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The Organized Bride: Getting From Engagement to “I Do”

Let there be no mistake: planning a wedding is a time and labor-intensive ordeal. There’s just no other way around it; unless you work as an event planner for a living, this will likely be the biggest event you will ever be in charge of organizing.

Which means that staying organized in the process is pretty crucial, because there is so much that needs to be done in order to plan your dream wedding. And so many balls that could be dropped if you aren’t on top of your game.

The good news is, organization is possible—and it will be your savior in this. Here are my biggest tips:

Start with Your E-mail

So much is done over e-mail these days, and a bulk of your interactions with vendors and venues will happen electronically. So start by establishing a wedding-only e-mail address. That’s right, your day-to-day g-mail account won’t do for this job; you don’t want your wedding emails mixing in with your mom’s end-of-the-world forwards. Create an e-mail that is specifically for wedding planning, and then set up folders within that e-mail address for all the important wedding to-dos: venue, photography, caterers, flowers, music, etc.

 Make a Binder

There is nothing quite so visual as wedding planning, but too many people make the mistake of trying to keep all their inspiration photos on their phone, Pinterest or some other online place. While starting a Pinterest board can help you to get your thoughts focused, there’s a reason physical binders have endured for brides everywhere; it’s because they are so much easier to organize and use as a tool for actually narrowing down what you want. Pinterest can quickly become cluttered with the hundreds upon hundreds of inspiration photos you come across. But in a binder? You can actually narrow down what you want for everything from your hair to flowers and centerpieces. And the binder is easy enough to carry with you to appointments and share with vendors on the spot. Start printing out those online inspirations, lay them all out on the floor, and look for a central theme.  Your style becomes pretty obvious in print.

There’s an App for That

When it comes to the actual planning, you really have two choices—a physical wedding planner (the type of book you hand-write your to-dos in and cross items off as you go) or a wedding planner app (of which there are many). Neither is a wrong choice—it just depends on what you personally prefer. Some people will always be physical planner people, the kind of people who truly enjoy that moment of being able to physically cross something off their list. And others can’t imagine ever hand writing anything out again. The good news is, there are tools available for all of us—it doesn’t matter whether you choose an app or a planner, but you absolutely need to choose one.

Consider Hiring a Planner

Of course, if organization just really isn’t your thing—consider hiring a wedding planner to do the bulk of the work for you. You’ll still get a say in all the major details, of course. This is your wedding after all. But a professional wedding planner has the benefit of already knowing the best venues and vendors that fit your style and budget, and of having planned hundreds of weddings before yours—meaning, they’ve got all the major steps involved memorized and perfected.

Planning a wedding is practically a full-time job, after all. So hiring someone who makes planning your wedding the only job on his or her plate is certainly something worth considering.