Planning a wedding, or any large event for that matter, can be daunting. There are so many little details to consider, and it can be difficult to keep track of what is booked and what else is needed. Wedding planners can save your life, but they can be pricey. In planning any wedding, the key is to stay organized.
So, if you are a bride, or are planning a wedding, my personal recommendation on the very first step is start with buying a wedding planner book. Trust me, this is an extremely wise investment and it will really assist you and hold your hand along all the stages of wedding planning. Sure, you can find a variety of free resources on the internet to assist you with staying organized, but believe me, it is going to be nice in the future to have everything in one location. This includes price quotes, invoices, receipts and information are all in one trusty place. The key here is to invest. There will be other ways you can cut corners to conserve your budget along the way but a wedding planner book is essential. Plus they are not terribly pricey.
You can definitely buy a book online if you would like but before I found the winning wedding planner book that I like, I took a trip to a book store. There should be a wedding planning section and you can pick up each book and review (somewhat) how it is organized. Some are packaged or sealed shut but you can do your best to peak inside and get a feel for the structure of a book.
My recommendations on the structure of a book is to get once with a three ring binder that you can add pages to later with a hold punch. Other recommended features include:
Tabs, though not necessary, I highly recommend as they can save you time and heartache when you are tired of flipping through your book in the middle of the night trying to find the section you are looking for. Tabs make it easy to flip between sections and are a nice tool for staying organized.
Folders or card stock pages with pockets are essential so that you can add receipts or smaller pages to the pockets in each section. For example: say you want to save the receipt for alterations for a dress, you should put your receipt in the folder pocket of the dress section of your planner. Why save the receipt? Example: Lets say you just paid for alterations and leave the dress with your seamstress. Weeks later you come back to pick up the dress and you forget if you paid before or if payment is due now. Thank goodness you saved that receipt in the pocket of the dress section of your wedding planner book! Now you know exactly how much was paid and if any balance is due. With all the wedding details to consider, things like this are easily forgotten.
A three ring binder pencil pouch is extremely handy. You don't necessarily need to purchase a book that comes with one as this can easily be added. Any office supply store will sell these and they are inexpensive. I found the pencil pouch a good place to hold your special wedding stamps. You will buy stamps for save the dates, invitations, return RSVP envelopes, thank you cards and possibly showers or rehearsal dinner. Keeping stamps together with your new best friend (your wedding planning book, of course) is a great way to not waste money on lost stamps.
Last recommended feature is a business card holder page. Though this is recommended, this feature that can be done without. You can easily store your business cards in your pencil pouch or the correlating folders throughout each section of your book. It just nice to have them all in view on one page.
As far as the contents go, each book may be organized differently, but you will want to find sections for budget, venue, invitations, dress, food (including cake), flowers, music, photo and video, rentals and making it official for your state. Extra pages for notes are nice and you can always add more pages with your three ring binder book.
Now that you know what to look for in a wedding planner book, happy hunting! Check back in for more wedding planning tips to come.