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Planning a wedding can be a tremendous project, especially if you plan on taking care of the details yourself. But it can be done, especially if you treat the entire wedding as you would any other long term project, and use some of these very handy tips for staying on top of your to-do list.
The Core of Your Project:
Meet your new best friend. He is a 2-inch round-ring binder. You can buy him at any office supply store and he is going to escort you everywhere you go. Yes, I know, it may seem simpler to put everything in your computer, or even to purchase a software package designed especially for bridal planning, but believe me, the binder is the better option. You may suddenly be called upon at odd times or in odd places to come up with information on something (confirmation numbers, reservation numbers, total guest list numbers, emergency contact information etc) that you do not have access to. You may not even be anywhere near a computer to access your information. So a binder it is.
Purchase a package of 12 tabs and even zipper pockets for receipts and other paperwork. Each tab is going to be set up for a different section of your wedding; ceremony, reception, guest list, dresses & tuxes, flowers, food, music etc. In the front you will have your timeline/schedule of when each of the things that needs to be done should be done. In the back you will have extra paper and a portable three-hole punch (the kind that high school students use for their homework). You will most likely find that you will have sub-lists inside of each section of your binder as your plans start to come together.
Make sure that you have a zipper pocket with pens, pencils and erasers in it, as you are going to be doing a lot of writing. As you begin to accumulate ideas and vendor names, receipts and other paperwork, make sure that they get put in their binders (or at least copies of the paperwork get put in the binders). Keep the originals in a safe place so that they do not get lost.
Find an Online Resource Center:
The internet is a tremendous tool, and online wedding sites that give you checklists and timelines as well as guest list managers and gift trackers can offer you any number of tools to help you planning your wedding AND stay within budget. These tools (and the charts, lists and graphs they generate) can work wonders for helping you to organize your wedding binder.
Plan for a Weekly Checkup:
If you have others helping you with the planning of your wedding, make sure that you schedule a weekly checkup. Have it at a café or at your own house, but make sure that everyone brings in what they’ve accomplished that week and gets you up to speed on what they are working on now. Even if you are doing everything yourself, sitting down once a week with someone who is willing to double check things with you is a good idea (the maid of honor is a great choice for this) they may be able to see things that you missed.
Communication is Key:
Whether it is calling to confirm a reservation or double checking with the baker to make sure that the cake is going to be done and delivered to the reception hall at the time you’ve requested, communication is the key to managing your wedding. Never assume that people are doing what you have asked them to do, always double check, it will save you plenty of headaches later on down the line.
And finally, always plan for things to take longer than your list or the vendor themselves tells you they will. Things happen, and if you have budgeted your time too thin, you could end up scrambling at the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time to get everything done, and you will find yourself with fewer headaches as you approach the big day.
This article was written by Sarah Rigos, founder of online wedding registry Starlight Registry.