As you all know, I’m planning our wedding on my own and I have found the process to be far less intimidating and time-consuming than a lot of people (and the internet) would have you believe. A big part of staying on top of this process has been a document where I keep every detail, every payment, every to-do.
STAYING ORGANIZED WHILE WEDDING PLANNING
The key to planning your own wedding is staying organized. Some people opt for the old fashioned approach with a wedding planner binder filled with documents, photos, and contracts, and I definitely love the idea of toting around a binder filled with inspiration tear sheets and notes to wedding planning meetings. Others choose to organize electronically, bouncing between an inspiration-filled Pinterest board and digital copies of all important documents.
And, while I’m typically a paper planner kind of girl, wedding planning was something I chose to organize electronically. For me, it made more sense to keep all my budget information, contract copies, vendor contact information, and remaining to-do’s in a Google Sheets doc that I could reference on the go, whether I was in DC or Charlottesville or wherever.
CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING DOC
The best way for us to stay organized was to create a comprehensive planning doc in Google Sheets that could be accessed anywhere and edited in real time by both of us. Of course this document will be different for everyone because everyone’s wedding is different, but I broke this down into the categories that made the most sense for us, and the information I would need to regularly reference. Then, I included line items for any relevant information that we would need throughout the planning process. To make it easy for you, these are the tabs we included.
- Total Budget: This is perhaps the most important tab because this is where every item and its cost is accounted for. I often refer to this to make sure we are’t missing any major details as we go through the planning process. Items have been added, items have been combined, and items have been deleted as we’ve gone through, but you’ll find a good breakdown of what you might consider including in my Wedding Planning 101: Budget post.
- Timeline: I extended my timeline section to include our entire wedding weekend so that I could see the whole picture of when people get into town, where we need to make dinner reservations, and when there might be time to do things like get my nails done.
- Vendors: The vendors section allows me to easily reference who is in charge of what, who I need to contact, and includes the following items.
- Point of Contact Name
- Relevant links (portfolio, website, etc.)
- Payments: Beyond the total budget section, this keeps us in line for what’s gone out and what still needs to go out. This section includes the following items.
- Contract (if there’s an online contract link, which typically there is)
- Items and Services Included
- Paid (Y/N)
- Paid (Y/N)
- To-Do’s Remaining: This tab seems to grow every day, but this is where I throw in every item that is still outstanding, no matter how small or large. You can split this out similarly to how I split out the budget tab shown below.
- Guest Addresses: An obvious section to include!
- Details: In the details section, I include references to details that I need to remember day of. This includes things like where to set the guest book, the signs that will go on the back of our chairs, etc. Just those little details that could otherwise slip under the radar.
KEEP IT DETAILED, KEEP IT UPDATED
The biggest keys to successfully using a wedding planning doc? Keep it detailed and keep it updated. I enter everything into this spreadsheet. Yes, you’d think I could remember that we need to get a marriage license or buy pens for the guestbook, but it’s all going in there. Not only do you get the satisfaction of checking items off your list, but you’ll make sure that nothing comes up that week that seemed like an obvious to-do, but that slipped your mind with everything else going on.
Particularly in our case, where we’ll be out of town for 5 days the week before the wedding due to Thanksgiving, I want to make sure that every t is crossed and i is dotted – and I want everything easily accessible on the road so that if and when something does come up, I can easily refer to it.
Also, I add in every budget expense that comes up, no matter how trivial it may seem. If I have to buy 10 more stamps for invitations, then I’m putting it in there. The flower budget goes up by $50? Adding it in. Rentals go down a bit when we change up the table linens? It’s in there. Every cent and change is accounted for within this spreadsheet.
SO, WHAT DO WE HAVE LEFT TO DO?
At this point, there are lots of tiny details that need to get done before the big day, with the big one being nailing down our program. We have a few quick DIY’s (we know I tried to avoid DIY’s as much as possible!) and a few things left to order, but I’m feeling pretty good about where we are a month out! Though, ask me again in 2 weeks and we’ll see where I am…
Photos by Lauren Louise Photography