A Washingtonian Wedding: Keeping It Together

A bride-to-be’s advice on staying organized.

One afternoon as I pulled out of my Mary Poppins bag the ungainly three-inch wedding binder, one of Drew’s roommates asked whether all brides had one. From what he had seen, all to-be brides wielded large three-ring binders with colorful tabs separating wedding-planning categories: dress, cake, photographer, reception . . . .

Maybe this should have been my first post: tips on how to keep it all together. Well, better late than never.

If you’re anything like me, you pine for the good old days of back-to-school shopping in the fall. Getting engaged is an excuse to go supply shopping! I’d suggest a big three-ring binder, tabbed page dividers, a three-hole-punched calendar, a highlighter, and maybe a purple-inked pen (but that’s just me).

I bought dividers with tabs and pockets and labeled them as follows: Wedding Cake, Bridal Gown, Photographer, Florist, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Wedding Party, Budget, Invitations, Guest List, Reception, Ceremony, and Honeymoon. In each of those, I have magazine pages of “looks” I like, payment due dates, fabric swatches, invoices and receipts, contact information, business cards, wedding-day hair appointments, etc. I put everything wedding-related in that binder so it’s all together in one place.

On the calendar, I’ve written in the important dates: rehearsal dinner, wedding, bachelorette party/wedding shower (more on that later), and also payment due dates. There’s the down payment on the photographer, florist, and cake maker, installments for the reception site, payment for the dress . . . so it definitely helps to keep those straight. You can also set goal dates on the calendar. For example, send out invitations on X date, schedule meeting with photographer by X date. Adding those to Outlook’s reminders or on a BlackBerry might be good, too.

But I’m lucky: I have a mother doubling as a highly organized wedding coordinator!

Emily, a Washington bride-to-be, writes every Friday about planning her wedding, which will be in Nashville this August. To follow her adventures from the beginning, click here.

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