So I have fallen behind on my commitment to blog weekly. I haven’t posted in a long minute but I am definitely wanting to get back, and re-commit myself to creating. Being creative, for me, is an outlet from regular life and really makes me a happier person.
The reason for my blogging hiatus…I became one of those DIY brides and it took up way more of my energy and time then it probably should have. Well maybe that sounds bad. I don’t want to make it sound like putting a crazy amount of time and energy into your wedding is a bad thing, but holy cow I don’t know…I really don’t know if I think a wedding is worth giving up every extra minute in life that you have to yourself. I think a marriage is definitely worth a crazy amount of time and energy but a wedding? I don’t know. Yes I had a beautiful day. No it wasn’t perfect. Did my spending hours upon hours planning and prepping every little tiny detail make it any better? Meh maybe, but had I not spent all those hours would I have felt like I didn’t do everything I possibly could? Probably. OK now I am just rambling So should I go on and make one of those lists of 10 Things You Need To Know When Planning A DIY Wedding or 13 Things You Shouldn’t Do If You Want Your Wedding To Be Perfect OR even 21 Things to Make An Unforgettable Wedding For One Day Of Your Entire Life That Is Expected To Be The Best Day Of Your Life, But Maybe Isn’t Because You Do Have Many Other Days In Your Life Where Good Things Could Happen Without Having To Plan A Million Details And Spend A Crazy Amount Of Money (Ok maybe that last one wouldn’t be seen on a cover of a bridal magazine)
I should reiterate that I did like my wedding. I love that I am now married to the person I want to spend my life with, but I do think I went a little overboard with the planning and didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have. The week before as I was in the eye of the storm a.k.a last minute planning, I really did keep telling myself to take the time out to enjoy the little things but once you’re in the middle of that tornado it is really hard to get out and get perspective.
So for some advice on wedding planning for those planner girls that are just starting or in the middle of the storm, if you can’t get out of the craziness that is planning and DIY prepping at least ask for help. My ladies were fantastic for helping me, and I had so many people that wanted to help me decorate but one thing I didn’t plan was how to accept the help. That may sound funny for those who know how to accept help but for me who is almost always the one in charge and like to do things for myself, I forgot to plan for help. I had a vision in my head of how I wanted it all to be and I had so many people that wanted to do things and wanted to help but I didn’t have a plan of how to direct them, which ended up getting me more stressed then it should have. Learning to ask for help or even accept help that is offered is definitely hard for a person who is very detailed oriented and a perfectionist.
From a Planner format point of view, I had only really started to get into the planner community after I had started to plan my wedding. I had always been a planner girl at heart, but didn’t know the community existed until mid way through my planning. When I got engaged my mom bought me a wedding planner book that was a good starting point for me. However it was a bit bulky and really seemed to be designed for someone with a million dollar wedding budget, or at least a budget that way exceeded mine. It was super detailed which was great but that was also it’s downfall as well. It had pages to plan for when you have your mail redirected while you are on your honeymoon. For me it has been great for a memory keeper and was great to help me design what I wanted to have in my own planner, but wasn’t my go to planner while planning (how many times can I say the word planner and planning in the same sentence lol)
I felt like I was already too far into the planning of my wedding when I found a couple other wedding planners that I liked, such as the Happy Planner wedding inserts and the Kate Spade wedding planner. But even those two were too detailed for what I was looking for. So since I knew my wedding was going to be mostly DIY anyhow, I went out a purchased a notebook, I put some washi tape down the front of it, made a table of contents in the front and tabbed out the sections with washi. I figured if I couldn’t find what I needed then I would just make my own.
For me it turned out to be exactly what I needed. I am a planner by nature which makes me seem organized but I am also a last minute planner. The majority of my wedding planning was done in a month or less of the wedding (that may be why I felt like I went overboard with planning). I also work 45-50 hours per week so I needed something small enough to carry with me to work for when I got an idea or needed to call a vendor. For me, although it isn’t as pretty the commercially made planners, and it is just a simple notebook, it was what helped me stay on track and keep myself from going crazy (until the week before) If someone who has planned, made their decorations, bouquets, designed their receptions, and decorated the space and managed to stay calm and collected the last week before your wedding, I want to know how you did it. Second thought—you are superhuman and I don’t want to know and feel bad about myself.
I know you can find this information in many places, and it is super simple and common sense, I still want to share the sections I divided the notebook into, what sections I really used, and what I later had to add in.
Mater To Do List- I later divided this section out a bit more, but I needed a place where I could write down everything I had to do and then organize it into the other sections. I also divided this section up and had a section for what I called ‘brain dump’. When wedding planning I had a million things running through my head about the wedding at any given moment. I would be at work and all of a sudden remember a phone call I needed to make, or I would be talking to a friend about the wedding and think of a great decorating idea. I wanted a place that I could write down whatever came to mind, even if I didn’t use the idea later. I would then read through this section when I had time to myself and decide if I was going to use the idea, if so I would then put it into the right section of the book.
Wedding Venue- Obviously it is common sense that you would need a space to organize the wedding venue, but unlike many wedding planning books that had so many details that I didn’t need like ten spots to put different wedding venue options that I wasn’t going to use, I wanted to be able to write just what I needed. So I used the first page to write down ideas for wedding venues and any emails I sent off. My next page was for the wedding venues I chose. I had my ceremony and first reception in one location, and then had another location for a second reception and dance. I used this space also to write down questions I had for my wedding venue people. Again I used my first section of brain dump if questions popped in my head, and then when I was actually asking them and getting answers they went into this section. I didn’t want anything in the main sections if they weren’t acted on. This meant I could look at my one section in the beginning of my planner to see all unfinished ideas and things that needed to be done. I found the main flaw (for me) in wedding planners is that you need to look through each section to see where you are at.
Reception- Again I had two receptions so I divided this into the two receptions and keep all my notes for them in this section.
Food- I didn’t really use this section as much, mainly because the food was at both my receptions and I didn’t really need a space dedicated to it.
His- I used this space to write down where we were renting the suits and when they had to be return. Pretty basic sections.
Hers- I used this space as part memory keeper. I wanted to keep track of some of the dresses I tried on and the shopping trips with my girls and my mom.
Invitations- I had so many ideas for invitations. I used this section to keep track of all my ideas for save the dates, invitations, and all other stationery.
Decorations- I wanted a space for my DIY ideas for the decorations, and also wanted to keep track of the decorations I had purchased. I found this helpful in the last couple weeks, when I had an office full of boxes of decorations but couldn’t organize in my head what I still needed and where everything was going to fit. This section helped with that, but I still ended up returning a bunch of decorations we didn’t use because I overbought by a lot! Better to have too much then not enough I guess.
Ceremony- This section I kept all our information for what we wanted to do for our ceremony. I also did a timeline for the day and all my plans for the rehearsal.
Legal- This section was small but was necessary, it was a difficult job to get our marriage license. I swear we tried three times to get it. We kept going to an office where they said we could get it, but was there too late once, the person left early the second time, and I can’t remember the third try #smalltownproblems. Anyhow I keep track of where we could get our marriage licence, the costs, etc.
Dates to Remember- this section was for memory keeping purposes and I used for due dates of fees and such. I wanted a place to write down the date Alex purposed, the date I got my dress, and other memory keeping dates. But I also needed a space for when I needed to send out invitations, more as a timeline. I do regret not drawing in a calendar in the front of the notebook.
Budget- I am not good with budgets. I repeat I am not good with budgets. I didn’t give myself an overall budget for the wedding. I had an idea in mind for each section of the wedding and I knew we were trying to not spend a ton on the wedding but I never actually came up with a budget. I used this section more as a tracker for what I was spending. After I bought things I would write down what I bought and how much it cost. I still have yet to calculate how much we spent. I don’t probably want to know.
Contacts- I put this in the back of the book. I wanted a quick reference for phone numbers and emails of vendors and also wanted everyone that was involved in the wedding like my mom and bridesmaids, just in case of an emergency during the wedding and someone needed to be contacted.
I think for me creating my own wedding planner was my best choice. I liked having the open space for me to decide what I wanted to do with each page. I like being able to write a to-do list or a shopping list down a side of a page if I needed one. Or if I thought of a section which I later did of floral arrangements I could add that in. Since I was making the majority of mine I wanted a page dedicated to them. Although it may not be as pretty as a Kate Spade wedding planner, it worked for me. I am always striving to find the balance between practical and pretty in my regular planner, and this planner was the same. After struggling to make a ‘pretty’ wedding planner work for me, I think it was the best decision to make my own and have it be practical for me. I know for a lot of people those planners do work, obviously they do, many people purchase them. I do suggest purchasing something that works for you, and if you can’t find it don’t be afraid to create it.