Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Wedding Binder

Among the many reasons why I am like Monica from Friends, this one I'd like to share with you today...

...the Wedding Binder (capitalized for importance)!

I know that many (maybe even most) women who are planning a wedding put together a binder to help keep track of what/who/when/where/and how many, but when I first started this thing I was clueless!  I knew I needed to keep track of things, but I didn't really know yet which things were the most important.  Throughout all of my research on the internet and magazines, any time I saw something I liked, it went straight in the binder.  I had categories set up, but I learned pretty quickly that what I at first thought was important (hair) really needed to step aside for other things (budget).  Now that I know better, I've narrowed down my binder to the following important categories:

1. Location (...location, location! <-- this is what happens to your brain after you buy a house)  This means the ceremony location and the reception location (even if you think at first that they are going to be held in the same place).  This section started off as a bunch of printouts from websites of venues that I had researched and liked and potentially wanted to visit.  I ordered them front to back, with the ones I liked the best in the front.  Then I made some appointments, we made some visits, and we pulled out the ones that we didn't like any more.  Now that we have decided on a venue for the ceremony and the reception, those places are the only two that I left in this section of the binder.  This section contains basic web printouts, notes we took on visits, drafts of our contracts, our actual contracts, and receipts for payment deposits.  In the beginning I thought that I would want to keep even the information from places we didn't like, sort of like a souvenir of my research process, but I have recently come to realize that the only place of importance is our actual venue, and that's all I want to remember.  (Copperfield)

2. Photographer  In this section I am keeping contracts, paperwork, and ideas for photos that I like, as well as payment receipts.  I also keep a few notes that our photographer wrote to us, because I love her so much and it makes me feel good to read them again!  Just like the location section, this section started off with basic information about photographers I liked from the internet, and then it got smaller and smaller as we had interviews and chose our perfect match.  (Tiffany Wayne)

3. Officiant  I don't expect this section to be very large, but here is where I am keeping basic papers from our officiant, our contract, and copies of our receipts.  I think that I will also use this section for the creation of our ceremony, since the officiant is the one who will be running it for us.  We have borrowed a book from her about planning the ceremony, and I intend to photocopy specific pages and put those worksheets here.  (Mimi Phillips)  

4. Music & DJ In this section of my binder I can find anything that has to do with music. Our contract with the DJ, payment receipts (notice a trend here - keep track of your money!), and songs that we want to play. Our DJ also sent us a form where we can write down any traditional dances that we would like to include. Since our reception is going to include camping games, and I will need the DJ's help with this, those materials will kept in this section as we create them.

5. Guests  Pretty straightforward.  This is where we are keeping our guest list.  As it gets closer, I will include spreadsheets with addresses, accommodations (for people who are staying at the inn), and RSVP's to invitations with meal choices.  (this image is censored to protect the innocent)

6. Plan  Everyone needs a plan!  I am currently using one I found online, but they are all over the place on the internet and in wedding magazines.  They are all pretty much the same (which is comforting) and I have been using mine like a checklist.  I wrote down the month at the top of each section, and then I have a post it on my computer desktop with everything from the checklist that needs to be done that month.  (wedding channel)

7. Budget  Although this is one of the first things that a couple should create together, it is located at the back of my binder.  I'd like to say that there is some highly intelligent reason why it's in the back, but there isn't.  I just don't want to think about money (and how much this is all going to cost), so after we created the budget I just stuck it in the back.  Once you figure it all out, you can pretty much remember how much you have to spend on the important aspects of the wedding. 

8. Other  This is where everything else goes (for now)!  Here I can find inspirations for decorations, hairstyles, invitations, pretty much everything else that doesn't fit into the other categories.  This is by far the most colorful section of my binder, and one of the most fun, since I pulled most of the pages from magazines.

Although this is the best way for me to organize my Wedding Binder, I do not know if it is the best way for everyone.  What I do know, is that I have found this binder to be extremely helpful in my planning process.  Weddings are overwhelming and there have been times when I felt as though I was lost and didn't know what I was supposed to be doing, but having this binder (and especially the planning checklist) brought me right back to reality and allowed me to focus on just one task at a time.  I recommend that every couple who are planning a wedding have at least some sort of organizational system to keep track of things, something that even the most unorganized person could feel comfortable with.  Find what works for you!

If you don't feel like creating your own binder, there are tons of great ones available to buy that are already organized and ready for you to use!

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