When I first got engaged a year to plan a wedding seemed like enough time. Here we are SIX months away from our wedding…and the panic is starting to set in.
This is what I have done so far –
- We chose our colors -hot pink and lime green…my two favorites.
- Booked the venue – it is exactly what we wanted. It is on the boardwalk. It is affordable and the food is amazing. We knew right when we walked in that it was the place for our wedding.
I can’t even imagine planning a wedding before the internet existed. First of all, there are an infinite number of places to get inspiration for your big day. Second of all, and most importantly to me, the internet is a great way to stay organized for your wedding. How did brides keep up with everything before the tools that are available today?
In case you missed it, make sure you catch Tulip Bud’s post on staying organized for your wedding. She shares some great tools that she uses, and I’d like to share some of my own. Specifically, the tools I use are great for collaboration: it’s so hard to keep things straight between your maid of honor, your new mother in law, your officiant, your wedding director; how do you keep it all straight?
As Tulip mentioned, Wedding Wire has some great planning tools. One of the things I love about Wedding Wire is that you can create multiple log ins for the same wedding. This means your fiancé, mother in law and maid of honor can all have a login to share guest lists and RSVP counts.
Wedding Wire features several great tools, such as a seating planner:
Wedding Wire Seating Chart Planner
My friends think I’m crazy when it comes to organizing some things. But it’s a trait I don’t think I will ever try to change. So as expected, I try to organize my wedding planning as much as I can. Here’s a glimpse of how I organize my planning:
- MS Excel file
– printed and filed in a binder
My first post to you (our readers) was about how to get started on your wedding plans by creating an inspirational poster board or journal. Today, I am writing about the next step and that is starting a checklist. This is an extremely important tool to follow because it will keep you right on track with all of your tasks, as well as, address details in a timely fashion.
Mindy Weiss Wedding Planner
Since I can be a little too detailed oriented, my fear was to not have a complete and accurate agenda. What did I do? I purchased three wedding planners and printed the online checklist from The Knot and from The Wedding Channel. Then, I compiled all of the data into a word document and now have a personalized list that totals 8 pages. Fantastic!
When you first look at the list, it can be daunting, but I feel at ease to know that I have all of the information that I need to work on ahead of time. Now, I am able to establish a schedule where I can interview vendors, do background checks, sleep on my potential decision and then make my final choice. By having all of the tasks enumerated chronologically, it will allow you and your groom to stay organized. If you have a wedding planner and rely on him or her 110%, that’s fabulous. However, it’s nice to be in the loop of the details too!
In addition to the online checklists, I used the following resources to create my own personal checklist:
Whew! I’m tired! I have just arrived home from a weekend of wedding planning, and I have to say that I feel much better now. I think we have a solid understanding of what is happening for the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding morning, ceremony and reception. I might be even close to having a timeline!
First big thing we did was meet with our day-of coordinator. I know for some people, this is an unnecessary expense, but my parents felt strongly enough that they added it to the list of must-have’s. My stepmom would worry and panic the whole morning, and I really just want her to relax and enjoy the wedding. So, we have hired Kate from Savvy Brides, based in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Savvy is a unique place, they have everything from wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, tuxes, invites, and wedding planning. I was impressed by the thorough preparation that goes into one day-of coordinator. The questionnaire is quite extensive and helps plan the timeline and responsibilities of the coordinator.
We also had our first meeting with a baker for our wedding cake this weekend. Unfortunately, that did not go as well as the meeting with the caterer. We chose to meet with this particular baker first because she is recommended by our wedding venue. And if we choose her, the cost of the cake can be bundled into the money we pay the venue. It wouldn’t necessarily be cheaper, but it would certainly be a bit more convenient.
However, she seemed a little disorganized from the beginning. It took several attempts at contacting her before she responded to me. Also, 2 days before our scheduled appointment she called to let me know that she had accidentally double booked and needed to move my appointment time! She was having some temporary problems that led to her office not being available for a meeting, so she asked us to meet at a Panera, which was a little strange, and resulted in our only being able to taste three basic flavors of cake. Her website boasts many additional flavors, so I’m not sure how we were supposed to be able to make the choice based on that. Lastly, she was late to our rescheduled meeting and she brought her daughter and husband with her, which led to divided attention on her part.
This is hard to imagine but four months from right now Periwinkle Dude and I will be – gulp – married. ONLY FOUR MONTHS EXACTLY! Where has the time gone???? Can I call a time-out please?!
Seriously though, there is so little time left and still soooooooooooooo much to do!!!! Let’s see, according to the wedding planning checklist I am looking at now we have to accomplish the following items super quickly:
I love the show “Whose Wedding is This Anyway?” and one of the planners on it suggested making a wedding collage to represent your wedding. You could include stationary, magazine clippings, pictures, swatches–anything really to help a planner or anyone else understand the vision of your wedding.
I thought this was a great idea, but it was a little restricting to make a collage because you couldn’t easily bring it with you unless you had a folder (which is a great way to stay organized for a wedding!). I decided to make this idea more portable… so I created a cheat sheet!
I have accumulated about 25 bridal magazines (and they keep on coming). And most of them aren’t thin ones – they are 300-400 page, heavy, ad-filled monsters. Don’t get me wrong, I love leafing through them. And a year ago, when we first got engaged, I dog-eared a lot of pages, thinking about the type of dress I wanted, the types of flower arrangements I liked, etc.
Photo from mattandaudrey.com
One of the first questions we asked ourselves when we got engaged was how much we are going to spend for the wedding. I thought setting up a budget was quick and easy. It actually turned out to be a long process that requires a lot of research for both of us who knew so little about weddings.
Photo from Ashleysbrideguide.com
There are many elements in a wedding. Setting up a budget not only requires coming up with a single number, but several numbers for each element. How much of your total budget will go to food and beverage, flowers and decor, photography, entertainment, etc?
There are lot of wedding budget tools on and offline that can help. But there’s one important feature missing on most of these budget tools. They don’t factor in your priorities. I learned that setting your priorities is very important in coming up with a budget breakdown. While most tools recommend allotting around 30% to 50% of the total budget to reception, our reception (including venue fee) turned out to be almost 75% of our total budget. Crazy, isn’t it? Well, to us, good food and a beautiful venue that requires minimal decor (one way to save) top our priority list.
Here is a copy of my Budget Breakdown, and these are the steps I followed to create it: