Some people are natural born planners, while others...well... not so much. Whatever your talent or experience, when you are trying to pull together a wedding, there will be many details which you will need to stay on top of. Don't hesitate to get help in the form of an experienced coordinator if you can, but at the very least, follow these tips on getting organized for your wedding so that nothing falls through the cracks.
A great wedding planning book is a must for any bride. The timeline guide is one of the most important keys to keeping on track. If you have never planned a wedding before, you may have no idea that you need to order your bridal gown at least six months in advance or that the most popular reception venues often book one to two years in advance. The other really useful thing about a wedding planning book is when the timelines and chapters break the planning process down into more manageable bites. Brides who have a hard time wrapping their heads around big projects will find it much less overwhelming once they realize that during each month they only have to accomplish several specific tasks. Of course, if you are the type who likes to get things done early, by all means take care of anything you can in advance, such as picking out your bridesmaid gifts, assembling your wedding emergency kit, or ordering favors and your wedding jewelry. After all, anything you do early is one less thing to deal with during crunch time. Be absolutely sure not to let these tasks (even if they are more fun) take time that must be allotted to more mandatory and time sensitive tasks which need to be done earlier.
Checklists are another key organizational tool that every bride needs. It can be so easy to overlook details when your to-do list is about a mile long. A good planning book such as THE ONE Complete Wedding Planner will have checklists for you to fill in once you have finished a task. Bridesmaid gifts selected - check, honeymoon booked - check, programs ordered - check. You can also keep your checklists organized by setting up a computer program with monthly, weekly, possibly even daily lists. Some of the items on your list will be big picture items "hire a caterer", while others will be more of the little details "remind fiancé to buy dress socks". Brides registered with TheOneWedding.com can request monthly emails with common tasks and associated tips that will keep them on task and prevent missing letting anything important slide by until it's too late.
It is also very important to keep all of your wedding materials organized and at your fingertips. If you a bride who enjoys sorting and organizing, you will find that a three ring binder with pockets can be a big help in your wedding planning. Customize it in a way that makes sense to you. Use it to hold swatches of the bridesmaid dress fabrics, tablecloth color chips, and photos of your flower ideas and your wedding gown as well as the all important contracts and vendor brochures. Be sure to put your name and phone number in the front so it can be returned to you if you forget it somewhere.
Brides who like technology might prefer to handle much of their wedding planning details digitally. It is a very accurate way to keep track of things like the R.S.V.P.s (which can be tracked on your "Wedsite"), due dates for vendor payments, and items which have been ordered along with their delivery dates. Some brides go as paper-free as possible, even going so far as to scan or photograph cards from vendors, copies of contracts, and pictures of dresses from magazines into their wedding database. (Be sure to keep original contracts - photos won't e acceptable in the unlikely event of litigation.) If you are keeping your gown a secret, be sure not to have any photos of your wedding gown in a device where your fiancé will stumble across them!
Your theme and decor ideas can be developed on your Pinterest, (visit ours for inspiration) but once you decide on a theme, be sure to set up a new board for the final ideas to keep your theme, or the vendors you show your pins to, from being confused or misinterpreted.
If you are the sort of person who cringes at the thought of binders and spreadsheets, you will still need a way to keep your wedding plans organized. You might be more comfortable having a box at home where you store things like contracts and swatches, to be pulled out only if you truly need them. Keep your to-do list organized by entering it in an old-fashioned date book - but by all means get this list from a reliable source or invest in a comprehensive wedding planning book. A fun project would be to take your favorite pictures to create a wedding inspiration board. You can make a very cute board by covering a regular cork bulletin board with fabric and crisscrossing ribbons across it diagonally to make a grid then slip your favorite images of dresses, cakes, flowers, and so on under the ribbons. Having the inspiration for your dream wedding in front of you is a great way to stay motivated to keep on top of the seemingly endless to-do lists and end up with a wedding that truly reflets your personality!