Once you’ve said “Yes” and had your time to celebrate your engagement, the wedding planning begins. The first step every bride-to-be should take is creating a wedding planning and inspiration folder (or Pinterest Board) to stay organized. You can do a lot on your computer (you will learn to love spreadsheets) but wedding planning produces a lot of paper which you will need to keep organized. Creating a DIY wedding planning binder will not only organize every aspect of your wedding but with inexpensive supplies and wedding planning printables it will cost you next to nothing!
To get started, you will want to either make a quick run to wherever you like to buy your stationery supplies at or scavenge your desk for random materials to use in your binder.
What I used:
- 1” binder
- Tab dividers
- Sticky notes
- Colorful pens
- Clear plastic sheet covers
You may also want to consider things like, washi tape, highlighters, or anything else you use to keep organized. Once you’ve gotten everything you need, it’s time to put it together!
Two of the most essential elements of your wedding planning binder are going to be a calendar and a wedding timeline, which I chose to add in the very beginning of the binder. It’s so critical to stay on track with planning, to meet your deadlines, and to promptly make all of your appointments so having these two printables in the front and center of all my planning was important.
For the dividers I created the following 10 categories:
- Attire & Beauty
- Vendor Contact List
- Wedding Party Contact Sheet
- Wedding Day Emergency Kit checklist
- Your Planning Timeline & Checklist (from 16-9 months before all the way to the week of the wedding)
- Timeline for wedding day
- Checklist of everything to be brought to the ceremony and reception, and who is to bring it
I used a printable which I kept in my binder but the hubby and I also had our master spreadsheet in a shared Google drive which we used. This was great because both he and I had access to it and it could be updated as went along in the planning process.
- What to Ask Your Wedding Officiant
- List of processional & recessional order
- Officiant contact information
- Cost & tips
- Music to be played and any musicians’ contracts, contact info and fees
- Any seating arrangements and reserved seating
- Timeline of reception (dance, cake cutting, toasts, flower toss, exit, etc.)
- Rentals (separate subcategory) w/ contract
- Setup info and instructions
- Beverage List
- Playlist with noted special songs (1st dance etc)
- List of who will be giving toasts
- List of people to thank at reception
- Guest Book
- Photo booth
- Exit sparklers
- Reserved seat signs
- Toasting glasses
- Band contact information, pricing, tips etc.
- All relevant contracts
- Guest list and mailing addresses
- Dinner Choices
- Gifts received list
- Thank you notes sent
- Guest hotel information
- Welcome bags
This is where we also used our incredibly helpful Google spreadsheet. We had a spreadsheet of our guest list which allowed us to track their addresses, gifts received and if/when we sent our thank you notes. The hubby and I could update info as it changed and I simply printed it off to include in my binder as a backup.
- Schedule of fittings etc. (this is redundant, but I want it here too)
- Ring Bearer
- Must-have photo list
- List of everyone needed for photos – break this down into names (i.e. Courtney, MOH)
- Any props
- Dinner choice
- Pricing & budget
- List of arrangements for Ceremony
- List of arrangements for Reception
- List of bouquets
- List of boutonnieres
- Flowers for family members
- Contracts – venue
- Caterer contract & menu
- Vendor contact list
- Rehearsal Dinner planning checklist(with timeline)
- Honeymoon plans
- Honeymoon planning checklist
- Gifts (from Bride & Groom)
- Registry info
- Registry checklist
- Bridal luncheon plans
- Best Man and MOH duties checklists
I realize there are a lot of things to include in your DIY wedding planning binder but it is good to keep everything all in one place. It may seem overwhelming at first but your binder is going to be your saving grace and make sure that each and every little detail is accounted for.
What are you using to keep yourself organized? I’d love to hear your ideas. Leave a comment below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for comprehensiveness.