Multi-tasking is not a good thing when it comes to wedding planning. I’ll do some things during down-time at work, like e-mailing venues and caterers, or look for dress ideas or decorations on Etsy. I’ve also been reviewing photographer’s blogs and looking for fun save-the-date videos on YouTube. But one.thing.at.a.time. No need to look at any decorations or dresses until I have a venue and date set. And while I’m at it, I need to organize all of it better.
I developed a list of questions for Washington, DC-area caterers based on guidance from some wedding planning books, various websites and blogs, and some plain common sense. My initial organization tool was a spreadsheet that had a column for each question so I could enter in the caterers’ However, this quickly proved impossible to use. Most caterers did not respond to our specific questions, but rather, just sent us a pricing list for various menus. Sounds like it might work, right? Hardly. Multiple menu options and pricing, various bar options, some that include service in the per-person price, others that don’t, some that include tables and linens always, some that only provide them if the venue doesn’t provide them. These are all way to many factors to include in a simple spreadsheet. Plus, it’s been difficult to keep track of who I contact. Some caterers prefer e-mail, some have a contact form on their website. I try to keep track, but it’s difficult as I just look at things in the course of a google search. You know how it is. I’m having similar difficulty tracking and streamlining the information I get from venues.
Well, this disorganized method has got to stop. Things are getting way out of hand, and it’s leading to a lot of wasted time. Although I’m a true tech-girl and initially dismissed the “wedding binder” that I have seen mentioned a few places, I think a paper form may be the way to go for this. Also, I think I need to start printing things out, that way I don’t always have to go back to my e-mail and vendor websites to find information.
So, I’ve created a form that contains fields of information that I want to collect from venues and caterers, that way, I have one, consistent looking form to refer to when I need to refresh my memory about a venue. This is my venue form. We’ve used it at all the venues we have looked at the last two weeks. It contains all the information that is important to us about a venue, and it allows us to have a uniform method of collecting and reviewing information. Anything I should add?