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!
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.
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!
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?
- New Orleans, LA
- Petroleum Engineer
- Wedding Date:
- St. Francis of Assisi Church & N.O. Board of Trade