Now that we are only a few weeks out, my one word of advice to newly engaged DIY wedding planning couples: ORGANIZATION!
Danny and I got engaged on May 22, 2016 and we couldn't have been happier. I mean, we've been attached at the hip since 2011. Getting engaged is exciting. It's a party. It's an important life chapter. It's cloud nine. Then, there's the wedding planning.
The first thing we did was to sit down and write out lists of our must-haves. We both knew from the get-go that we wanted to make it very personal, to really describe us as a couple, and to steer from the typical cookie-cutter-foo-foo type of wedding (I highly recommend this step because it will help narrow down location, venue, and vendors tremendously).
As a kid, I always envisioned some large wedding, but as I got older, I realized that I'm not much for crowds, especially when the attention is on me. Luckily, Danny felt the same, and we decided to have a small wedding. "Great, this will make it easy!" I thought. Yeah... not really.
My fiancé happens to come from a v large family, and mine is quite small by comparison. So, we compromised and decided to plan a small, intimate, destination wedding, and then a larger family party after. One thing we didn't fully realize at the time was that we had just signed up to plan two weddings. Two florists, two caterers, two everything. WTF.
We instantly became overwhelmed. Full-on wedding coordinators are very expensive and were out of the question, so we took the planning into our own hands.
It was crucial to stay organized from day one. It's really easy to lose track of all the moving parts that make up a DIY wedding, so we knew we needed to rely on all of the tools a resources we could get our hands on.
First, I went to Target and picked up this cute accordion file which had plenty of tabs to hold all of our contracts and vendor info. It seemed practical at the time, but as it began to fill up and things become more detailed, the file became more difficult to work with. The novelty wore off and I realized I needed to re-evaluate. Plan B: a binder.
I picked up a good ol' white Avery binder, some white tabs, and got to work. Since our wedding is mostly DIY, I thought it would be cute to use the transparency film from one of our invite designs (more to come on that later!) to insert into the view pockets. This made it personal without being too wedding-y. I then divided the binder into two parts: "Ceremony" and "Party", and then organized each corresponding vendor's contracts, menus, copies of payment, floor plans, and emails. Ah, instant wedding organization!
The binder was a winner! Just make sure to have a 3-hole punch ready, because the need for binder holes may be the only downside to this solution over an accordion binder, which does make page drop-ins quicker.
Lastly, if you're like Danny and I, you believe that paper documents are out (hey, it's 2017!) and are super into sharing Google Docs! This is another great tool for organizing the constantly changing things like to-do lists, guest lists and RSVPs, and is literally accessible anywhere at anytime. I also recommend having a shared Google Calendar for assigning deadlines and wedding related appointments (time will fly!) There are also apps that can help you stay on track, such as Wonderlist or Evernote, where you can share running to-do lists if spreadsheets aren't your thing.
Organization takes time in the beginning. But it will save you a ton of headaches as you get closer to the end of your planning, when details are becoming crucial.
Happy Planning!! xo