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How to Plan a Wedding: Getting Organized

Updated on April 14, 2013

Wedding Planning Supplies

Gather Supplies to Plan

You'll need information, notebooks, the internet (ideally), a binder, a printer, and some time. I planned my own wedding on a budget almost 4 years ago now. One of my very good friends, Amelia, just got engaged and I am her self-appointed wedding planner. We'll be doing it together and we have one year to get everything together and ready. I'd say you need at least a year to really plan and save up for a nice wedding. I can't wait to get started!

I brought out all of the things I used to plan my wedding (pictured right): Big pink organizer, small notebook, bridal magazines, wedding planning magazine, swatches, a couple of pocket books: Wedding Planning for Dummies and Wedding Checklists.

Using the information I already had, I started a binder for Amelia. Here's how you can put a wedding binder together...

Have Fun!!

The most important thing to remember about wedding planning: Have Fun!
The most important thing to remember about wedding planning: Have Fun!

Creating a Wedding Planning Binder

To Do This, You'll Need:

* 1 1/2 inch binder
* Printer
* At least 10 page protectors


Create a Page for each different category of planning:

- Wedding Planning Checklists
- Budget
- Ceremony
- Reception
- Photography
- Stationary
- Music
- Bakery
- Decorations
- Miscellaneous
- Memories

Just print a page for each of the preceding words/ phrases. Put each one into a protective page cover and insert into the binder.

To start, add a few sheets of looseleaf paper after each category page. This will help with the initial note-taking.

As you find ideas in magazines or on the internet, you can cut and paste them onto these pages.


Making it a Keepsake

One of the things that I loved about my Wedding Planning Organzier is that it really is a keepsake. It's something that I can look through and get a smile on my face remembering all the details I planned when I was doing my wedding.

It has little folders for brochures, business cards, menus, program ideas, swatches, and whatever else you get and want to keep.

So, I made sure that the binder I got for Amelia can accomodate such things. It has two pockets on the front and two on the back. It also has a clear cover that you can slide paper into (front and back). So I intend to put together a collage of photos of the lovely couple for both sides.

I've also included a Memories category so she can record the stories of how they met, what happened during the proposal, things about each of the families, childhood memories, relationship milestones and other wedding planning memories.

I don't think anyone doing something like that would regret it. It's so nice to have something to look back at to remember how much fun I had planning my wedding. :)

A Place to Record Ideas

Of course, I highly recommend creating a pinterest board to pin any ideas you find on the interent. I have a board for general wedding ideas, but I also add specific pins for Amelia's wedding, and when my sister gets engaged, I'll do the same for her. It's called I Wish I was a Wedding Planner. (Fitting, right??)

If you're planning your own wedding, all your pins can be specific to YOU.

In addition to pinterest, you need something you can carry around you. Get a small notebook that you can keep in your purse. Then, whenever inspiration strikes or you catch a glimpse of something you *must have* for your wedding, jot it down or draw a picture. It can be hap-hazard. This notebook is for quick notes which you can organize later. The small black sparkly notebook I used for my wedding is pictured above.

Be sure to take it with you whenever you go to any wedding-related event: a bridal expo, a dress fitting, party favor shopping, etc, etc.

Wedding Planning Books

There are a number of wedding planning books, and getting your hands on just one will make a big difference. They have lots of great information on traditions, etiquette, and saving money. I browsed the shelves at Barnes and Noble and ended up buying the big pink one (pictured above):

Easy Wedding Planner Organizer and Keepsake by Alex Lluch

I loved mine, but there are a lot of others to choose from as well. :)

Getting Started

The first Wedding Planning Checklist is what to do 9-12 months before the wedding. Believe it or not, there are several things you can get started on even though it is so early in the planning process.

9 - 12 Months Prior to the Wedding

* Arrange a get-together with the families to discuss the wedding plans.
* Work together with anyone contributing to come up witha budget.
* Send out save the dates.
* Design the ceremony site and book it.
* Design the reception site and book it.
* Book the caterer if one is not provided on site.
* Shop around for photographers and book one.
*** If you're in or around Chicago, I highly recommend Jason Monaco!!***
* Begin shopping for your wedding gown. Order it when you find "the one".
* Start shopping for bridesmaids dresses.
* Hire a wedding planner (optional).
* Purchase wedding bands.
* Come up with a preliminary guest list.
* Start thinking about themes and color schemes.

How Much Time Does a Bride Need

How Much Time Does a Bride Need to Plan her Perfect Wedding?

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    • Charlotte Lenard profile image

      Charlotte Lenard 4 years ago from Oak Park, IL

      you should do a series on different styles (Bengali wedding, Irish wedding..)

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile image

      Jamie Jensen 3 years ago from Chicago

      Great idea, Charlotte!

    • profile image

      Janelle 2 years ago

      Where are the other parts to this? It says it's a mini series but can't seem to find the rest.:/

    • profile image

      Violet 2 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips! I just started my binder - so excited!!:)

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile image

      Jamie Jensen 2 years ago from Chicago

      Yay @violet!! Have fun! :)

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