As some of you may know, I’ve been engaged for just over a year now, and the big day is only about five months away! Since I have time off of school, I have re-started my wedding planning with a gusto – so much to do, so little time!
I was clicking around various websites, reminding myself what all needs to be done in the next few months (short story: a lot!) and stumbled across the blog Just Lovely, where one of the posts details how to make yourself a wonderful binder organizer. I already had a binder on the go, but it did need a little sprucing up and organizing for quicker reference, plus the post had some great resources in it. It inspired me to do my own post detailing all of the resources I’ve pulled together and adapted for my own wedding, plus take a little stroll through my beautiful binder.
So here you go, how to create a wedding planning binder in four easy steps!
Step 1: Get yourself a super cute binder.
If you’ve already picked out your wedding colours and/or theme, you’ll probably want something that matches. Classic white is always an option, or just anything that suits your personality and style. I found this super cute butterfly binder that has the purples of my wedding and the pretty flowers that I want everywhere on the big day.
You’ll probably want something fairly thick – for me, a skinny binder is almost never useful. Mine is 1.5” and I couldn’t imagine it any smaller!
Now, the one thing that really bugs me (though I sucked it up because it was just too cute!) is that the rings are attached to the spine of the binder. In general, I much prefer when the rings are attached to the back cover. When you have the rings on the spine, sometimes the papers at the very back get a little squished and bent out of shape. When the rings are attached to the back cover, however, they’re not getting slid around every time you open and close the binder.
Step 2: Get dividers.
You can see the blue-edged page protector sticking out from
beneath the title page, marking the beginning of the first section.
Mine didn’t have dividers because…well, I just didn’t have any on hand. Plus I’m using page protectors, and sometimes it’s really difficult to find the extra wide dividers so you can see the tabs. So instead, I have page protectors that are coloured on the edge that mark the beginning of a new section. So far that’s been working pretty much just as well for me.
Right now, my binder is arranged as follows (I tried to arrange it more or less in chronological order):
- Venue Info
- Timeline Checklist
- Guest List
- Attendants’ Info
- Maid of Honour and Best Man Duties Checklist
- Assignments List (Who Does What)
- Planning Guide, Customs & Traditions
- Budget Planner
- Engagement Ring Insurance Info
- Recommended Vendors
- Vendor and Details Info
- Music Checklist
- Photography Lists
- Day-Of Checklist and Emergency Kit List
- Day-Of Schedule
- Wedding Dresses
- Bridesmaid Dresses
- Registries Info
- China Pattern
- Wording/Etiquette Guide
- Bridal Shower:
- Planning Info
- Guest List/Gift Trackers
- Officiant Info
- Ceremony Text
- Processional and Recessional List
- Seating Arrangement
- Seating Plan
- Cake and Cake Topper
- Beverage Lists
- Toast List
- Sketches of Venue and Placement of Décor
- Flower Planner and Flower Meanings
- Escort Cards, Table Numbers, Place Cards
- Guest Book
- Other Décor: Aisle Runner, Card Box, etc.
- Inspiration (for example, I’ve tucked some tissue paper in there that perfectly matches my colour scheme and overall style)
- Planning Details/To Do List
- Travel Arrangements
- Packing List
Step 3: Google wedding planning worksheets/checklists.
The best part of any wedding planning book, be it the kind you make for yourself or the binders you can buy pre-made (which I was scared of buying because there might be sections that aren’t even applicable, and I’m a control freak), are all the checklists and worksheets onto which you can put all of your vital planning information!
There are many, many, many online sources of worksheets, plus loads you can find and adapt from books (sit in your local bookstore/library with a coffee and do your research – it’s fun!). Here are the websites I found that you may find useful:
- Real Simple (and some more from Real Simple!)
- Canadian Wedding Businesses
- Real Weddings
- Martha Stewart Weddings (and the full, classic Martha Workbook)
- Russell and Hazel
- Forever Bridal
- Central Coast Bride
- Planning Your Wedding For Less
- Forever Wed
- Frugal Bride: Schedule for the Day, Bride’s Emergency Kit, Complete Wedding Checklist, Master Itinerary Worksheet, Photo Checklist
This post from A Practical Wedding is another great resource for getting organized that I stumbled upon in my Google journeys.
Step 4: Add and remove from binder as needed.
I’ve stuck my seating plan in there, next to a blank worksheet I can use for
arranging the guest list into their tables.
Now, I’ve taken several of these checklists and planning guides, combined and adapted them for my own purposes, and eventually created my own versions of these checklists that better suit my needs. (I’ll be posting these checklists as they finally become complete. The timeline checklist should be up any time now.)
Here is one of the many wedding dress pictures I’d ripped out of a magazine
and stuck in my binder for inspiration.
Basically what you want to do is work through the worksheets and checklists, add in final details and print-out copies of things like the ceremony script, remove anything you don’t need anymore or that turns out to be not applicable, and just get on with the awesome planning of your awesome wedding. My binder originally existed as essentially a lookbook – pictures I had been ripping out of magazines for years, long before I was even engaged – and just helped me start figuring out what I wanted the final picture to be. I’m keeping the ripped-out-magazine-pictures of wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses, even though those are already picked out (and none of them were amongst my magazine picture stash), purely for posterity and the off-chance/hope that my future children may want to see the binder I put together planning Mommy and Daddy’s wedding.
Here is the tissue paper I’ve stuck in there. It just perfectly reflects the colour
and style of my wedding!
Voila! Your wedding planning binder is ready to get you to that finish line! Now just sit back, relax, and watch as your wedding unfolds. Make sure your MOH or another trusted friend is aware of everything in the binder, and then as of the rehearsal, you can hand over the reins and trust that everything will go off without a hitch.