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Staying Organized As You Plan Your Wedding

by Kathryn Lemmon, Wedding Zone Staff Writer

I once had a boss who bought office supplies daily, in her own words, "to finally get organized". They piled up all over our joint office; some not even opened. She thought purchasing them would automatically make her organized - but it doesn't work that way. If you're planning a wedding, being organized can make a world of difference.

Poor Teresa! She never set up a workable system for herself and all the supplies were wasted. Hence, she was frantic most of the time. So take a lesson from my ex-boss. Supplies won't make you organized, only you can do that!

That said, you should visit the office supply store and pick up your own personal tools for staying organized, at least a three ring binder and an accordion file. In addition, you'll need to find a way of keeping all your important phone numbers close at hand. A business card holder in the form of a small notebook or rolodex would work. It's not so important what you select, as finding the tools which work best for you.

Some brides prefer wedding planners, which can be purchased at most larger book stores. These planners usually include sections on questions to ask vendors, worksheets and checklists, setting your budget, and name change information, just to name a few. Smaller planners are suitable to take to appointments or keep in your purse. However, larger ones often have the advantage of pockets or folders included in the back to organize receipts and other documents.

If you'd rather do your planning/organizing on the computer, buy a software program. They're useful as a means to track things such as guests, gifts people have given you, who has RSVP'd, menu selections, table assignments and more. They usually allow you to create a budget and payment schedules, as well.

Keep a "master to-do-list" with all the wedding tasks needed to be completed. Then, from your master list, break down the items into weekly or daily to-do-lists. This will accomplish two things: 1) make you more productive by focusing on fewer tasks and 2) reduce those "overwhelmed" feelings by breaking down the larger duties into more manageable tasks.

Wedding rule of thumb number one: "if it can be handled early in the planning, rather than later, do it." The final three weeks before the wedding are bound to be the busiest, so don't wait. It may seem like a long time to you, but reception halls are often booked one year in advance and it's not uncommon for DJ's and bands to be booked eight to ten months in advance. Think if it this way; the more tasks you can handle of now, the less stressful those final weeks will be.

One major component of staying organized is having the luxury of time. If you only allow three months to plan a big or even a medium-sized wedding, you will be pressed for time.

Wedding rule of thumb number two: firming up every detail will take longer than you expect. What should take one week, takes three weeks; what should take two phone calls ends up taking five phone calls, and so it goes with planning any major event. Truly organized people, bless their souls, take into account that snags and hitches happen. You can't avoid them, but you can pad your time so you can work around the problems.

Wedding rule of thumb number three: if handled properly, delegating tasks will make you more organized, not-to-mention reduce your stress. Being in total control of the wedding planning is no guarantee you'll be organized, probably just the opposite. Often calm, rational people become absolute control freaks, when it comes to wedding plans. Ease up and accept help from others!

Let your mother or his mother make some preliminary phone calls and collect information. Select people you trust and give them well-defined instructions. If time is an issue, suggest a deadline as well.

Choose one day of the week when you can focus on the wedding, or several days if time is short. Sit down with your intended and sort out details. This eliminates confusion or the chance for overlapping duties. Don't break out of your "meeting" until you're both clear on the responsibilities for that week.


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