Getting married is an exciting time for the bride and groom, family and friends. Then the wedding planning starts. You now have to find the perfect dress, the perfect place to have the wedding, make sure everyone you want to be at your wedding is there and then put on a happy face when the people you DON'T want at the wedding show up.
Not to mention the worry and stress money brings into the planning, trust me, there is a reason why people run off to Vegas. Three years ago, I started conducting workshops for brides to help them organize their wedding, now I'm the one organizing my own wedding. Organizing a wedding is completely different than planning a wedding. If you want someone to plan your wedding, I highly recommend hiring a wedding planner if nothing else for the Day Of, but if you are like most brides you want to do it yourself. Why shouldn't you? If you are organizing your wedding, there are 3 different aspects to your wedding that you need to be prepared for:
1. Organizing Your Vendors
2. Organizing the Events
3. Organizing the Legalities Each aspect is equally important, but they also come at different stages of the wedding planning process.
So, let's start at the very beginning! Before getting into the nitty gritty, let's make sure you have the tools you need to organize your wedding.
1. Maid of Honor - She will be able to do a lot of the leg work for you. Think of her as your personal assistant, if you will.
2. Wedding Planner Tool - This one is all up to you and your preference.
I chose to use a 6-prong Classification folder to help me organize my wedding plans.
My sections were broken down by; Calendar pages I printed from Outlook, guest list, vendor contact information, To Do list, contracts, and an envelope that I stored all of my swatches and samples. You can choose any system you feel most comfortable with, just make sure it has a place for everything you need. For me the classification folder helped me organize the entire wedding process, including my vendors. Organizing your vendors is essential in having a successful wedding ceremony and reception.
Pick the wrong vendors and you could end up at a reception with no food, no photographer, or no reception hall. These are all unfortunate occurrences and they do happen, but how do you ensure they do not happen to you? Referrals. Referrals. Referrals. Referrals can save your sanity. If you already know where you are getting your dress, ask the shop owner if she can refer a great photographer or if you know of a friend who recently got married, ask her who she used during her wedding.
Did she like them, was the outcome everything she had hoped for, were they prompt? Ask questions, keep notes, and by all means choose vendors whose personalities compliment yours. You will be bride-zilla, you will be stressed, you will need to be made to feel secure, so pick people who can handle it.
Once you have your vendors narrowed down, place them into your contact management system in your computer. I use Outlook so I have my vendors in my Outlook Contacts, I also included pictures inside the contact card. You have no idea how handy having a picture of my wedding cake was when I met with my florist. Since I chose to use my classification folders, I printed off the hard copy of the vendor contact card so I had it with me at all times.
It will amaze you how often a vendor will ask you for the contact information on another vendor. It is also a very good idea to keep all of your vendor information in one consistent place. Sometimes you won't talk to a vendor again until 2 weeks prior to the wedding. I booked a bagpiper back in June and yesterday was the first time I spoke to him in 7 months, if I hadn't printed off his contact card I don't know that I would have remembered his name to even search for him in my contacts! If you have decided to organize and plan the wedding yourself, be sure and contact all of your vendors a month prior to the wedding to review arrival times, logistics, timing of events and any other special considerations they may need to know.
Follow up with them a week prior to the wedding to make sure everything is set for the day of and be sure and get the cell phone numbers of those vendors coming to the wedding. Just in case someone is late or you had a last minute thought, you will be able to get a hold of them without worrying. Which brings us to most important thing to remember on the day of your wedding, bring all of your vendor information with you. No matter who needs to call whom, you will have all of the details.