7 Ways To Get Organized when Planning a Wedding

by Melissa on November 11, 2010

I just got engaged in early October.  We were on vacation when my fiance proposed, and within a few days of returning, I started “wedding planning.”  Unfortunately what I ended up with was a jumbled mix of e-mail responses, saved delicious links, and information given to me in different and confusing formats.  So, in my first month of wedding planning, this is what I have learned:

  1. Always cc your fiance (and other folks anxious to help) on e-mail communications. This may only apply to grooms-to-be who are actually interested in helping you pick out wedding venues or caterers, but to avoid duplication of efforts, make sure you cc each other when sending e-mails to potential vendors, that way you don’t both send requests-for-information to the same vendor.  This may also apply to siblings, parents, etc. who may also be e-mailing on your behalf.  Make sure that you request that the recipient use the “reply all” function when replying to your e-mail, that way you don’t have to worry about forwarding responses.

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  3. Set up a Google Docs account (or some other shared collaboration tool for documents and spreadsheets). My fiance and I have been using Google Docs for years now.  We use one spreadsheet to organize our shared monthy expenses, different documents and spreadsheets to organize vacations, etc.  We started a guest list spreadsheet so that we could add names to the document whenever someone came to mind, and didn’t have to worry about adding it to the most up-to-date version, or asking each other to e-mail it.  We also created a “Wedding” Google Doc Folder, and we save all our vendor correspondence and export it to Google Docs.  Boom, everything is saved in once, centralized location.

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  5. Create an information collection worksheet for different types of vendors. What I have found very infuriating, is that different vendors give you information in so many different ways.  Even if you do ask them a specific list of questions, some respond specifically to your questions, others just attach brochures or pricing sheets.  We have our list of priorities, and created a worksheet so that we’re sure to collect the same information from each vendor.  We fill in the worksheet with the appropriate information, follow up on any missing sections, and then lo and behold, we have everyone’s information in one simple, easy to read, uniform format.  Our venue worksheet is pictured in my previous post.

  6. If you don’t already have one, set up a shared bookmarking account, like Delicious.com.  I look up some wedding stuff during downtime at work, and do some at home.  I love using delicious to bookmark sites from any computer and then viewing those same saved links from another computer.  It’s also a good shared information collection tool, to let your fiance or family or friends what venues or caterers you’ve bookmarked, links to dresses you like, color palettes, etc.

  7. Create a custom Google Map to pinpoint all the venues you’d like to visit. This will help you visualize how far the venues are from your house, and different clusters of venue locations.  Then you can arrange for site visits for one day for many of the venues that are located close to each other.  Share the Google Map with your fiance and others that will be going with you.

  8. The phone is your friend. I am a total online geek.  I prefer to use e-mail for everything.  If a venue’s pricing information is not on their website and says to call for information, forget it.  But I have discovered that making a quick call can solve a lot of headaches.  First, you get a good back-and-forth conversation.  The first time I called a caterer, instead of e-mailing, I got all sorts of useful information, including valuable information about some of the venues we were considering.  That led to a good conversation about venue selection and how familiar the caterer is with different places.  I also told her that we were expecting about 100-150 people at our wedding.  She told me that it’s always better to give a caterer just one number, that way it’s easier to compare figures down the road, and you can always change the number until the last minute anyway.

  9. Don’t get ahead of yourself. I have to admit, this whole wedding planning thing is not as fun as I thought it would be.  Dealing with vendors and caterers is boring and keeps causing sticker shock over and over.  It’s so easy to get ahead of myself with ideas for save-the-date videos, wedding dresses, and amazing wedding invitations.  Stuff I consider to be much more fun.  There will plenty of time for all that once we have actually settled on a venue and date!

What methods have you used (or wish you knew about) to get organized in the early stages of wedding planning?

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