Getting organized to save your sanity

Story: Debra Bell

When it comes to planning a wedding, success is in the details — and for working brides, the key is to be organized.

So what happens when a bride is on information overload from blogs, wedding planning, sites, books, magazines, and family and friends?

Take a deep breath and relax.

Then get ready to put a system into place.

Tip one: Hire a wedding planner or day-of coordinator

A flawlessly executed wedding relies on professionals to handle the minutia. As the stars of the show, it’s your responsibility to relax and enjoy, not handle last minute details. You have enough on your plate.

The benefits to hiring a wedding planner or day-of coordinator are paramount. The responsibility of such a professional is to handle the details and make sure things run smoothly. You might think you or your family can handle this on your own, but well-meaning family members often are the ones who suffer or get sidetracked. After all, they’re there to celebrate.

Wedding planners can also prove to be life-saving for working couples. Their role is to help zero in on your vision, work with vendors, handle the minutia of wedding planning, and help you have the best day possible. It doesn’t mean you can’t be hands-on. It just means you have someone in your corner.

Tip two: Put together your team

Making the decision to forgo the wedding planner? Then you’ll need to be prepared to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Start by putting together a team that will be supportive and ready to work. This could be your fabulously talented BFFs, a handy aunt, and a cohort of guys. Decide on what you need to do, develop a timeline of when you need to do it, and develop checklists.

As the months go by and planning starts to become execution, delegate who will do what, when, and where. Be considerate of your team’s time; most of them will likely be working, too.

Tip three: Develop tools that will help keep you organized

Successfully organized brides start a binder, both online and in hard copy.

Online: Resources abound online, including WeddingWire’s online checklists. These checklists allow brides to develop, manage, and delegate wedding to-dos.

On her home computer, a digital bride should establish a folder strictly for the wedding. Scan the copies of all contracts and even receipts to stay organized; convert these scans to PDFs. Consider establishing subfolders to help keep track of the vendors. Do the same thing with email so that you can easily find a conversation.

Excel or spreadsheets are invaluable to couples. Use the spreadsheet to track guests, gifts, and contact information. You’ll likely use your spreadsheet four or more times over the course of planning (invitations, bridal shower, RSVPs, and thank yous). Make sure to provide the spreadsheet to your maid of honor, who will need it to plan a bridal shower.

For visual brides, consider checking out Pinterest. This site can provide valuable ideas and visuals to help with planning. But beware: Pinterest is addictive and can be time consuming.

Hard copy: For hard-copy organization resources, it’s up to your individual style. Three-ring binders with slide-in pockets are perfect for storing copies of contracts and receipts.

You’ll also want to establish a notebook solely for wedding planning and note taking. When going into vendor interviews, have a list of your most pressing and important questions with you.

Keep your hard-copy resources in a central location away from pets and children. Important documents such as contracts should be scanned and saved digitally for added security.

Tip 4: Cull the most important info and develop a plan.

There is a lot of information out there for couples. Take it all with a grain of sand and pull the most important information for your plan. Keep communicating with each other, your vendors, and your family. The more clued in people are, the better your experience will be. That’s why wedding planners are so beneficial for the stress level.

Tip 5: Take breaks from planning.

It’s just as important to take breaks and do fun (non wedding-related) things together. After all, once the party’s over, you’re going to be married! Lessen the feelings of wedding withdrawal by staying in tune with each other.