You've had family and friends to your home for dinner. Maybe
you've hosted a Super Bowl party or two. But have you ever planned
and coordinated an event for 50-300 guests? If you haven't, then
welcome to the world of wedding planning.
Caterers, florists, and other wedding-related companies will be
banging down your door to get your business. Friends and relatives
will offer advice, phone numbers, and web sites for you to check
out. How will you juggle the multitudes of research and information
from those who want your day to be special? The key to smooth and
stress reducing wedding planning is ...
Being organized is the art of having the things you need
when you need them whether it is a brochure, a phone number, or a
picture of your ultimate bridal bouquet. And no one recognizes the
need to be organized more than someone who is planning a wedding. A
few organizing techniques you can use to help you plan your wedding
are the consistent use of a calendar/PDA and making to-do lists.
But what about all of those wedding-related papers you've
accumulated? Estimates from caterers, song sheets from bands, and
all of those pictures you tore out of magazines -- how are you
supposed to keep them all organized?
The Wedding Binder
The top tool for organized wedding planning is a Wedding
Binder. Besides your future spouse, your 'Wedding Binder' will be
the closest thing to a best friend you'll have during your
engagement period. The wedding binder is essentially a 'home' for
all wedding-related information. Each topic will have a specific
area in the binder allowing for quick referencing and
How should you build your wedding binder to work best
The size of your wedding and how many 'extras' you
incorporate into your wedding day (ex. ice sculptures, doves) will
determine the size of your binder. If you are having a small,
simple gathering or you're not doing much research, you may not
need more than a 1" spine. Large gatherings with many 'extras' will
probably require a binder with upwards of a 3" spine.
Besides the binder itself, you will need:
three hole punched, two-sided pocket folders
extra wide dividers or self adhesive divider tabs for the pocket
three hole punched, zippered pocket for pen/pencils/paper clips
One, two-sided pocket folder is usually enough room for the
paperwork of one vendor. One side of the pocket folder is for ideas
and research and the other side is for estimates and contracts.
Keeping these different types of information separate will allow
you to locate them and retrieve at a moment's notice.
Examples of some categories for your pocket folders
Assemble the pocket folders in order of importance to you. If you
are constantly making calls to your caterer, place that folder
towards the front of the binder. Already know what favors you want
to give out? Place that folder towards the back.
What other information can be stored in your wedding
Guest lists/gift lists
E-mail/phone list of bridal party members
A print-out of your registry
Benefits to using a wedding binder
Money-saving benefit: You're
always prepared when a vendor wants to talk about price. If
quotes you a price in writing and you can't produce the paper it's
written on, they could try to charge
you more money for their services.
Time-saving benefit: Since all of your
information has a 'home,' you won't be wasting your time
duplicate information off the internet or repeatedly asking for
the addresses of your guests.
Sanity-saving benefit: All of your
wedding information is in one place. No need to take apart your
room looking for what you need.
Tips for keeping an organized wedding binder:
Label the pocket folders clearly
Place new papers/information in the correct pocket of your binder
as soon as you receive them.
Sort and purge your binder once a month. Toss any information that
is no longer relevant in the trash or
in a folder for a friend or relative who may need it in the
Always bring your wedding binder with you when meeting with your
vendors. You'll have all the information you
need to compare prices and make educated decisions. You will be
organized, prepared and in control of your
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