You've had friends to your home for dinner. Maybe you've hosted a Super Bowl party or two. But have you ever planned and coordinated an event for 50-300 guests?
If you haven't, then welcome to the world of wedding planning.
Caterers, florists, and other wedding-related companies will be banging down your door to get your business. Friends and relatives will offer advice, phone numbers, and web sites for you to check out. How will you juggle the multitudes of research and information from those who want your day to be special? The key to smooth and stress-reducing wedding planning is...
Being organized is the art of having the things you need when you need them whether it is a brochure, a phone number, or a picture of your ultimate bridal bouquet. And no one recognizes the need to be organized more than someone who is planning a wedding. A few organizing techniques you can use to help you plan your wedding are the consistent use of a calendar/PDA and making 'to-do lists.' But what about all of those wedding-related papers you've accumulated? Estimates from caterers, song sheets from bands, and all of those pictures you tore out of magazines--how are you supposed to keep them all organized?
The Wedding Binder
The top tool for organized wedding planning is a 'Wedding Binder.' Besides your future spouse, your 'Wedding Binder' will be the closest thing to a best friend you'll have during your engagement period. The wedding binder is essentially a 'home' for all wedding-related information. Each topic will have a specific area in the binder allowing for quick referencing and retrieval.
How should you build your wedding binder to work best for you?
The size of your wedding and how many 'extras' you incorporate into your wedding day (ex. ice sculptures, doves) will determine the size of your binder. If you are having a small, simple gathering or you're not doing much research, you may not need more than a 1" spine. Large gatherings with many 'extras' will probably require a binder with upwards of a 3" spine.
Besides the binder itself, you will need:
three hole punched, two-sided pocket folders
extra wide dividers or self adhesive divider tabs for the pocket folders
three hole punched, zippered pocket for pen/pencils/paper clips (optional)
One, two-sided pocket folder is usually enough room for the paperwork of one vendor. One side of the pocket folder is for ideas and research and the other side is for estimates and contracts. Keeping these different types of information separate will allow you to locate them and retrieve at a moment's notice.
Examples of some categories for your pocket folders are...
Assemble the pocket folders in order of importance to you. If you are constantly making calls to your caterer, place that folder towards the front of the binder. Already know what favors you want to give out? Place that folder towards the back.
What other information can be stored in your wedding binder?
Guest lists/gift lists
E-mail/phone list of bridal party members
A print-out of your registry
Benefits to using a wedding binder
Money-saving benefit: You're always prepared when a vendor wants to talk about price. If someone quotes you a price in writing and you can't produce the paper it's written on, they could try to charge you more money for their services.
Time-saving benefit: Since all of your information has a 'home,' you won't be wasting your time printing duplicate information off the internet or repeatedly asking for the addresses of your guests.
Sanity-saving benefit: All of your wedding information is in one place. No need to take apart your living room looking for what you need.
Tips for keeping an organized wedding binder:
Label the pocket folders clearly
Place new papers/information in the correct pocket of your binder as soon as you receive them.
Sort and purge your binder once a month. Toss any information that is no longer relevant in the trash or in a folder for a friend or relative who may need it in the future.
Always bring your wedding binder with you when meeting with your vendors. You'll have all the information you need to compare prices and make educated decisions. You will be organized, prepared and in control of your special day.
About The Author
Stacey Agin Murray, professional organizer and owner of Organized Artistry, LLC, transforms mess into masterpiece with patience, organizing know-how, and a sense of humor. For a free e-list of 'Top Ten Tips for Organized Living,' or to order your copy of '7 Steps to an Organized Wedding Thank You Note' visit http://www.organizedartistry.com.
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