Get Organized and Plan a Wedding

1. Get Organized

This is the hardest and most important step for seamless wedding planning.

Set up a system to keep track all the details. A binder with tabs is an excellent way to organize your planning material.  Divide the binder into tabs for each major element of wedding.

  • Tab 1   Budget
  • Tab 2   Contacts and Vendors
  • Tab 3   Timeline
    • Detailed breakdown of what happens, when it happens, where it happens, and who needs to be there for both rehearsal day and wedding day.
    • Anyone involved in the wedding planning process – vendors, minister, wedding party, family, hotels, etc.  Make sure you have cell number, email and address for everyone involved.
  • Tab 4   Checklist
    • Detail planning checklist of everything that needs to be done in preparation or your wedding including a checklist for day of.  Assign anything you can!
  • Tab 5  Photographer Information
    • Package Purchased
    • Detailed Shot List
    • All names of family members and bridal party that you want photographed
    • Make sure your planner has a copy of names of those being photographed
  • Tab 6 Ceremony
    • Venue information
    • Schematics and Floor Plans
    • Seating Charts
    • Copy of your ceremony text
    • List of your processional/recessional order
    • Your marriage license, ready to be signed!
    • Anything else related to your ceremony
  • Tab 7 Reception
    • Venue information
    • Schematics and Floor Plans
    • Setup Instructions and Diagrams
    • Seating Charts and Instructions on How To Implement
    • Menu/Beverage List
    • DJ Contact as Well As DJ Planning Packet
      • All Special Songs Listed w/ Artist
    • List of who is giving toasts & list of people you want to remember to thank!
    • Anything else related to your reception
  • Tab 8   Guests
    • Guest list and all revisions
    • Gifts received & thank you notes sent
  • Tab 9   Décor/Floral
    • Contact Information for Designer
    • Detail Breakdown of  Floral Ordered
    • Detailed Instructions of Setup and Pictures if Possible
  • Tab 10   Vendor Contracts
    • All of them. Always have it in writing!!!

2. Make Backup Plans

Ok, now that you’ve got everything in one place, there are probably some things for which you should have backup plans. Examples are – outdoor events, which should have an indoor location secured in case of inclement weather, flower girls/ring bearers who may be suddenly shy and unwilling to walk the aisle in front of all those people and your iPod playlist which should be copied onto someone else’s iPod too!

3. Find the Missing Details

Read wedding grad posts, consult online checklists or friends who’ve gotten married, ask a planner – whatever. There is probably something you forgot, reserved signs for your family’s seats, someone to press play on the iPod, toasting glasses your grandmother sent you a month ago and if you take a little time now to check your list twice, you’ll figure it out before the big day arrives and thus avoid panic.

4. Make sure you have a planner or day of executer

On your wedding day, you do not want to be setting up chairs and centerpieces before you run back to the hotel to get ready, wearing a watch to keep things happening on time, or talking to the catering manager every twenty minutes about what food to bring out and which tables go where.

5. Practice

I know everyone’s schedules are crazy and it’s hard to get people in the same place at the same time, but even if it’s fifteen minutes the morning of the wedding, try to schedule at least a quick walk through of your ceremony.

6. Relax

Hand over your binder, your watch, and your cell phone to your planner and simply relax!   Soak up all the moments in the first day of the rest of your awesome married life.

Wedding Budgets

Congratulations on your engagement! Now your biggest question, “What is my wedding budget? How much does a wedding actually cost?” Let’s consider a budget planning process and maximize your family dollar. The chart below, The True Cost of a Wedding Knot, (<a href=”“>Source</a>) provides the national average costs of a wedding. There are ways to have your day without killing your wallet. Let’s get started!

<a href=”“>Source</a>

As ideas flurry, let’s ask yourself a few questions…….

1. What should my budget be—realistically?
2. How do I establish a realistic wedding budget to meet my needs?
3. Priorities—what are the most important elements of vision?

As you think about these three things, make a list of everything you need for your day based on your current vision.  For example, dress, venue, ceremony site, food, flowers, cake, entertainment, etc.  As you list all of these categories, put a dollar amount based on what you can afford and then take that list and compare it to the national average for each category.  How does what you can afford compare to what an average bride spends based on all of her research.  This will tell you a lot.  It will tell you if you if you need to tweak your vision or if you can expound on it and make it bigger.  This first exercise is crucial as you establish a budget and start planning and shopping!  Being an informed shopper always translates into more value!!

As you shop, you always want to know what questions to ask.  For example when shopping a venue, you want to ask up front what is included in the shell of a venue.  What rentals will you need to add?  Rentals add up quick!  Ask if the venue includes service staff?  Staffing is another cost not often considered in a budget process.

When shopping for floral and décor, a good question to ask is if the company is a flower shop or an event design company?  For example, do they supply more than just flowers?  Do they have access to and experience in designing an overall “look” including the décor aside from just fresh floral arrangements.  A mom and pop flower shop isn’t always capable of overall event design.

When shopping for a baker, always request a tasting and talk to previous clients and not always a client from three months ago.  You want to establish that the baker has a long list of very happy brides.

These same principals apply to every category of planning a wedding.  At the end of the day, you want to ensure your day is in the hands of very skilled professionals that will take the stress out of planning a wedding so that you and your family can enjoy the process and look back on this time as enjoyable and pleasant.  Doing homework on the front end is never a bad idea!