You've probably heard me say it 100 times before, but there are SO many details that go into your wedding. So, here's a few of my favorite tips I share with my couples to stay a little more organized.
1. Hire a Wedding Planner
Okay, this one might be the most obvious. But hiring a wedding planner for full planning is going to keep you the most organized throughout the process. A key to a good wedding planner is organization, so you know that they'll already have a system in place. They also are most likely going to handle a lot of your vendor communication, contracts, and detail tracking. Therefor you have a whole lot less to remember, since they'll have that information.
I have an amazing client management system that I use with all of my planning couples. They can see what I'm working on at all times. I keep To Do lists, wedding day notes, vendor and timeline information in the system so it's all in one place. I have access to it anywhere from my phone and so do my clients!
2. Start a Separate Email Account
I love using email to communicate, mostly because then I have all the information to look back at later in the process. A lot of wedding vendors are the same way. So, you're going to get a lot of emails throughout your engagement. So, start an email account you use just for your wedding. And start it right when you get engaged. That way all emails that pertain to your wedding can go through that account. Create folders for each vendor and keep all your emails in the folders, even after you've responded so you can go back and see past information.
3. Create an Online Filing System
Personally I love using the entire Google suite for everything from Gmail to Google Drive to Google Calendar. With Google Drive you can create Google Sheets and Docs to keep notes, budget information and save files. Save all your contracts in your online drive. Put payment reminders, meetings, and important dates on your calendar. And then sync it with your phone, tablet, and share it with your partner.
4. Create a Questions and Follow Up Schedule
You're going to have a lot of questions while you're wedding planning. So, you're going to want to make sure you get those answers and keep those answers organized. Ask each of your vendors when you book them how often you should be in touch with them through the process. Some vendors like to touch base a few times, others like to schedule a final meeting right before the wedding to finalize details.
I suggest creating a document (in Google Drive) to keep track of any questions that you have for each vendor or any changes you need to let them know about from the original time you talked. Try not to send an email with a single question (unless the response is urgent), instead wait until you have a few questions and send them an email. Or, wait to ask all your questions at your final meeting. Then keep track of the dates you received responses. This will cut down on the number of emails you receive and keep your vendor more organized.
Then, finally when you are making the final payment, send them over the final details of your wedding day and any changes you want to confirm. For example, remind them you changed a cake flavor from chocolate to champagne and the date you discussed it. They'll appreciate your organization and it will help keep all details and changes straight.
5. Create a Binder and bring it on your wedding day
Having everything online and organized is great through your process is great. But on your wedding day having everything printed and at an arm's reach is even better. Just think if you're in a location with bad cell service. Print your contracts, timeline, and vendor contact info. That way if you're missing a corsage, you have your contract detailing the numbers and the phone number for your florist at your fingertips.
I do the same thing as a planner. I have everything online and have my phone and ipad to access it, but I print out contract, contact information, details and notes for setup and tear down, and timeline information. Especially if you don't have a wedding planner, you want everything available to you on your wedding day. I had one couple this year that their bar ran out of alcohol and the vendor was claiming that they brought everything the couple ordered. But, because I had a copy of the contract with me, I was able to open it and show them they were incorrect. The couple ended up getting a partial refund and it saved a lot of time and arguments of "he said, she said" (things that should never have to happen on a wedding day anyway).
Hopefully those details help you stay organized. If you're still overwhelmed or you're just not great with organization, consider hiring a wedding planner. If you're in the Omaha, Lincoln or surrounding Nebraska or Iowa areas, let me know! I'd love to help!