If you are reading this post then most likely you're newly engaged and I just want to say CONGRATULATIONS!!! I know you're super excited to get started with the planning process but before we begin, let's take some time to get organized. As a wedding planner, there is no secret that this is one of my specialties and I can't wait to get you on board. Now, I know that in today's world, it's so easy to download an app to keep track of your "To Do Lists" and receive automatic alerts for important deadlines, but when it comes to weddings, I like to do things a little "old school". Since we can't always rely on technology and fast WiFi at the local coffee shop, a wedding planning binder is the perfect tool to keep everything in one place and easily accessible. I'm happy to share some tips on how to achieve this so if you'd like to learn how to make a DIY Wedding Planning Binder, just keep reading!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- 2.5" Binder
- 2pks - Dividers (Pocket folders are optional)
- Post-It Tabs or Sticky Notes
- Sheet Protectors
- Card Holder Sheets
- Notebook Paper
- Colorful "Thin" Sharpies
- Pencil Holder
- Clear Zip Pouch
HOW IT WORKS
Once you've got a super cute binder, use the dividers to separate the sections in BOLD and the Post-It tabs or sticky notes to create sub-categories. Feel free to use your creativity to add or rearrange the sections to your liking as this is simply a guide I've put together for you.
SECTIONS TO INCLUDE
This section is first for a reason, and that's because it'll be your "go-to" throughout the entire planning process. Here you will keep a copy of the contract between you and your wedding planner/coordinator along with their package details. Then you will print free calendar sheets for each month leading up to your wedding day to keep track of important dates, vendor meetings and payment deadlines. This is where you will keep your 12 month timeline and most updated budget spreadsheet. It may also be a good idea to keep contact information for your wedding party and vendors as a quick reference instead of going through each tab.
2. GUESTS & INVITATIONS
Next, you'll use this section for everything dealing with your AMAZING guests. Here you will keep your guest list along with their address and phone number and remember to create a guest list for your bridal shower and bachelorette party as well. Add a copy of your seating chart and information about hotel accommodations for those traveling from out of town. If you choose to do welcome bags, keep a list of treats you'd like to include and where to purchase these items. When it comes to invitations and paper items, this is the perfect place to keep a sample of your save-the-dates, wedding invitations and any other stationary such as dinner menus, escort cards and ceremony programs.
3. VENUE & CATERING
Use this section to keep a copy of your venue contract and venue coordinator's information. Whether the catering is in-house or not, make sure to add a copy of that contract along with the menu you've chosen to serve at your wedding. Add some photos of cakes or desserts you'd like to use as inspiration for when you meet with your baker and once you've booked, add a copy of that contract as well. This would also be a great place to keep your rehearsal information. Whether or not you plan to host your rehearsal brunch or dinner at a different venue, add a copy of that contract and the menu you plan to serve for your guests.
4. PHOTO, VIDEO & ENTERTAINMENT
In this section, you will keep contracts for your photographer, videographer, DJ/band and photo booth along with interview questions, song lists and must-shoot lists. You may also print out a few inspirational photos to show your photographer what style you are looking to achieve and any other photo props you plan to use.
5. COLOR INSPIRATION & DECOR
This is probably the most fun of all! Here you will keep color swatches and inspirational photos for your wedding theme (most likely from Pinterest lol). Bring some of those photos to your florist meeting and once you've booked, add a copy of your contract with an itemized list of each floral arrangement, bouquet, boutonniere, centerpiece and corsage you've selected and if you plan to rent any items, add that contract along with an itemized list of each item you've selected.
Use this section to keep track of your ceremony details. Include your venue contract (if different from the reception venue) and a signed agreement between you and your officiant. Add a copy of your ceremony program, vows and information around pre-marital counseling if offered by your officiant.
7. BRIDE & BRIDESMAIDS
Now for one of my favorite sections ... Here you will keep information about your bridal gown and any accessories you plan to purchase such as shoes, veil, jewelry, garter, etc. As far as bridesmaids dresses, whether you place the bulk order or not, keep this information on hand along with any other gifts you may be purchasing for your bridesmaids, mothers and flower girl(s). In this section you will also keep your contracts for hair and makeup stylists along with any inspirational photos of what you'd like for yourself, bridesmaids and other attendants.
8. GROOM & GROOMSMEN
For the fellas, it's pretty simple. In this section you will keep track of formalwear & accessories for the groom, groomsmen and any other attendants such as fathers, ushers, and ring bearer. You may also want to keep some gift ideas for all the gentleman participating in your wedding.
Ahh, the honeymoon ... just the thought of this makes me smile! Use this section to store your hotel accommodations, travel information and any excursions you may be going on. If you are traveling outside the US, make sure to include a copy of your passport application and any other safety and cultural information pertaining to that country.
So here you can add anything you'd like that doesn't have a designated tab. This is where you can add a list of your must-have registry items, information for wedding day transportation and party favor ideas.
11. NOTES & RESOURCES
Keep some notebook paper in this section to use for notetaking during your vendor meetings which you can then place into their corresponding tab afterwards. This is also a great place to keep business cards for your vendors and those you may be interested in along the way.
12. RECEIPTS & MORE
This is where the clear zip pouch comes in handy. Use this section to collect all receipts for items purchased and payments made or color swatches and any other sample items you've collected.
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