When you’re staring down an engagement of a year and 8 months, you can lose sight of how quickly the wedding is coming since it always feels so far away. As of yesterday, we’re down to only 7 months before our wedding and yes, things are a bit bonkers. Although I was completely sold on getting a wedding planner earlier on in the process, I realized I had already done so much work that I felt it wouldn’t be a great value for me to get one at that point in the game. We’re now on the hunt for a day-of planner only and yes, this means that I’ve basically DIY’d all of the planning for the wedding.
Planning a wedding is a daunting task, especially if you’re not entirely sure where to start. As a PR gal and a lover of party planning, I knew I’d have to get organized – and quick. Today I’m sharing the 5 tools that have helped me to conquer the wedding planning process and yes, I’m sharing my oft-mentioned wedding planning spreadsheet. Let’s do this!
GoogleDrive will save you. It’s been one of my favourite organizational tools for years now, after learning its magical ways while completing my post-grad at Humber. Crowdsourcing, guys. Magic. GoogleDrive allows you to save all of your wedding-related documents, spreadsheets and images in one central location and share them with everyone who needs to see it.
I have been saving all of the estimates I receive via email directly to my Drive from Gmail. My wedding folder also houses my mood boards, photos from vendor appointments and the all-encompassing spreadsheet. It’s my go-to place for all things wedding and I love that it’s so easy to update and share.
Bonus: Download the GoogleDrive app to your phone so you can access your drive from anywhere at any time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled up info & photos on the go!
The Ultimate Wedding Planning Spreadsheet
Along with my GoogleDrive, my wedding planning spreadsheet has been my number 1 weapon during the process. With so many moving pieces, deadlines and people to keep track of, the spreadsheet has become my bible. It also helps when you get those (incredibly frequent) emails from *ahem* the rest of your wedding committee asking what the status of certain items is. With the sending of a link they have their answer in black & white.
With tabs for Overview, Budget, Vendors, Guestlist and Key Contacts, the spreadsheet is comprehensive and easy to use. Download a copy of my ultimate wedding planning spreadsheet for yourself on Google Doc Templates. I’ll be updating it as I continue my planning so it’s going to be continually optimized. How exciting.
A Vision Board (digital + analog)
I usually scoff at vision boards – come on, don’t they sound so hokey?! – but after making one for the wedding I may just be their biggest fan. When you’re surfing Pinterest, scouring wedding magazines and screen-capping posts on Instagram, you can lose sight of what you like and what you already have. Here’s the thing: weddings are designed to be beautiful. The dresses, the flowers, the details…it’s rare to find something that’s actually ugly. I don’t care how decisive you are – you’re going to like a lot of things and you’re going to get confused. And you’re probably also going to have trouble describing what’s in your head to your vendors. This is where the vision board comes in.
My digital vision board was created in Pixelmator (my fave non-Photoshop photo editing app) and is a collection of all the things I had been pinning, saving to my desktop and screen-capping on Instagram. When I went through and took stock of my pins, I realized only a few actually portrayed things I wanted at the wedding. I saved them to a folder on my desktop then created a digital vision board with a few of my favourites. I send this vision board to potential vendors via email so they know exactly what I like before I go in for a meeting and have also shared it with our families. It’s so much easier to communicate what you want when it’s laid out in front of someone!
I then printed out all of the photos at Black’s and arranged my favourites with adorable bow pins + washi tape to an old bulletin board from my university days. I’ve been adding in swatches – tablecloths, bridesmaid dresses, my dress soon! – as I collect them and have been adding and taking away as I see fit. I love having a physical, tactile board right in front of me. It’s also a great way to keep track of things you’ve pulled from magazines. When the wedding date gets closer, I’ll use it to group different design elements so I can get a feel for the overall look & feel.
A Traditional 3-ring Planner
Even with a GoogleDrive, online spreadsheet and digital vision board, it’s important to have something you can cart around to various meetings and also hand off if someone’s going to be your proxy. I’d originally purchased the Sugar Paper x J. Crew wedding planner for this purpose, but it’s too large to actually tote around. This Gold Leather kikki.k planner is absolutely perfect for planning (and comes in so many colours!). With tabs for To Do lists, Meetings and Inspiration, you can keep track of everything in one compact place.
For extra credit, keep swatches of your fabrics in the pockets and print out mini-vision boards for flowers, overall reception decor, ceremony decor, personal touches and more and slide them into a5 plastic pockets.
I’ve shared my love for Postable SO many times but it’s worth one last mention. Postable allows you to collect guest addresses by sending out a personalized link. Yes, you can make other people do the work for you. This is so key! Once their information is inputted, you can export it to an excel document and use it to address your invitations, keep track of RSVPs and then, later, keep track of gifts and thank you notes.
Speaking of thank you notes… Postable now allows you to write thank you notes directly from your address book! You can personalize each note and they will print them individually using script that looks like handwriting then address them and send them on their way. No carpal tunnel and no fights with your fiance about why it’s been 8 months and your notes still aren’t done.
Which of these tools will you use? Do you have any secret weapons you think I should know about? Tell me in the comments!