Red Pattern

Sunday, June 10, 2012

When In Doubt, Organize!

A few nights ago, I was having trouble falling asleep. After watching more episodes of HGTV's House Hunters than I care to admit, I decided to focus on organizing some of the wedding information I had been setting aside stuffing into a binder until I felt like putting it into its proper place. Well, my organization obsession got the best of me, and I started what ended up being a 2-day process of organizing/printing/labeling all of the important wedding info I have, and creating my ultimate wedding planning binder.

Now before you ask - yes, I know that you can go to any bookstore and find oodles of choices for wedding organization. In fact, shortly after Ryan and I got engaged, I was sucked in to the wedding section at Barnes & Noble, and bought this little guy:

I just HAD to have it / Image via Barnes and Noble
I looked at each and every one of their options before finally settling on this planner. I loved that it not only had an extensive overall checklist, but also a check list for each sub-section as well, with to-do items for things like booking a florist and making sure your bridesmaids get their dresses on time. It seemed like a great purchase - I had 12 months of planning ahead of me, and I loved the idea of being organized from start to finish.

Then, somewhere along the way, I realized I really wasn't using the planner. While I loved the extensive information as a newly engaged bride-to-be, I began to realize there was a lot of fluff taking up space in this particular planner. I considered sifting through the pages, taking out things I didn't need, but the binder itself is very large, and I have a weird pet peeve about a large binder with only a few pages. This led me to my next option, making my own planner. This is where my sleepless night comes into play - I decided to start fresh with an empty binder I had left over from a class, and use the elements of the binder I had bought, mixed with my own organization.

Personal Photo
Personal Photo

First of all, I kept the calendar right up front where I would see it immediately. I use it only for important dates and payment reminders so they don't slip through the cracks.

I chose to not only divide the binder into sections like ceremony, dress, and music, but also into subsections. This really helped me to personalize the planner, and include sections for vendors I had already booked.
Personal Photo
Subdivision of Music into Harp & DJ / Personal Photo

For each vendor, I printed out the contract we had signed, as well as the lists of information from the Piazza about what our package includes. I did the same thing with the photographer and videographer so that I would have the information easily accessible if I needed to look back at what our package included.
Megan Fortner Photography / Personal Photo
Personal Photo

Finally, because the front looked a little bare, I headed over to Wedding Chicks and printed off one of their wedding signs. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done! (Excuse the wrinkles on the paper - Memphis likes to stand on top of the binder for some reason.)

Personal Photo

The most significant part of this organization was taking the time to get all of my wedding information in one place. Before, I would just refer to my email when I needed to look something up, but now it is so much easier to have it all in one place, and have a hard copy to look at. It will also be convenient to carry the planner with me when I start meeting with our coordinator at the Piazza three months out from the wedding (we're getting so close! how is this possible!?)

If I could give my self seven months ago some advice, I would definitely tell her to skip the bookstore planner, and just create your own. There are so many great resources online that can be printed out - I love the spreadsheets here - and you can really create a planner that is personalized and fits your wedding.

Side note: for all of the things I can't easily do with pen and paper, I hop over to Google Docs. It made creating the guest list and getting Save the Dates ready such an easy process. It also allows my mom to help me with addresses and add them in her self!

How do you organize the oodles of information that come with planning a wedding? Did you create your own system or rely on Martha Stewart and friends to help you out?

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