Friday, December 7, 2012

A Feminist Wedding: Putting Together Your Wedding Planning Binder

This week, I thought I'd get into the nitty gritty of actually planning a wedding. Unfortunately, planning a wedding it isn't all just about pinning a million photos of dahlias and juliette garden roses to your pinterest board. At some point, you have to start choosing vendors, signing contracts, keeping track of guest lists and flight information, figuring out where to put the tables, etc.

If you don't hire a wedding planner to do all of these things for you, you need to be organized. Like, really organized. You don't want to run around on your wedding day trying to find the phone number for your florist in a big stack of papers on your desk. Or worse, have the flowers never even show up because you lost your contract and didn't know when the final payment was due.

I didn't like the idea of buying a pre-made wedding planning notebook. After looking through a couple, I either didn't like the way they looked and felt in my hands or I didn't like the information they had in them and the way there were formatted. So I decided to build one from scratch using lots of lists and spreadsheets and Martha Stewart office products (the BEST). Here is how I did it!

I bought a blue 1" Martha Stewart binder from Staples and two sets of blue Martha Stewart paper dividers. I had a really difficult time deciding how to organize my binder and label my dividers. In the end, I did it this way:

  • Important
  • Ceremony
  • Reception
  • Photography
  • Flowers
  • Decor (rental info, receipts, spreadsheets listing what goes where, etc.)
  • Attire
  • Paper
  • Rehearsal
  • Honeymoon

These categories have worked really well for me, although I'm thinking about switching the honeymoon tab to be a "guest" tab (and using it to keep track of my guest list, flight info, etc.) and making a separate honeymoon binder.

Within each category, I have different subcategories. To make these dividers, I bought a big stack of cardstock, hold punched it, and added cute little tabs to label the subcategory. Subcategories include my checklist, vendor contracts, food, cake, seating, music. etc.

In addition to dividers, I also keep a little thing of stickies and additional tabs in the front of the binder and a big zipper pouch. To be honest, when I first got the zipper pouch I wasn't sure how useful it would be. But it is the best! I used Printable Press' color chart to help pick my own colors and printed and cut out the colors that are part of our palette. I also went to Home Depot and picked out paint chips in the colors that I like. I keep them in the little zipper pouch, along with business cards, a sweet thank you note from the owner of the store where I bought my dress and veil, and a few other misc. things.

As far as worksheets, spreadsheets, and other lists, I've used a combination of things from google doc's wedding templates, A Practical Wedding, Russell + Hazel, and Martha Stewart. I love Martha's wedding planning timeline/checklist, and while I know you don't really have to get anything done by any certain date, the way she breaks it down helps me set deadlines and focus on smaller groups of things at a time. This helps me avoid any nervous breakdowns or panic attacks, which is always a good thing. :-)


  1. Well Done!!! I LOVE it! A well planned/organized event certainly helps reduce the anxiety!

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  3. Beneficial details as well as outstanding layout you have right here! I would really like to appreciate discussing your ideas as well as period to the items you publish!! Many Thanks

  4. The experience was awesome. My cousin picked this dress for her bridesmaids and I love it. It's a snug fit but it doesn't make me feel squeezed or anything like that.

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