and booking my vendors – I never felt like the process was out of control and there was too much to do because I could take my time. Not to mention – I also had my choice of my favorite vendors!
5. Break things down into smaller, weekly tasks
Rather than looking at the huge long list you found on Pinterest of all the things you have to do – create smaller goals with 3-5 things you plan to accomplish weekly. Again, for my partial and full-service brides – you get the luxury of me assigning most of these to you to help you stay on track! For those of you planning on your own, seriously just pick a few things each week so you feel excited about checking things off your list and it feels manageable to you. I’m a huge list maker and honestly nothing gets my blood pumping like seeing a fully checked off To-Do list (although somehow new tasks are always popping up so not sure I’ve ever seen it fully checked). Maybe a better way to word that would be when I’ve checked so many things off the list that it’s time to re-write the list on a fresh sheet of paper – does anyone else do this or is it just me?!
6. Create a wedding-only email address
Now I personally did not do this because the thought of having another email address to check did not appeal to me but I know several brides who swear by this! Even if you don’t create a separate address, at least set up a separate folder in your regular inbox where you will filter all wedding-related emails. This makes it easy to find things you are looking for and keeps your inbox clean. Maybe it’s my Type A personality coming out again but I can’t stand seeing a cluttered Inbox – archiving emails gives me a sense of calm. I hope that’s normal … asking for a friend here.
I hope you all found this to be helpful! I live for organization and planning so if you have any helpful tips and tricks that you picked up along the way, please share! I always love to hear from you guys and any suggestions you can offer to help out a fellow bride is a good thing to share! Until next time, Happy Planning!