Wedding planning, to me, never felt too stressful, even though we did it in 3 months. It was certainly busy, but I wasn’t terribly anxious, and I think the reasons why was because of the tools I had and the systems I put into place. Because we were on such a time crunch I knew that I HAD to get organized and not waste a second, so I did a little research, put together a few templates (for download in the freebies resource library!), and figured out what worked for me. So today I will share all of my organizational nerdi-ness with you gals!
Southern Weddings Binder : I’m sure you have heard of this little gem, but in case you missed it, this binder is not just gorgeously designed, but it is extremely helpful! There are sections for everything you could think of with suggestions, tips, timelines, budget saving ideas, etc. There are also monthly calendars that I used to make deadlines for myself, such as when the invites need to be mailed and when the photoshoots needed to be done, so we could get out pictures back in time. Having it all together helped me to plan for the big picture and not let anything slip my mind. It was such a fun gift to get from Val right after Josh proposed and created even more excitement for the planning process.
Asana : If you are a list maker like me and get a rush from checking things off your list, this little app may kick you into high gear productivity. This is essentially a sophisticated to-do list website, and there is an app version for your phone, so you are never without your list!
I added a “project” for the wedding and once we selected all of our vendors, I added a “section” with each vendors name. Under that I added “tasks” for each of the vendors and listed everything I could think of that we’d have to do. (sign contract, send deposit, appointment, make selections, final payment, week of, etc.) I also made “sections” for decor items, paper goods, honeymoon, packing, and more! You can even make deadlines or set appointments with reminders! I used the guidelines for time frame from the Southern Weddings Binder to figure out when things need to be done. This was such a life saver. Anytime a thought popped into my mind, I just added it to its list immediately and never feared that I had forgotten something!
My Excel Spreadsheets : By now you may have noticed that I am quite the organizational nerd. I have a deep love for charts and making these sheets was actually my favorite and the most satisfying part of planning the wedding. There are 5 sheets included in this download on the FREEBIES page!
The Wedding Day schedule has columns for the Venue, where you can input the when vendors will arrive, Photographer & Videographer, where you can coordinate where they will be and when you need to be ready for photos, the Bride, MOH, Groom, Best Man, and the Family so everyone knows where they need to be when. I passed these out at the rehearsal and it was extremely helpful. I referenced it so many times on the wedding day!
The Wedding Week template will help you schedule (and color code like the Wedding Day) all the last minute things for the week of the wedding, such as picking up tuxes, walk-thrus, spray tans, mani-pedi’s, etc.
The Ceremony Seating chart was helpful for letting the immediate families all know where sit and for setting the layout of the chairs. Because we didn’t have a ton of extra chairs we wanted to really make good use of them and not have awkward single seats on the family rows.
The Contact Info chart has space for each of your vendors and for your family as well. It was nice to have a quick reference list and to be able to give to others if they needed to get into contact with or track someone down. When you are the bride you are busy enough and don’t want to be the middle man for every person there!
The Formal Shot List is pretty much a necessity if you want to be quick with your photos! You will see the way I did my list was to try to have as little moving in and out of pictures around as possible, especially for the bride since it could be more difficult to move around and re-position the dress!
The Knot & Wedding Wire : I used these 2 sites a ton to find vendors and then to check the reviews of vendors I already knew I wanted to book. But remember, if the majority of their reviews are great and there are a few bad ones, you have to take them with a grain of salt. There is always “that bride” who no one can please and will go ranting all over to try to ruin their reputation. Now, if the have mostly bad review then pay attention! There were a few vendors I loved, but there reviews were consistently terrible and after our wedding I actually heard stories of how some of them treated their clients, so definitely take those patterns seriously!
Marriage 365 : If you are not following this Instagram account and you are engaged or married, you need to! Casey & Meygan give marriage advice in a refreshing, funny, and honest way! It is so important to have couples further along than you who you can learn from and it’s awesome that we can be so encouraged through Instagram!
Field Guide for Marriage : I loved the idea of these journals Val created, but it wasn’t until we got engaged and started going through them, that I appreciated all the great content and conversation that this brought! In the set, their is a journal for the Bride and the Groom. Each section encourages conversation on a wide range of topics, that probably never thought would be beneficial to talk about! It is such a fun and non-threatening way to bring up things that could sometimes be hard to talk about. Do yourself a favor and go grab one of the remaining sets she has, and go through this with your fiance!
Bonus Random Tips :
Get your groom involved. What I found with my groom, was that he wanted to help, but had no clue, what or how much actually needed to get done. Ask him to cook while you are addressing envelopes or pick things up from vendors. He could take charge of the insurance, home, car, or moving tasks. It is also a good idea to make goals of things you’d like to accomplish or appointments you have for the week, and share them with him. There were things Josh actually offered to take care of once he knew what needed to be done and a few appointments that he actually wanted to go to, that I just assumed he wouldn’t care to go to.
Delete pins from your pinterest board after you make decisions. This was honestly like a cleansing process! After you order your invites or make your selection for flowers, delete everything else! Continuing to see all of the other options would have made me nuts and could have caused regret or made you second guess yourself.
Buy 2 Pairs of Shoes. Would you believe that the most stressful part of wedding planning was trying to find shoes that were cute AND comfortable. I literally bought and returned at least 10 pairs of shoes. With our wedding being outside on a brick patio and my dress being a lace, I knew I didn’t want to take off my shoes for the reception, so I was being soooo picky on comfort knowing I would be standing in them all night. After failing 10 times, I ended up buying 2 pairs of shoes, a pretty blush pair for the ceremony and pictures and an extremely comfortable cognac platform wedge for the reception that obviously didn’t “match” the dress! I knew that by the reception I wouldn’t care and would just be ready to have fun and honestly no one even saw! The plus side was that I found each for $40, so the $80 for both pairs was actually cheaper than a lot of the other shoes I was trying on.
Buy a petticoat. If your dress is too long and you don’t have time (or the money) to hem it, find a petticoat that matches the shape of your dress to “kick out” the bottom and raise it up. I am not sure how it happened, but when I got my dress back it was longer than when it was pinned up before alterations. With only 2 weeks to the wedding, I sort of freaked out, when the alterations place said she could “probably” get it done for 2 days before and it would be another $350. We ended up considering a petticoat and when i went to try it on with my dress I felt like it actually enhanced the shape of my dress even more and I loved it! For $100 and to not have to stress for a week and a half, if the alterations would be done and done right, it was a no-brainer!
Finally Met Lewis Mega Blog Post Series – Week 1
Finally Met Lewis : Wedding Photos Part #1
Finally Met Lewis : Wedding Photos Part #2
4 Reasons to Have a Short Engagement
Tools & Resources for Stress-Free Wedding Planning (Free Printable)
Why I Loved Being a 30-Something Bride
Finally Met Lewis Mega Blog Post Series – Week 2