Crystal-Nicole Photography

Crystal-Nicole Photography

So you’re engaged and have already called your VIP’s to share the exciting news. Yay! And you’ve posted your ring selfie with #smpringselfie and #theknotrings ! And you’ve read my post about what to do once you're proposed to! It’s now time to begin the super thrilling wedding planning process with your planning folder.

This, for me, was one of thee most exciting parts of the planning process. I refer to it as the ‘Wedding Planning Bible (WPB).’ Putting together your WPB by filling it with colorful sample swatches, adding pretty designs, and filing vendor information can be fun. However, if your WPB doesn’t flow correctly, you just end up stuffing all wedding related documents in the folder (with no order) making it harder to find anything you need to reference. So I am here to help :)

My full planning services come fully equipped with a WPB as a welcome gift. It is a super detailed and decked out wedding planning folder specific to your wedding. Including details, color swatches and customized inspiration. I am going to help you DIY couples organize your own WPB with these tips.

For a list of items to purchase for your WPB scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Keep your eye on the prize. There are a lot of great resources out there like Instagram, Pinterest, blogs and the list goes on. It’s no surprise that we fall in love with different styles and come up with new ideas all the time. One of the problems I run into a lot when couples come to me is not knowing how to bring their vision together because they’ve been exposed to so many lovely ideas. Another bit of advice (again, if you missed it here is the link) I have for the newly engaged is to write down the things that matter the most to both of you. Is that the beach where you met, or maybe the rose garden where you had your first picnic, maybe you fell in love in the countryside, or have a thing for classic cars... Whatever matters the most and want incorporated into your wedding, have those items listed in the beginning pages of your WPB (before your first tab). So, whenever you have new inspirations or ideas, having those important items listed on the front page will allow you to determine if a new idea falls in line with your vision. This in turn also saves you tons of money.

Keep your eye on the prize. There are a lot of great resources out there like Instagram, Pinterest, blogs and the list goes on. It’s no surprise that we fall in love with different styles and come up with new ideas all the time. One of the problems I run into a lot when couples come to me is not knowing how to bring their vision together because they’ve been exposed to so many lovely ideas. Another bit of advice (again, if you missed it here is the link) I have for the newly engaged is to write down the things that matter the most to both of you. Is that the beach where you met, or maybe the rose garden where you had your first picnic, maybe you fell in love in the countryside, or have a thing for classic cars... Whatever matters the most and want incorporated into your wedding, have those items listed in the beginning pages of your WPB (before your first tab). So, whenever you have new inspirations or ideas, having those important items listed on the front page will allow you to determine if a new idea falls in line with your vision. This in turn also saves you tons of money.

The front of the WPB could contain these items

My first advice (see post) to you as a newly engaged couple is to ‘Dream a Theme.’ I recommend this tab of your WPB to contain wedding magazine clippings, your fave Pinterest printouts, as well as ribbons and color swatches of your wedding design. Another unconventional place to find inspiration are home and decor magazines. If you see a space that you absolutely love, it may serve as inspo for designing your reception or ceremony. Be sure to divide your inspo into sections.

My first advice (see post) to you as a newly engaged couple is to ‘Dream a Theme.’ I recommend this tab of your WPB to contain wedding magazine clippings, your fave Pinterest printouts, as well as ribbons and color swatches of your wedding design. Another unconventional place to find inspiration are home and decor magazines. If you see a space that you absolutely love, it may serve as inspo for designing your reception or ceremony. Be sure to divide your inspo into sections.

Just so you get an idea of what I mean, here are some samples

  • The first three or four sheet protectors in this tab would contain your reception inspiration.
  •  Two or three would be your ceremony inspiration.
  • Then your cake inspiration would go next, then your stationery designer and/or maybe your food/beverage must-haves and so forth.
  • You should definitely have a ‘Master List’ of all your finalized decor ideas.
  • Be sure to organize your items/decor in boxes with labels so you know where to set everything up on the day of your wedding
The first pages should contain ‘important elements and splurge items.’ Be sure to highlight and reiterate your must-haves from your cover pages here. So every time you need to turn to your budget, you are reminded what to focus on. The pages in this tab should be in the form of spreadsheets with a column for each expense. There should be an estimated expense column, a few columns for the quotes you receive, and a column with the actual cost.

The first pages should contain ‘important elements and splurge items.’ Be sure to highlight and reiterate your must-haves from your cover pages here. So every time you need to turn to your budget, you are reminded what to focus on.

The pages in this tab should be in the form of spreadsheets with a column for each expense. There should be an estimated expense column, a few columns for the quotes you receive, and a column with the actual cost.

These typically have lengthy contracts and details of their own that warrant a separate section for them. Often times for religious weddings, there are requisitions to keep track of, forms to fill out and / or classes to fulfill. These are items you reference constantly throughout the process so they should be easily identifiable.

These typically have lengthy contracts and details of their own that warrant a separate section for them. Often times for religious weddings, there are requisitions to keep track of, forms to fill out and / or classes to fulfill. These are items you reference constantly throughout the process so they should be easily identifiable.

Here is a sample of what the sections would look like for this tab

  • Ceremony Site
  • Photography Site
  • Reception Site
  • Marriage License Management (this is typically required at your ceremony site)
I’ve seen other planning folders that divide vendors by category such as vendor or ceremony. I prefer to keep all vendors in one tab and if they can be, I section them off. For example within the vendor tab, I would have a food and beverage section, which would consist of catering, beverages, bar service and desserts.

I’ve seen other planning folders that divide vendors by category such as vendor or ceremony. I prefer to keep all vendors in one tab and if they can be, I section them off. For example within the vendor tab, I would have a food and beverage section, which would consist of catering, beverages, bar service and desserts.

  • Front page should contain a ‘Vendor Master List’ – once you’ve booked/contracted with a vendor, they should be listed on the master with name, number, email, address, deposit, balance and due dates. SIDE NOTE: I created a planning calendar to help you keep track of these items, which can be found here and downloaded for free.
  • The pages in this tab should contain all detailed vendor information, contracts, samples and notes from your meetings.
This tab is pretty self explanatory but should contain several sections for monitoring/tracking your guest count.

This tab is pretty self explanatory but should contain several sections for monitoring/tracking your guest count.

A sample of that looks like this:

  • Bridal party list with contact information.
  • A guest list draft – this will help you in the beginning of the planning stage to figure out the size of the venue you need.
  • Save the date guest list – this will help filter out some those that are unavailable before sending out the final invites.
  • The official wedding guest list for invitations.
  • A list of RSVPs & non-responders – once you get an answer from non-responders, you will have the final numbers to update catering and rentals.
  • A diagram of the seating arrangements.
This tab helps you keep track of wedding attire for the entire wedding party.

This tab helps you keep track of wedding attire for the entire wedding party.

The sections may contain the following

  • Wedding dress(es) information and details
  • Bridesmaid dress
  • Groom & Groomsmen attire
  • Mini wedding party attire (flower girl, ring-bearer)
  • Accessories
You will be receiving information from the stores that you registered at. This is where you would file that information including the coupons and special discounts you get to enjoy when you return from your honeymoon. Yay!

You will be receiving information from the stores that you registered at. This is where you would file that information including the coupons and special discounts you get to enjoy when you return from your honeymoon. Yay!

The sections in this tab may be divided into the following

  • List of where you registered
  • Draft a list of items you would really like to have
  • After the wedding, draft a gift log of the gifts you received and from whom
MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE TAB & FAVORITE PART OF THE WHOLE PROCESS!

MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE TAB & FAVORITE PART OF THE WHOLE PROCESS!

The honeymoon tab may be divided into the following sections

  • Here you would have contracts, dates, flights, hotel addresses, confirmations, itineraries and travel arrangements. This may even include transportation if you’re leaving right after your wedding.
  •  A packing list of essentials such as your eskimo hat for your mountain retreat or you may need your striped bikini for your tropical getaway.
  • Leaving the country? Make sure you register with the US embassy and purchase travel insurance. Oh, and don’t forget to call your bank so they don’t freeze your accounts. Phew...that is death to your shopping trips. 
You may find yourself running over to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby for the small things. The receipt holder like the one pictured keeps those tracked and organized so they don’t fall out of the sheet protectors.

You may find yourself running over to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby for the small things. The receipt holder like the one pictured keeps those tracked and organized so they don’t fall out of the sheet protectors.

In the year and half of planning, you will meet LOTs of vendors (especially at bridal shows) so keeping their contact info organized is important. You may have originally skipped out on the chocolate spoons from the vendor at the bridal expo earlier in the year but down the line you may change your mind. 

In the year and half of planning, you will meet LOTs of vendors (especially at bridal shows) so keeping their contact info organized is important. You may have originally skipped out on the chocolate spoons from the vendor at the bridal expo earlier in the year but down the line you may change your mind. 

Congrats, you survived.

This is what has worked for me and what I do for my brides. I would love to hear about your WPB. If you have any pictures, please send them my way. I geek out over stationery and anything pretty and organized. If you have questions or need advice, feel free to send me a note.

p.s. I am considering hosting a Perioscope event to discuss this topic and have Q&A. If this is something you would be interested in, please leave a comment below. 

p.p.s. Here are a few of the items that I purchased for my WPB  

  1. Linen folder with a pretty design that stands out so I can quickly identify the folder (this is my personal preference). Target has super cute ones.
  2. 100 pack of sheet protectors maybe even more
  3. Colorful heavy-duty dividers equipped with plastic tabs preferably with pockets
  4. Cork sheet tiles
  5. Brass fasteners
  6. Your wedding color swatches which can be found at rental companies or bridal shops
  7. Wedding & home magazines
  8. Receipt holder

Happy Planning!

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