As most of you know, we're in the process of planning our wedding which is next April! I'll preface this by saying we had a longer engagement than most. By the time we walk down the aisle, it will have been a total of 21 months. The first 6 or so months I honestly didn't do much and it was pretty amazing! We loved having that time where we could just enjoy being engaged. The only thing we did do last October was booked the venue. Venues around here book up well in advance and especially out in the Chesapeake Bay area which is where we knew we wanted the wedding to be. The only other thing I did prior to the 12-month mark was purchase my wedding dress! I truly thought it would take forever for me to find my dress because I'm SO picky and as y'all know, fashion is my passion (haha). Much to EVERYONE's surprise, the very first dress I tried on was the one! Fast-forward to April where I finally got into full planning mode. Since I do have the luxury of time, I don't want to waste it. There are obviously certain things that have to wait until closer to the actual wedding date but the little things leading up to that I really want to be on top of. Here are a few tips that have already helped me feel organized so far:
1.) A General Timeline-when we were first engaged I sort of used this 2 year timeline as a guide. But I haven't really stuck to it because we did so little in the first 6 months of our engagement! This is the one I have been more diligent about sticking to and it has been so helpful. There are a TON on Pinterest so you can really find one more suited to your engagement period. I also took the timeline from Pinterest and made my own spreadsheet where I populated the corresponding months each item needed to be completed leading up to next April. It feels good to mark things off the list!
2.) A Fabulous Agenda/Planner-maybe I'm sort of behind the curve on this but I don't really use my phone or tablets for planning. In my everyday life, I'm a list-maker and I like to hand-write it. That's why I've always had a really comprehensive agenda! I knew when wedding planning it would be no exception. My Erin Condren planner is AWESOME--I feel like I can really have everything all in one place. I use the agenda pages and calendars to mark milestones or appointments, the grid pages for some budget planning (although I do most of it in excel), note pages for note-taking when meeting with vendors and also for making lists. For example, I have a list going right now of all the ideas I have for bridesmaid gifts! My only complaint about the planner is it's sort of big and bulky. I wish they shrunk it down just a bit so it wasn't such a pain to carry around! I also bought this Kate Spade Wedding Planner which I love the idea of but to be honest, I haven't used it that much.
3.) A Book of Lists-I can't remember who it was but another blogger talked about this book from The Knot and it sounded PERFECT for me! As I mentioned before, I'm a huge list-maker so having a book of pre-made lists sounded amazing. I also love how tiny and compact it is so you can bring it with you to meetings with vendors!
3.) Excel-this is sort of a boring tip, but I use excel for almost everything. I have one big spreadsheet with our guest list and a separate tab for addresses so everything is in one place. I use it for budget planning and also as I mentioned before, for a breakdown of our timeline!
4.) Pinterest-I mean...let's be real, I have had a "Wedding" board on Pinterest since I was in college. I'm pretty sure I have well over a thousand pins on that one! Pinterest is just such an amazing platform for brides and if you're super visual like me, it's so helpful for literally EVERY aspect of wedding planning. I honestly don't know how people planned weddings before Pinterest existed lol.
5.) Google Docs-I love using Google Docs because my parents, Steven, or my future in-laws can access anything I load on there. For example, I uploaded our tentative guest list and it was nice because they could review and make any additions or adjustments! I think it'll also be great for planning with bridesmaids too because a few of my bridesmaids live far away!
6.) Referrals-this isn't really a "physical tool" but it's a huge tip for any bride-to-be. If you can get referrals for any of your vendors it's SO incredibly helpful and it just helps alleviate anxiety when you see what they can do in action! I had a friend from high school who was kind enough to send me a list of all her vendors and contact information. I didn't even ask for it! She just sent it to me right after Steven and I got engaged which was so sweet! Even though we aren't even close to booking all of our vendors, she referred me to Kirsten, our photographer who I had an amazing experience with and I'm definitely planning on reaching out to more of her recommended vendors. One of my bridesmaids also just got married last summer so she has given me tips and referrals too!
I know none of these are super earth-shattering but I hope it was sort of helpful and fun to read! I really didn't even know where to start when we got engaged so all of these tips and tools have been so helpful in keeping me sane and organized!
Have a wonderful weekend!!