Organization

What our Wedding To-Do Lists Looked Like

by Melissa on April 30, 2012

For as much as I obsessed about our to-do list while planning the wedding, I posted about it here very infrequently. As nearly any bride can attest, planning a wedding is just one to-do after another up until the I Do’s!

Our General Wedding Action Plan

Way back, I outlined our wedding action plan, which was designed to spread out our big wedding tasks over the course of several months to make it manageable. Also, thanks to our unique wedding venue situation, we couldn’t book any of our vendors until just over five months until our wedding day. That meant we had several months to research the big ticket items so we’d be ready to pounce the moment our wedding was confirmed.

If you recall, the wedding action plan looked like this:

January:

  • Interview photographers
  • Compile addresses for invitations and save-the-dates
  • Identify top three photographers
  • Firm up wedding budget calculations

February:

  • Research hair and makeup artists
  • Interview videographers
  • Research marriage license requirements

March:

  • Submit application for venue
  • Design Save-the-dates, test-print
  • Interview officiants
  • Research local restaurants for catering accompaniments
  • Take some intro dance lessons
  • Develop content and design for wedding website

April:

  • Develop potential wedding songs and playlists
  • Start wedding dress shopping
  • Interview DJ’s
  • Have engagement photo shoot
  • Research cake bakeries

May:

  • Begin to obtain decor items
    — special table for bride and groom
    — layouts for ceremony and reception
    — lots of jars and candles
  • Purchase wedding dress
  • Identify items for registry
  • Interview wedding coordinators
  • Finalize website
  • Research calligraphers
  • Follow up with venue if date has not been confirmed

June:

  • Begin to design invitations
  • Finalize menu items
  • Finalize list for Out of Towner bags
  • Print and mail save-the-dates
  • Start shopping for wedding rings
  • Book photographer
  • Book DJ
  • Book Hair and Makeup
  • Book Officiant
  • Book Videographer
  • Book coordinator

July

  • Purchase wedding accessories and shoes
  • Take more dance lessons
  • Book lessons for choreographed first dance

For the most part, everything went to plan for this. Of course, there were some things we decided to eliminate (like a videographer, calligrapher, deejay, and makeup vendors) after our initial estimates and interviews. And other things got delayed a few months (I didn’t actually book a hair stylist until December, not June like the action plan had dictated), but 90% of the tasks were done in each month specified. Not too shabby!

Our Detailed Wedding To-Do List

Then it was time to get to the nitty gritty, so I developed and posted our detailed wedding to-do list after we were done with our big picture action plan. That detailed wedding to-do list consisted of 100-ish or so tasks, organized by “context” like Décor, Invitations, and Music.

That 100-ish tasks eventually morphed into a 248 task list that looked like this

detailed-wedding-to-do-list-supernovabride

 

By the way, if you’re interested to see the full shebang, including the tasks in all their crossed out glory, you can check a copy of the actual to-do list on Google Docs. And read the notes about how some tasks, like the “family tree” project were eventually nixed.

List of Last Minute Wedding To-Do’s

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, the detailed wedding task list was getting a bit unwieldy, so I also created a “Last Minute Wedding To-Do’s List” of all the things that had to be done, for the most part, in the week or two leading up to the wedding.  It looked like this:

wedding-week-to-do-list-supernovabride

 

There you have it. All our to-do lists in one place. Did yours look similar? Wasn’t it always so gratifying to cross something off the list?

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Feeling stressed during wedding planning? I’ve provided some advice on that before, but here are some additional tips to make you feel like your head is above water again!

Don’t be afraid to offend people

Just say what you mean. Say what you want. Don’t apologize for what you want, and don’t feel like you owe folks some long winded discussion of why you want (or don’t want) X, Y, or Z at your wedding.

Along those same lines, quit writing such long winded e-mails or leaving uber explanatory voicemails.

Let’s illustrate with an example. Here’s how to send an e-mail to your florist:

Can I add peonies to my bouquet?

Here’s how NOT to send an e-mail to your florist:

I was thinking about it the other day, and I’m wondering if I can add peonies to my bouquet. I realize that it might not be season for them or that they might be hard for you to get, but can you let me know if that would be possible? I saw picture of one in a magazine and just loved it! I realize that we talked about this briefly during the consultation and everything, but what can I say, I just can’t make up my mind!” 

You’re busy and your wedding vendors are busy. Save yourself time by writing quick and succinct e-mails, and save them time so they don’t have to search through paragraphs to text to find the point of your e-mail.

Follow up on your e-mails as soon as you get them.

Don’t let them languish in your inbox. If you aren’t ready to make a decision that is related to that e-mail, just reply back, “Hi, thanks for your e-mail. I haven’t made a decision about this yet, but expect to do so in the next two weeks.” If you’ve ever read David Allen’s Getting Things Done, you know how important it is to clear your mental clutter. And all those unanswered e-mails and voicemails are mental clutter. And when the person calls you or e-mails you again in a week to follow up on their now un-replied to e-mail, that will add even more to your mental clutter and stress. 

Stay organized!

I know, this is easier said than done. Here are some tips. But don’t purchase anything for the wedding unless you already have a place for it at home. Make sure you’re tracking your next steps (my new obsession is OmniFocus on my iPad, which is great for keeping track of next tasks, but I still use Google Docs extensively), and what things you’re waiting on other folks for as well (has your bridesmaid given you her measurements yet? Has your caterer made that change to the contract that you requested? It doesn’t matter what system you use, but keep track!

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I’m sure most brides do something like this for their wedding, but I just figured I’d write a post about it so that future brides can add it to their to-do lists!

For our wedding, we had a plastic bin from Target (the same plastic bins that we use to organize items in our home) that we called the “Important” box. It even had a large label to that effect.

storing-important-supplies-for-wedding-day-supernovabride

Photo we took as we were moving all our wedding supplies to our venue two days before the wedding!

Our “Important Box” Contents

  • Marriage License Paperwork for officiant to sign
  • Copies of Ceremony Readings
  • Liquor License Paperwork
  • Checks for vendors requiring payment day-of
  • Checkbook (in case we forgot to write any checks)
  • Cash payments (for vendors that only accepted cash. We also kept an extra $200 on hand)
  • Wedding rings in their jewelry boxes
  • Lego ring bearer box
  • Engagement ring box
  • Copies of all wedding contracts
  • Printed copy of spreadsheet with all vendor contact information
  • Copy of wedding invitation (photographer usually takes picture of it)

This worked fantastic! First, I liked keeping it in a larger box rather than an envelope because it was harder to misplace. Second, as long as we always knew where that box was, we knew we’d be set for the wedding. I watched that box like a hawk in the days leading up to the wedding! And our coordinator knew about the box so she could disburse vendor payments at the wedding.

Sure, there are some downsides to putting all that important stuff in one place, but to me, that was more reassuring than having it spread all over the place and among different people! For instance, I didn’t want my sister to hold on to the rings, the officiant to hold on to the readings, and the coordinator to be the only one with the vendor contact info.

Or maybe I’m just a control freak!

What about you all? Did you have something similar on your wedding day?  What items did you keep in yours that weren’t on my list?

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Frequent readers of SuperNoVABride know that I have very strong feelings about wedding-related stress. First, wedding stress is almost entirely self-imposed because planning a wedding is, frankly, not that hard. I even outlined the steps we took to ensure that our wedding was mostly stress-free!

But there were definitely times that I was overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help you handle those overwhelming times

Organize the Information you already Have

Feeling completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information you’ve been collecting or receiving? Try organizing the information you have instead of searching for more information. It will make you feel boatloads better!  Let me provide an example:

Back in August, I had been trying to make arrangements to have my hair and makeup done on my wedding day. There were some hair stylists and makeup artists that I could eliminate right away. Because, nope, sorry, I’m not spending $425 on an up-do. And, no, I’m not spending more on my makeup than I spent for my wedding dress.

But, the differences between the others vendors were very subtle, which made it very difficult to compare them. All were seemingly close in price, but everything had to be examined closely. Some provided both hair and makeup services, while others just provided one of the services, meaning I would have to book two different vendors. Some of the vendors included a trial in their estimate, some charged extra. Some of the places were located farther away and charged a travel fee based on the mileage traveled. Some charged a flat travel fee regardless of the distance. Some charged “kit fees.” Others had a minimum amount of people for which they would travel (and since we weren’t having a bridal party, that could be an issue).  All of a sudden I was feeling really confused and overwhelmed, something I never like.  I kept looking at each of the different estimates and trying to figure out the best deal!

I was loathe to create a spreadsheet comparison, because, frankly, it’s difficult to make a nice neat little spreadsheet when there are so many different variables.  How could I get all my columns to add up all nice and neatly to make sure I was comparing apples to apples?

Finally, I realized I didn’t need some perfectly designed spreadsheet with all sorts of fancy formulas.  I just needed a place where I could view all the pricing information and services for each hair and makeup vendor in one place.  So, I compiled a less-than-perfect document, which I called a snapshot view, of all the hair and makeup places. It made vendor comparisons so much easier just seeing all the information in one place.  I was quickly able to see the fees for each place, how much my cost would be, how much it would be for others getting their makeup done (my sister, my future sister-in-law, and my mom), and how much the total would be.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and trying to make a decision and compare really disparate services and prices, just compile all your information into one place.  It doesn’t have to be perfectly organized.

Step Away from the Computer

Have you ever searched for something endlessly online and not been able to find what you’re looking for? Then you know that it’s a waste of time and truly demoralizing. I can’t even begin to calculate how many hours on end I spent looking for the silliest things online. Some of the worst time wasters? Cake toppers, wedding card boxes, and ring bearer pillows. I could never make up my mind on those items. I would bounce around from Pinterest to Weddingbee Classifieds, to Craigslist classified and various wedding blogs, and then in the end, have nothing to show for it after hours of time wasted. It’s a terrible, unproductive feeling.

Limit searching, for whatever it is, to 30-45 minutes max. If you reach that maximum allotment and still haven’t found what you’re looking for, do something productive instead. Complete a task or two that will have a definite, tangible result. You’ll feel a lot better about yourself, I swear! What are some productive tasks? Try some of these: Save all your wedding contracts to a common folder, or better yet, upload them to Google Docs. Make appointments with some wedding dress stores. Make a shot list for your photographer. Do something, anything, that will have a specific outcome instead of endless researching online.

Step Away from the Computer … Part 2

Have you searched for something online using the term “unique?” Perhaps “unique wedding card boxes” or “unique wedding programs.”

Well, let me save you some time.

Whatever is showing up in those search results, is not unique. At all. I can’t even begin to quantify how many times I searched for “unique wedding program” and those damned fan programs showed up. Hmmm, if they’re in all my search results, they’re not exactly unique anymore are they?

The best ideas I had (which, if I may brag for a moment, included our Save-the-Date Card, our invitations and RSVP card, our Lego Ring Bearer box, and sewing LED lights into the hem of my dress) were the effect of two potential causes: 1) the costs of things. Because, frankly, I’m not paying $80 for some boring little ring bearer pillow. Or 2) just how generic existing options seemed. How is it possible that wedding card boxes can be SO boring?

After countless hours of searching for “unique” ideas online, I stepped away from the computer and opened one of my trusty Moleskine notebooks. And I sketched. And I erased. And I sketched some more. Or sometimes I tried freewriting (see #4).

Lo and behold, MY brain – my very uncreative and anti-crafty brain – took over. And I ended up with some very wonderful ideas. And they didn’t come from the internet!

Try Freewriting

About a year ago, I learned about freewriting in Accidental Genius. It’s a quick read, and I recommend it, but here’s the quick gist. When you’re stuck, or just want to unlock some creativity, just sit down and start WRITING. Pure, unadulterated, misspelled, run-on sentences. Computer or paper and pen, it doesn’t matter. When you run out of things to write, just write gibberish. So, for instance, if you’re stuck and can’t figure out any good ideas for your ceremony, just start writing. You’ll be amazed at what can emerge from your brain after a freewriting session. And how organized things can emerge too!

 

I’d love to hear in the comments about how others dealt with the more overwhelming moments of wedding planning!

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Setting Up Helper Stations for DIY Wedding

by Melissa on November 7, 2011

Yesterday, my wedding week to-do list included tasks like “get things organized at venue.”  Well, what the hell does that actually mean?

Anticipating that family and friends will ask what they can help with after they arrive, I’ve created a list of some of the more “menial” tasks that will need to get done as Ken and I focus on some of the bigger picture items. We’ll set up “helping stations” that include the boxes or bins related to each of the below tasks. Then we’ll ask them to cross it off our list as it’s completed. Although the helping stations will take a bit of time to set up, in the end it will save us time and preserve our sanity so that our friends and family aren’t interrupting us every two minutes to ask what they can help with and we won’t have to waste time showing them where the supplies are.

So, here’s our list of things family and friends can help us with on Wednesday and Thursday:

  • Put sand in bags for luminaries
  • Take cellophane off of board games
  • Assemble centerpieces
  • Keep fireplaces burning
  • Put batteries and SD cards into digital cameras
  • Fold and assemble ceremony programs
  • Assemble coffee supplies in wooden carrier (creamer, stirrers, napkins, tea bags, hot chocolate packets etc.)
  • Take plates, cups, napkins, etc. out of plastic wrappers (but not all in case we can return some)
  • Dishes to wash:
    • Cake stands
    • galvanized buckets
  • Break apart pieces of chocolate and put in bucket and cover with saran wrap
  • Open graham cracker packages and put in bucket and cover with saran wrap
  • Make coffee pot-sized portions of coffee grounds
  • Pour sand ceremony sand into the jars
  • Put postcards in table number holders
  • Assemble patio heaters (pack toolkit for park, including drill and chargers)
  • Organize “kids table” items (combine all crayons into one jar, take toys out of packaging, etc.)
  • Put “reserved” tape for on seats for family at ceremony site
  • Set up guest book items (including putting markers and pens in cups, putting cardstock in baskets, etc.)
  • Put empty boxes and bins in kitchen (the small room with the freezers). Stack or nest them neatly if possible

Tasks for our day of coordinator the morning of wedding

Pavilion:

  • Decorate tables (tablecloths, table runners)
  • Steam/Dewrinkle tablecloths and table runners
  • Put centerpieces, pumpkins, favors, and table “numbers” on the tables
  • Move television to pavilion?
  • Set up easels with seating charts
  • Make sure fireplaces are going strong
  • Turn on patio heaters
  • Set up dessert table with (mockup of dessert table will be on a table in mess hall)
  • Put up family wedding photos
  • Set up guest book items
  • Set up games table (small folding table with ivory tablecloth). Mockup of games table will be in mess hall

Ceremony site:

  • Put tablecloths/fabric on hay bales
  • Put out table for sand ceremony
  • Set up sand ceremony kit on table
  • Move speakers equipment to the ceremony site
  • Put out chair for classical guitarist
  • Put out table with programs

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My Wedding Week To-Do List

by Melissa on November 6, 2011

Last week I mentioned how restless I’ve been. So, I’m going to keep myself as busy and productive as possible for the next several days. I thought I’d share with you all the daily schedules I’ve created for myself.  I know a lot of this sounds very general. Tomorrow I’ll be posting more of the details (like what “getting venue organized” actually means!)

Saturday November 5 (yes, I realize this was yesterday. Just wanted to share it)

  • Movers estimate (we’re having movers take our boatload of DIY items to our venue)
  • Go to Tyson’s Corner Mall for wrap/bolero, gifts for Flower Girl and Ring Bearer at Disney Store, and waterproof mascara from MAC
  • Go to fabric store for last minute mess hall decorating idea
  • Go to AC Moore for some wooden crates

Sunday November 6

  • Go to Costco (water, paper towels, large garbage bags)
  • Get eyebrows threaded
  • Go to target for flavored coffee creamers and soda 2-liter bottles (and other various non-wedding household items of course)
  • Go to Home Depot for propane tanks for patio heaters we’ll use at wedding
  • Buy pumpkins we’re using as centerpieces
  • Make sure all details are finalized for the program

Monday November 7

  • Send program to print shop and pick up
  • Drop off handkerchief and string at florist
  • Relax. Maybe do some work from home
  • Organize supplies needed for venue
  • Put escort cards on escort card holder

Tuesday November 8

  • Do some work from home in the morning
  • Massage at 1pm
  • Manicure/Pedicure in evening

Wednesday November 9

  • Buy apple cider from Trader Joe’s (and maybe some other snacks!)
  • Buy ice cream and other sundae supplies from supermarket
  • Pick up beer kegs
  • Organize items needed for hotel Thursday
  • 12:30-2:00 Movers arrive
  • 2:15 PM Depart for venue
  • 3:00 PM Check in at venue
  • 3:00-3:30
    • Movers unload truck
    • Put everything in mess hall at first
  • 3:30-5:00
    • Get things organized
    • Ken to set up messhall deejay equipment, photobooth stuff, and televisions inside
    • Melissa to use leaf blower to clean out pavilion and use push broom to clear “aisle” path
    • Melissa to direct handymen where to put 400 lb picnic tables, how to string lights
    • Post sign listing what family and friends can help with once they arrive later in the evening (blog post about this tomorrow!)
  • 7:00 PM Start fire in pavilion fireplace
  • 8:00 PM Depart venue, drop off welcome bags at hotel
  • 9:00 PM Home, wine, sleep

Thursday November 10

  • 7:30-8:30: Shower and get ready for day (Ken loads up car with items needed for hotel, including dress, suit, etc.)
  • 8:45: Depart for venue, drop of clothes at hotel. Put in family’s hotel room for now
  • 9:45: Arrive at venue
  • 10:00-11:00: Hay bale delivery arrives
  • 11:30: Continue setting up venue
  • 2:00: Go to hotel, get checked in and organized and freshen up for rehearsal
  • 3:15: Head back to venue for rehearsal
  • 4:00: Rehearsal starts
  • 5:00: Family and friends start making rehearsal dinner (will likely be going on all day)
  • 6:00: Finish setting up venue!
  • 7:30: Depart for hotel
  • 8:00: Paint nails, listen to calming music, get all makeup and accessories out of suitcase and organized for morning

That’s it! The details of a bride’s life the week before her wedding!

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Planning a Wedding Done Right

by Melissa on September 22, 2011

Last month, I announced our intention to have, with just a few necessary exceptions, all wedding-related tasks done by mid-September.  Now that we are in the home stretch of meeting that deadline, I can say that, without a doubt, it has been the BEST decision we have made during the entire wedding planning process.  While we haven’t made our exact “September 15” deadline, we will make it within the next week or so.  Here are a few reasons why it has been a good decision.

1) To state the obvious, I’m not stressing or panicking over details at the last minute. In fact, these past few weeks have been the most busy and harried during the entire wedding planning process because we’re rushing to meet our self-imposed deadline. And you know what, I feel good that it’s happening NOW and not two weeks before the wedding instead!

2) It’s saving us money. I’m not having to pay for rush shipping charges for anything. For example, a lot of cute wedding-related items on Etsy can take sometimes four weeks or more to ship because they’re custom made. I ordered one of these wedding hangers back in July.  It took nearly five weeks to get it (which, of course the seller had clearly disclosed).  If I had waited until the last minute, I would have been paying rush charges and stressing about whether I would get it in time.  Same thing went for some rustic table number holders I ordered.  Also, an Ebay seller “forgot” to ship two large chalkboard signs that I ordered, so that was a significant delay. By thinking about everything really far in advance, I’m saving a lot of money and avoiding last minute headaches. Although I must say, money has been flowing freely out of our checking accounts as we’re in this push to get things done.

3) Tasks always take significantly longer than you plan.  For example, you can’t just “make escort cards” in one sitting.  It takes several steps.  First you have to design a template, then import or mail merge all your guest information, then do a test print, and then probably another test print. Then it’s possible that you run out of ink.  Which, in fact, is what happened when I tried to print ours just last night. As part of our self-imposed deadline, I’m printing escort cards for all our invitees and will just throw away the cards of those who RSVP no. When I tried to print the cards, the ink was low and it took about three ink jet cleanings to get it to work again. I’m glad I’m doing that now and not a week before the wedding when that would be a much bigger imposition.

4) Thinking through all this stuff now helps me combine wedding-related errands. Although I have had to make a bunch of trips to JoAnn fabrics and other craft stores recently, I’m glad I’m doing it all now that way I’m not having to drive all around this city right before the wedding trying to track down some last minute craft or supply.  In fact, if all goes well, this Friday should be my last trip to any craft stores!

Now, of course there are still things that I’m going to have to do much closer to the wedding, like my dress fitting, buying our pumpkin centerpieces, and getting a keg of beer. But I’m glad there will only be a few things to focus on in those last few weeks, and not tons of different tasks.

The only downside has been that we are really just guessing what our final guest list will be when it comes to ordering things like our favors. We’ve been saying 150 guests all along, but we invited well over 200 people. So, if more than 150 adults end up coming, I’m not sure what we’ll do about ordering more favors since we only ordered 150 of them.

But, that’s the only downside! So future brides, take note! Set an arbitrary deadline for finishing wedding-related tasks two months before your wedding. With any luck, you’ll meet it, or at least be very close!

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100birthdayprismaticballoon

Today we’re celebrating 100 posts here at SuperNoVABride.  WooHoo!  I started this blog to document my wedding planning experience.  I set the goal to have a stress-free wedding planning experience.  I thought perhaps I was being a bit naïve.  Sure, it’s a nice sounding goal and dream, but planning a wedding is just so hard, right?  Everyone just likes to tell you that it is.  Hard and Expensive.

Already-married friends and coworkers like to say, “are you going crazy yet?” now that we’re at less than three months before the wedding.

So, here’s my answer.  No, I’m not going crazy.  Yes, it’s a bit time consuming.  Sure, I’d rather be relaxing at the pool but instead I have to get our RSVP postcards designed, but it’s only as difficult and expensive as you want it to be.

Here are some things that will undeniably make it a more difficult experience:

1) Trying to please everyone / Not trusting your gut. It’s your day. Not your mom’s, not your bridemaids’, and certainly not your vendors’.  Take a few simple steps to make sure your guests have a good time and do everything else the way you want to do it.  Your caterer thinks that it will be too complicated to have an eclectic mix of vintage dishes that you want food to be served on?  Boo fucking hoo.  Your coordinator thinks you have to rent all sorts of additional tables because yours will only seat six and not eight?  Don’t be afraid to question her expertise.  We have read it all before.  Women have issues with assertiveness because we don’t want to be labeled a bitch, or in this case, even worse, a BRIDEZILLA.

Here’s a reminder of something I think we all forget sometimes about vendors.  We, as brides, are PAYING THEM.  In fact, we’re paying them a whole lotta money.   I don’t understand why we feel the need to be so skittish around them.  Just the other day I didn’t want to e-mail our venue again because I “didn’t want to be a pest.”  Well, you know what, I’m paying money and I can be a pest all I want.  No, that does not mean the same as rude, but yes, I can ask as many questions as I want and be as assertive as I need to make sure our wedding is the way we want it.

2) Being indecisive. In the The Paradox of Choice’>Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz points out that while having options is a good thing (as opposed to have one choice and one choice only), too many choices paralyzes us and ultimately affects our psychological well-being, making us less happy.  In other words, having too many choices when it comes to wedding planning ultimately makes it more stressful.

On a personal note, I always find it so unproductive as well.  For instance, I just spent 90 minutes this morning comparing concealers online.  Reading reviews, comparing prices across different websites, trying to find some random UK brand on Ebay, etc.  I just spent 90 minutes of my fucking life researching a concealer.  I definitely feel unhappy.  And after all that, I didn’t buy any because I couldn’t decide!  Talk about unproductive and having no end result!  I would’ve been much happier had I just quickly glanced at the options, bought two or three different ones, and returned the ones I didn’t like.  I’ve done this with lots of wedding-related things as well.  Having too many choices will ultimately make planning a wedding harder than it has to be.  So, do your research, but don’t go crazy, and make a decision.

3) Delaying action. Do you already know who you want to book as your ceremony musician, makeup artist, or whatever else?  What are you waiting for, just book it.  If you don’t do it as soon as you make your decision, that’ll just be one more thing creating mental clutter  In Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity’>David Allen’s Getting Things Done (whoa, that’s two book references in one post), he basically says that this type of Mental Clutter affects our ability to concentrate and get things done.

For instance, I have contracts in my inbox right now for our wedding cake and our ceremony musician.  They’ve been there for weeks, but I’ve taken no action. Plus, I have to book our reward tickets to Vegas. And each time I think about it, that’s time that I could be using to think of something else productive.  Delaying things can also cause me a bigger headache and potentially more money.  Since I have not yet booked the ceremony musician, the cake, or the airline tickets, there’s a possibility that they’re now booked on that date and I’d have to spend time researching new ones. Or there are no more free reward seats and we’d end up having to pay for our airfare!  Too much mental clutter!  So, with that said, tie up wedding loose ends as soon as they can be done, that way they’re not hanging over your head.

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Using Google Docs to Organize your Wedding

by Melissa on August 16, 2011

How we’ve used Google Docs to organize our wedding planning process.

A few weeks ago, I discussed how to find and organize inspiration for your wedding.  And, one of the very first blog posts on SuperNoVABride explained how to organize your wedding planning process. One of those ways was to use Google Docs.

So, here’s how we’ve used Google Docs to stay organized while planning a wedding.

1) Collecting Guests’ Addresses. I can’t take credit for this idea.  I read about this idea from Google itself. For folks that you have e-mail addresses for, or for folks that have Facebook or some other social networking account, you just have to send them a link to the form that you create and they can click on it and fill in all the relevant information!

Here are the fields we used in our Google Form:

  • Last Name
  • First Name
  • Your Spouse/Guest’s Name
  • Your Kid’s Names (if applicable) (large text box for this one)
  • Street Address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip Code
  • Any additional information we should know (like if your spouse or kids have different last names, or if one of you is a doctor, etc.) (large text box for this one)

2) Expense Tracking and Expense projections. I’m a freak about tracking my expenses.  If you don’t believe me, here’s a screenshot of our expenses from recent vacations.

ontario

Then, to make it fun, we have a separate expense analysis sheet to determine how all that money was spent at a quick glance.

vacationanalysis (2)

For your wedding expense tracking spreadsheet, I’d recommend setting up two tabs.  One for actual expenses and one for projected expenses.  (Don’t forget to delete your entry from projected expenses once you put it on your actual expenses tab).  This will help you 1) keep track of all the money you have spent, and 2) by including your projected expenses, you’ll ensure that you’re more aware of your actual budget situation.  Sharing the document will allow both you and your fiance (or whoever else) to add their wedding-related expenses without having to e-mail it back and forth to each other.

There are a ton of different spreadsheets you can use in Google Docs, but this is the only one I’m going to discuss in this post.  I’ll have another post about that!

3) Centralized storing of wedding contracts. Although we have a shared “weddings” folder (folders are called collections in GDocs) on Google Docs that my fiancé and I share, where we save things like our expenses spreadsheet, we created another folder specifically for “Wedding Contracts.”  We take copies of all our signed contracts and save them to the Wedding Contracts folder.  That way, we don’t have to go digging back through our e-mail to find our contracts and invoices.  We have also shared this folder with our month-of wedding coordinator so that she has everything on hand.

4) Saving correspondence with vendors. Any correspondence that you have with vendors, I always save the e-mails to our shared Weddings folder.  Once again, this will help prevent the need to go searching through your inbox for the relevant e-mails.

Benefits of Using Google Docs

1) You don’t have to constantly search through your e-mail and countless replies for document attachments.  Everything is saved in one central folder

2) You can then share that folder with all the people involved in your wedding planning process.  Then, you don’t have to forward additional e-mails to them.  All they have to do is check the updated folder.

3) It’s better than saving it to a hard drive folder alone, that way you can access it whenever you’re online, no matter what your location.

So, there you have it!  Now go! Sign up for Google Docs and get your wedding organized!

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So, I know that the weeks before a wedding can be crazy busy.  But I wonder, do they have to be? 

We’re getting married in early November.  What if, say, I were to have 98% of all wedding tasks done by mid September?  Let’s just throw out September 15 just for the heck of it.

I think it’s definitely possible.  Here are a few things that I know couldn’t be done until the weeks before the wedding.  Those things would include:
  • Final dress fitting
  • Final suit fitting
  • Buying perishable or other food type items (fudge favors, beer keg, ice, pumpkins for our centerpieces, etc.)
  • Final vendor confirmations
  • We’ll continue our dance lessons too, but that’s just for fun at this point

But what if, seriously, everything else could be done nearly two months in advance?  All decorations purchased, all remaining balances paid, all accessories bought, hair and makeup trial done, playlists made, etc.).  I think, too, that even though we won’t have a final guest list by September 15, that I’ll print out the place cards with the names of each invitee, and we can just pick the cards out of the stack that we’ll need.  Another plus?  It will force me to think of everything far enough in advance that I won’t have to pay any additional shipping.  For instance, I just ordered something from Etsy for the wedding that has a six week turnaround time!  I’m glad I ordered it early!

It just feels so liberating!  So, I think I’m going to give it a whirl and let you know how it goes.  And I’ll see what, between September 15 and the wedding date, we forgot to do and ended up having to do.

I’m not sure what made me think of this.  I was just thinking I guess of how hectic brides’ lives seem to get in the last weeks leading up to the wedding.  And I don’t want to be that bride.

I wrap up a HUGE project at work on September 9.  And, if I make my new “pretend” wedding date September 15, I can bust my ass both at work and at home on wedding-related stuff, and then chillax for nearly two months before the wedding!  And dare I say even perhaps take some sort of mini vacation in October?

So, brides, what were some of the things that took up a lot of time in the weeks leading up to the wedding?  What should I be aware of and look to take care of well before the wedding?

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