Sanity and Organization

If you were to ask my closest friends for three words to describe me, they’d probably say laid-back, easygoing, and spontaneous. I really hate planning things and I’d much rather just see how things work out on their own.

Ha! Did you believe me?

I feel like I’m a broken record here, because so many bloggers are type-A, uber-organized, and love spreadsheets lists and planning—I think that kind of comes with the territory of blogging. Mrs. Waterfall put it perfectly when she described herself as the combo of Monica Geller, Blair Waldorf, and Charlotte York—I aspire to live somewhere in that neighborhood.

So right after we got engaged, I was ready to step up to the planning big leagues and hit a home run on this wedding business—and I became completely overwhelmed. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for how much stuff comes at your right when you begin your wedding research.

You’re simultaneously trying to Google every wedding venue in the area, read some bridal magazines, recover from sticker shock, explain to your fiance(e) about the difference between the color ivory and white, find pictures of first looks so you can explain to your mother that you aren’t doing something weird, look up weather histories in your city for the past five years, and retell your proposal story to everyone you meet.

And if you’re like me and got engaged around Christmas, you’re probably checking your Facebook keeping tabs on everyone who just got engaged (give or take 5,000 of my friends in December). And what does that mean? They’re snatching up your vendors, that’s what that means! Get your butt in gear, woman!

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Unintentionally, The Muppets can explain all of my emotions. / Source: WhatShouldWeCallMe

It was a stressful time. And I’ve been waiting years for this craziness? Yikes. I’ll tell you, elopement sounded mighty fine a few weeks in.

Eventually, things calmed down. We figured out a date, we found the places and some vendors, and the up-all-night internet searching could stop. But I think the real turning point from psycho bride to capable bride began when I finally got my wedding binder together.

It just felt good to be able to print out a calendar and have a tangible place to jot down some ideas and to-do lists. It felt like I was taking control of this crazy situation.

There are lots of posts on the internet about how to put together a binder and checklists and detailed wedding worksheets. I’ll just show you what I’ve put together, and maybe you’ll like some of it.

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I wanted something cute, and this sure is!

As I usually do when shopping for a planner or calendar, I took my time and strolled the aisles of Target looking for the perfect one. I found the brand OrganizHer by Mead. They had several types of products, and I obsessively checked through each one to see what would best fit my needs.

The one I decided on is actually a coupon organizer, but it is full page 8.5″ x 11″ size. It had dividers, some plastic insert sheets, and some pre-lined pages. Cute, on sale, and I didn’t have to buy plastic page protectors or dividers. I also liked that it is soft, since I carry this with me every day to work. Win!

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Calendar, the cute dividers, caterer menu printed out, and a plastic sheet for business cards

First up, I have the monthly calendar, which I printed from foreverbridal.net and labeled through May 2014. I write down any appointments or due dates that I have and, at the bottom, I make notes of things I want to accomplish that month. The adorable dividers split up the sections for the church, the reception, photo/video, decor, and hotel/transport.

In each of these sections, I’ve added the quotes, contracts, copies of checks, and any other relevant documents for the chosen vendor. I don’t print out every email, but it’s been nice to have as a reference for something I might forget. In the plastic sheets I store business cards, random scraps of paper with info on them, receipts, stamps, some magazine pictures, and paint swatches from Home Depot.

Bonus bridal tip. Go buy a pack of stamps. Just do it. Who has stamps nowadays? I can easily drop off letters in the slot at work, but I usually don’t have time to go to the post office when it’s open. Most of the time I’m tech-only, but when it comes to depositing checks and signed contracts, snail mail is a must.

I also have a section of blank paper. Obvious—or brilliant? OK, so it’s obvious.

But here I have a “things to buy” section, ideas for the registry, attempts at a day-of timeline, and a sheet for just random thoughts. My brain was on overload at the beginning of the engagement and just being able to write it down and it keep in one place gave me some sanity back. I know it isn’t perfect (and certainly not to Monica Geller standards), but it works for me.

My online lists—those are perfect. I use the WeddingWire planner for my budget and checklist. I edited them both a lot to fit my needs, referenced several online lists to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything, and I’ve been updating it ever since. Those are a great reference and easy to keep up.

Did you have a wedding binder? How did you feel at the beginning of your engagement?

BLOGGER

Miss Pyramid

Location:
New Orleans, LA
Wedding Date:
05/15/2014

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  1. Guest
    MSM, Guest @ 4:30 pm

    Very nice, had to pin that lovely, so organized, notebook!

  2. Member
    Mrs. Bighorn Sheep 113 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:45 pm

    Oh my gosh. That organiser is gorgeous! I literally only have a binder and I shove all the information in there (in their own sections, I’m not that bad! LOL).

    The wedding has made me more organised. Mr Big and I have a shared calendar on Google Calendars, I keep track of everything through Excel spreadsheets, and I’ve put all of my vendors into their own “folders” in my email account. The planning for me has been mostly digital (I’m bad with paper).

    The other day Mr Big (a huge organiser from way back when) turned to me and said: “I like that you’re using spreadsheets and organising data. It’s kinda hot.”

    Insert big grin.

  3. Member
    texasaggiemom 594 posts, Busy bee @ 8:19 pm

    I second the motion for your very wise suggestion “Just buy stamps!” Having just had that conversation with my daughter the bride, I understand that it’s a foreign concept to the current generation of brides, but they are a lifesaver! We just mailed all our final payments (eeeee!) for her December wedding this morning and it was nice to have stamps on hand at midnight last night when we finished putting it all together.

  4. Member
    mrsfitness 64 posts, Worker bee @ 11:47 pm

    i love, love love your binder.
    i got mine as an engagement gift from my maid of honour (absolute lifesaver) and have been thanking her everyday since.
    it wasnt so crucial in the early stages of planning, but once we got a year out (we were engaged for three years) and had to actually do planning things it became my lifeline. mine has pockets for all my business cards, pens, spare paper, every thought ive ever had, day-of lists, and as it was a specific wedding ‘diary’ as such its got tips for every week, for choosing florists, photographers, cakes, which seasons go with what colors, and stickers to put all my photos, clippings or anything else helpful. The one thing it didnt have was a calendar that was a month to a page kinda deal, so i could see everything at a glance, but im attatched to my ical anyways so that made it bearable.
    I love it.

  5. Member
    Mrs. Road Trip 740 posts, Busy bee @ 5:29 am

    The binder fell by the wayside after I stopped going to bridal shows and picking up oodles of materials. After that it was a combo of Google docs and lists in notebooks.

    And the allure of elopement will come and go during the process, lol. I think that’s a given :)

  6. Member
    Miss Pyramid 807 posts, Busy bee @ 12:44 pm

    @MSM: thanks! I hope it’s helpful for you.
    @Miss Bighorn Sheep: oh yea, I don’t know how people planned weddings before Google Docs! So handy. I do still like a pen and paper for calendars and to-do lists, call me old school :)
    @TexasAggieMom: so handy! And congrats on getting all the deposits off for the wedding, it’s so close! Hope everything is smooth here on out!
    @MrsFitness: that sounds so handy! I had a little notebook guide thing, but its not a binder, sounds good to have it all together.

    @Miss Road Trip: oh girl, your comment is so timely you don’t even know…elopement is still on the radar as each new problem pops up! I also like my binder here to show me what’s already been completed – keeps things in perspective for every new drama that unfolds!

  7. Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1299 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:00 pm

    Haha, thanks for the Bee love! And girl, if you saw my binder, you might have an aneurysm. No joke, the thing weighs more than Simba. LOL, It became so cumbersome and heavy that I never wanted to take it anywhere any more so toward the end, I used the weddingwire app on my phone more than anything else. Yours is so cute though, love the pattern!

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