6.03.2016

My Favorite Wedding Planning Tools (So Far...)

www.kirstensmithphotography.com
Happy Friday darlings! I don't know about you but I couldn't be happier that this week is over. It was just jam packed and incredibly busy but this weekend should be pretty relaxing! I'm going to just jump right in to today's post because I think it might be sort of long.

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!!

18 comments :

  1. When I was planning my wedding, one of my bridesmaids bought me a wedding planner and my friend/wedding planner, sent me an excel spreadsheet to monitor my expenses and guest list. t was incredibly helpful.
    Pinterest is the best because it's just so full of ideas.
    All the best with the planning. April will arrive sooner than you know :)

    Mich xx

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  2. Sounds like you are making such great progress and you still have lots of time! We were only engaged for about 7 months before we got married, so it was a rush to get everything accomplished. So funny, the first dress I tried on was the one I picked too! You just know, right?! Hope you have a fabulous weekend -- love the engagement picture too!

    xo, Rachel
    A Blonde's Moment

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  3. you are doing so good girl!! Wedding planners got nothing on you sweetness!! Have the best weekend pretty girl!!

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  4. Loving that photo of you two! Sounds like you have found some great tools and are well on your way to an amazing wedding!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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  5. A Planner and Excel were the two things that I relied on the most. Now I love looking back to see what I did and how much is cost, wow. Just remember to have fun, it can get pretty stressful!

    Xoxo,
    Whitney & Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

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  6. Oh how exciting that your wedding is getting closer! There are some great tips here, now all I need is a wedding haha. Gemma x
    www.jacquardflower.uk

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  7. Reading this and I can't stop thinking how much I can relate! We got engaged and did barely anything the first few months. We're getting married this September, almost 2 years after we got engaged. So we purposely spaced things out to not stress ourselves TOO much :)

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    1. I love hearing that others have had long engagements too because sometimes I feel like I'm the only one haha! Congrats on your upcoming wedding!!!

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  8. Although you had a longer engagement than most, I think it really allowed for you to have much less stress and pressure to book dates and all of the other things that come along with scheduling. Like you said, some places have waiting lists and many times, couples aren't able to book the venue the initially wanted because of the date interference. By having less stress, you can enjoy the journey more and not make rash decisions and really be pleased with the whole process and how everything comes together! That said, I think your wedding is going to be amazing and I know for sure you will make for a gorgeous bride! I'm loving these little sneak peeks you've been sharing with us from your engagement shoot, you two are such a lovely couple! Thanks so much for sharing, beautiful, and I hope you have a great weekend!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    www.thestylecontour.com

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  9. Great post! Those are some really good tips- Google Docs and your planner is your best friend when planning a wedding. So exciting!

    XOXO KATHRYN
    www.colormeblissful.com

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  10. I love weddings! I love that you've taken charge of things. No one can do it better on your day than you. All the best on your day. Beautiful couple! :)

    http://missymayification.blogspot.co.uk

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  11. This is so exciting! I'm so happy for you and can't wait for more wedding photos and such. I don't think there's anything wrong with a long engagement period- I can imagine there's something really special about that pre-wedding stage and you get to bond over the wedding planning, the living situations, etc. Gonna need to save these tips for my dream wedding one day *sigh*.

    thesixthdisneyprincess.blogspot.com

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  12. a wedding coming up! how exciting! congrats!

    kelseybang.com

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  13. I had no idea where to start when we got engaged either, but we just had 5 months to figure it out! I used so many of these tools and they are all key. I think being super organized is a must because things can get crazy quickly!

    Annessa
    www.seekingsunshine.com

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  14. The picture of you two is gorgeous and so sweet! Good luck with the planing, it sounds like you're on the right track!

    xo
    www.carinavardie.com

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  15. Interesting post ;)
    xx
    Mónica Sors
    MES VOYAGES À PARIS
    NEW POST: NEUTRAL TONES IN LISBON

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  16. You sound like you are so organized!

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