Saturday, April 5, 2008

10 Tips for Staying Organized

Well, I'm finally back to blogging after a busy few weeks and I must say I'm happy to be back! Today's blog is all about staying organized while planning your wedding. The key to a smooth sailing wedding day lies within proper planning and organization. Here are my top 10 tips for staying organized:

1. Create a wedding binder

There is nothing that will cause a headache faster than having to search for hours for that one receipt you need or that all important photographer's contract that you suddenly have the need to look at. The easiest and most logical way to stay organized is to create a wedding binder that you can easily take with you wherever you go. Your binder should have a separate tab for each wedding category/vendor. In each section you should keep ALL documents you receive from each vendor, store, website, etc... this includes all receipts, contracts, business cards, brochures, notes that are taken, and any other misc documents. If you take the time to create a binder at the start of planning and keep it updated throughout planning, you will save yourself many headaches in the long run!

2. Buy a calendar/planner

Having a calendar where you can schedule all of your wedding appointments is essential to organization. Now, that probably goes without saying but you'd be surprised as to how many people I see that do not have a calendar of any kind and simply rely on sticky notes and scratch paper to keep track of their appointments. If you have a Blackberry, iPhone, or other PDA phone, schedule your appointments here and you'll receive reminders as to when your appointments take place.

3. Don't Procrastinate

Simply put, do not wait until 4 months before your wedding date to start planning your wedding unless you absolutely have to. An average sized wedding can take up to 12-18 months to properly plan. If you are getting married during 'prime wedding season' aka spring/summer, you will need ample time to secure your vendors as many vendors will book up to 2 years in advance. Waiting until the last minute and trying to cram all of your planning in at once will leave you stressed out.

4. Create a wedding email account

Another great way to stay organized and keep all of your wedding related information in one place, is to create a joint email account with your fiance solely for wedding stuff. Not only will this help you stay organized, but both you and your groom will have access to this account and can check the account when the other one is not around. I know many people that have several different email accounts, and creating one specifically for wedding info can relieve a lot of the confusion.

5. Share duties

Now, I know sharing wedding planning duties isn't always optimal for every couple as there are many grooms-to-be that simply wish to leave all of the decision making up to their brides. However, this is not the best way to get things done! Sure, she may have help from her mother or maid of honor, but planning a wedding should really involve both the bride and groom. Even if you choose to hire a planner, including your groom will make him feel as if it is his wedding too. My advice is to make a list of all things that need to be done and then talk over each item to see who feels most comfortable doing each item. Many men aren't going to be too concerned with what type of flowers you choose, or what color your bridesmaid dresses will be; but, they may have an interest in booking/planning the honeymoon, or helping to choose your transportation style to and from the wedding sites. Communication is the key here and you may be surprised just how helpful your groom-to-be can be! :)

6. Set a budget

Let's face it, weddings are expensive. It is imperative, that you set a budget early on and decide who is paying for what. These days, many groom's families are contributing to the wedding costs and more and more couples are also paying for a large part of their wedding as well. Talk with each of your families separately and ask them to commit to a specific dollar amount, or ask them to finance a specific aspect of the wedding, such as the reception dinner, honeymoon, or ceremony site. Once your budget is set, it is important to keep up with your wedding expenses in a spreadsheet or software program of some kind. Our full service package includes full budget preparation & tracking with due date reminders. Many online websites have free budget trackers to help you stay on track as well. Choose which method works best for you and update your budget on a regular basis.

7. Create a Guest List Tracker

Create a comprehensive gust list tracker that not only includes the names and contact information of each guest invited, but also includes space for items such as: rehearsal dinner attendees, out of town travel arrangements, gift tracking, thank you notes sent, and seating arrangements. This will help streamline the planning process and all information will be stored together, making it less stressful for you!

8. Bridal Party Duty Checklists

Giving your bridal party their specific duties ahead of time will avoid confusion later on in the planning process. You may wish to write everything down for them and present them with a checklist so no items are left out. Including your bridal party members in the planning of your wedding will make them feel important and it is also a great way to bond with your girl friends/family members. Talk with your bridal party ahead of time to make sure everyone is comfortable with their duties and are able to perform them.

9. Set aside time

Set aside a day of the week to focus on wedding related duties. The day chosen should be a time that both you and your fiance will have time to sit down together and work on these items. Early on in the planning process when vendors are first being secured and towards the end, as your wedding day approaches are typically the busiest and when additional days for planning will be needed. During this time, go over what duties have been completed and what duties are still to come, make vendor phone calls, schedule appointments, and update your wedding expense file or budget tracker.

10. Hire a wedding planner

Naturally, I am a bit bias; however, having a planner whether it be for the entire planning process, the month before, or for day of coordination is simply put...invaluable. The average wedding can take 200+ hours to properly plan. Many couples today simply do not have the time to devote to coordinating the hundreds of details that go into planning their wedding day. Or, maybe you do have the time, but just don't quite know where to begin. A professional planner will streamline the planning process and be able to provide their expertise in order to fully plan and execute an event from start to finish. Hiring a planner will help keep you organized and save you an enormous amount of stress. In addition to the logistic matters, a planner also serves as your creative partner (or new best friend as we like to call it!) helping you with color and theme selection, decor, proper etiquette, and vendor selection. Lastly, after all of your hard work leading up to the months of your wedding, the last thing you need to do is work on your wedding day! Snags and mishaps still occur even in the most organized and properly planned events; therefore, having a planner present the day of your wedding will allow you to enjoy yourselves knowing that in the background your planner is putting out any fires that may occur without you even knowing about them!

1 comment:

Kiley said...

Good thinking...great advice! I could use some wedding organizational skills! :)