Get Organized for Wedding Planning!

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Get Organized for Wedding Planning!

By: Stacey Agin Murray

You've had friends to your home for dinner. Maybe you've hosted a Super Bowl party or two. But have you ever planned and coordinated an event for 50-300 guests?

If you haven't, then welcome to the world of wedding planning.

Caterers, florists, and other wedding-related companies will be banging down your door to get your business. Friends and relatives will offer advice, phone numbers, and web sites for you to check out. How will you juggle the multitudes of research and information from those who want your day to be special? The key to smooth and stress-reducing wedding planning is...

Being Organized

Being organized is the art of having the things you need when you need them whether it is a brochure, a phone number, or a picture of your ultimate bridal bouquet. And no one recognizes the need to be organized more than someone who is planning a wedding. A few organizing techniques you can use to help you plan your wedding are the consistent use of a calendar/PDA and making 'to-do lists.' But what about all of those wedding-related papers you've accumulated? Estimates from caterers, song sheets from bands, and all of those pictures you tore out of magazines--how are you supposed to keep them all organized?

The Wedding Binder

The top tool for organized wedding planning is a 'Wedding Binder.' Besides your future spouse, your 'Wedding Binder' will be the closest thing to a best friend you'll have during your engagement period. The wedding binder is essentially a 'home' for all wedding-related information. Each topic will have a specific area in the binder allowing for quick referencing and retrieval.

How should you build your wedding binder to work best for you?

The size of your wedding and how many 'extras' you incorporate into your wedding day (ex. ice sculptures, doves) will determine the size of your binder. If you are having a small, simple gathering or you're not doing much research, you may not need more than a 1" spine. Large gatherings with many 'extras' will probably require a binder with upwards of a 3" spine.

Besides the binder itself, you will need:

  • three hole punched, two-sided pocket folders

  • extra wide dividers or self adhesive divider tabs for the pocket folders

  • three hole punched, zippered pocket for pen/pencils/paper clips (optional)

One, two-sided pocket folder is usually enough room for the paperwork of one vendor. One side of the pocket folder is for ideas and research and the other side is for estimates and contracts. Keeping these different types of information separate will allow you to locate them and retrieve at a moment's notice.

Examples of some categories for your pocket folders are...

  • Catering

  • Photography

  • Bridal Gown

  • Transportation

  • Ceremony/Officiant(s)

  • Honeymoon

Assemble the pocket folders in order of importance to you. If you are constantly making calls to your caterer, place that folder towards the front of the binder. Already know what favors you want to give out? Place that folder towards the back.

What other information can be stored in your wedding binder?

  • Guest lists/gift lists

  • E-mail/phone list of bridal party members

  • Seating charts

  • A print-out of your registry

Benefits to using a wedding binder

  • Money-saving benefit: You're always prepared when a vendor wants to talk about price. If someone quotes you a price in writing and you can't produce the paper it's written on, they could try to charge you more money for their services.

  • Time-saving benefit: Since all of your information has a 'home,' you won't be wasting your time printing duplicate information off the internet or repeatedly asking for the addresses of your guests.

  • Sanity-saving benefit: All of your wedding information is in one place. No need to take apart your living room looking for what you need.

Tips for keeping an organized wedding binder:

  • Label the pocket folders clearly

  • Place new papers/information in the correct pocket of your binder as soon as you receive them.

  • Sort and purge your binder once a month. Toss any information that is no longer relevant in the trash or in a folder for a friend or relative who may need it in the future.

Always bring your wedding binder with you when meeting with your vendors. You'll have all the information you need to compare prices and make educated decisions. You will be organized, prepared and in control of your special day.

About The Author

Stacey Agin Murray, professional organizer and owner of Organized Artistry, LLC, transforms mess into masterpiece with patience, organizing know-how, and a sense of humor. For a free e-list of 'Top Ten Tips for Organized Living,' or to order your copy of '7 Steps to an Organized Wedding Thank You Note' visit


Sevavarshini 20.03.2010. 07:44

How to develope Wedding planning business in Chennai? We are the first registered wedding planning company in Chennai. Would like to give total solutions to the clients. But still the market is total a unorganized one. Most of the caterers fix their own pricing without any cost analysis and service. But most of the clients/peoples falling in to these unorganized setups and burning their figures. Seeking good ideas to promote this good business.
Thanks and regards


Admin 20.03.2010. 07:44

I think you have chosen a right kind of business and only thing needed here is patience and stamina.

The few suggestions are
1) You can rope with Marriage brokers and agencies.
2) You can create an online marriage support services and slowly get in to the fullfledged services.
3) You can organize gettogethers for epople who can influence.
4) You can contact community niches and organizations.
5) You can arrange for a strategy to bringforth word of mouth support.
6) You can focus on printers and marriage halls and arrange for low level of advertisements.
7) You can take up a big marriage show and do everything free of cost and shall use it for long term positioning.

All the best

V C Malarmannan


M 30.01.2011. 05:29

What it the best wedding planning workbook/guide? I just got engaged and I'm getting married in October. I will be planning the wedding by myself. I have no idea what I'm doing and was wondering if anyone could tell me a good wedding planning book/guide that would be suitable for someone like me. Thank you very much!


Admin 30.01.2011. 05:29

The Knot's site helped me plan my wedding.

There are lots of wedding planning books available on Amazon - check the reviews to see which one will suit your needs.

Don't let the planning stress you out - this is supposed to be a happy time. Just keep yourself organized (I kept a notebook with me at all times) and remember that it's only a party. It's not worth going crazy over.


Pookie 12.02.2009. 01:34

Does a maid of honor typically help with wedding planning or no? I am wanting to clarify if in your experience, as a bride or MOH or even etiquette, does a MOH help with the wedding planning?
i just emailed my maid of honor telling her that I am overwhelmed and need help with the planning, she replied that she isnt my personal weding planner and that this isnt her responsibility, this is why I am asking, I am really upset about it.
I basically need help wtih picking my colors, she told me I ask to much from people and I am being selfish, she also said she is also overwhelmed with work things right now, I was just looking to see if I was being unreasonable asking for some help with ideas


Admin 12.02.2009. 01:34

"What are the duties of a Maid of Honor? We went to the ultimate source to find a comprehensive answer for you. Emily's Post's Wedding Etiquette lists the following responsibilities for the Maid of Honor:

Help the bride choose the bridesmaids' attire.
Help address invitations and place cards.
Attend as many prenuptial events as possible.
Organizes bridesmaids' gift to the bride; usually gives an individual gift to the couple as well.
Makes sure that all the bridesmaids, the flower girl and ring bearer are at fittings, the rehearsal, and the ceremony on time.
Is expected to attend the rehearsal and is included at the rehearsal dinner.
Takes part in the processional and recessional
Hold the ring which the bride will present to the groom.
Helps maintain the brides gown before, during, and after the ceremony. This includes helping her change out of it if she plans to change into going-away clothing.
Ensures that the bridal gown and accessories are well cared for after the wedding and until the bride is able to have them attended to.
Arranges the bride's veil and train for the processional, recessional and photography.
During the ceremony the maid of honor holds the bride's bouquet.
Is a witness to the signing of the marriage certificate.
If a receiving line is used, the Maid of Honor usually stands in it.
Is responsible for making sure the bride adheres to the schedule.
The maid of the honor is expected to pay for her own wedding attire and transportation to the wedding.
While the maid of honor isn't required to host the bridal shower. Ms. Post notes that the family of the bride is not to do it. This generally leaves the attendants (of which the maid of honor is the head attendant) to throw the shower. We suggest that the maid of honor co-host the bridal shower.
Most bachelorette parties are hosted by the maid of honor.


aresthebat<3 18.01.2009. 22:47

What should I do to go about becoming a wedding planner someday? I am going in to high school next year and my school is encouraging us to start thinking about what we are going to do to prepare for our dream job. I love planning events and organizing so I want to look into wedding planning. What are your suggestions? A business class in high school would be a good step to take right?


Admin 18.01.2009. 22:47

Talk to some Professional Caterers who specialize in that stuff....a big part of their Catering Business is hosting weddings and thats where you would come in a Wedding Planner. Weddings are very, very expensive...some people drop $50,000 to $100,000 on them.

you would want to some Take some
Business Management, Marketing, Economic and
Computer Information Technology classes too to help you get an edge on this field.

here are some numbers on how much Wedding Planners make


colettespurplecat 04.06.2009. 15:35

Would you employ the assistance of a wedding planner for your big day? My friend and I are hoping to start up a wedding planning business and would really appreciate some feedback from people who have used one or have had any experience in this field. Thanks!


Admin 04.06.2009. 15:35

I personally wouldn't b/c I like to plan things like these and I don't really care if the day of if things run a bit slow/fast and some things don't work out. Plus I am on a strict budget.

I don't think I will but I could see myself using them the day of to co-ordinate everything in the background and to keep all the vendors in check.

I could see someone with a little more money to boot (doesn't have to be lots) hiring a planner. Also if they really aren't the organizing, decision-making type.


Jaimee 14.06.2012. 07:35

If I want to do Events Management and Business at University, what subjects would I have to do now? I'm currently in grade 9 and would like to go to university to study Events Management and Business. I would like to specifically organise tours and concerts. If it is completely impossible i'm happy with wedding planning. I would really like to know what subjects I should be doing now, some places I could study in either Melbourne, Sydney (Both in Australia) or Auckland (in New Zealand). Also how much would the courses cost? Thanks in advance!


Admin 14.06.2012. 07:35

Firstly, although it isn't impossible, organizing tours and concerts are the top reason people study Events Management so competition is fierce and people more often get jobs through luck and "who they know" rather than skill or education. It's good you're realistic and have a back up though.

Below are links to event management courses from both Sydney and Melbourne. All they require is for you to finish high school and pass English. The requirements aren't too high.

In saying that, you should looks at the subjects in the course outlines and choose subjects you think could give you a good basic understanding and help you. I suggest you study subjects like: English, maths (a basic maths course is all you need), accounting, business studies, tourism, economics. If your school doesn't have some of those subjects, try doing subjects that you know need event planners. Understanding those areas and what those people need and do would help you be a better planner. This means doing subjects like: music, PE (physicial education, sport), home economics etc.

The course would go on HELP debt (formerly known as HECS) if you are an Australian citizen, meaning you don't pay until you earn enough money. Then it's slowly paid through taxes.


Scarlet Belle 21.05.2012. 04:15

Average salary for a self employed wedding planner working full time in Melbourne? In a few years I plan on starting my own business at the age of twenty in wedding planning. I know I may not make a lot to start out with but eventually how much do you think I'll be earning considering I'll be charging around $3000 or more for each wedding?

Scarlet Belle

Admin 21.05.2012. 04:15

From zero to hundreds of $,000s depending on how good you are at organizing weddings and how good you are as a business person.

Also do the sums: $3000 x no of weddings less overheads = income.

However, isn't $3000 conservative these days for a wedding?


? 24.01.2012. 22:42

How much wedding planning did your fiance help you with? My fiance and I are having a DIY wedding. I doing most of all of the DIY projects since I'm the one who is super crafty. My fiance has helped me designing the seating chart and save-the-date card wording. He has also made a song for our wedding. We both registered for our gifts together. We've picked out songs for our wedding. How much planning did your fiance help you with? I want to give him more projects to do.


Admin 24.01.2012. 22:42

When it came to the wedding planning, he was involved with 100% of it at all times, even more than I was. He got the flowers sorted, we both did the music, he did his tuxes, he picked out most of the menu, we did the cake deciding, he did most of the decoration deciding, he found the invitations, my mother and I found the tables, we chose the location together, I chose my dress, he found the bridesmaids dresses (you read that right, HE found them, LOL), he found the wedding rings, we registered for gifts, and we both decided on the date.

It's not that I wasn't interested or wasn't helpful. He's way more organized than I am and enjoys planning things out like this. I'm not so good at it, but everything that he decided on, you bet we talked about it first. He just happened to have the discipline and took the time to find it, LOL.


CrisaRei 02.02.2010. 01:24

How did you plan your wedding? I am getting married in two months and I need some ideas on how to get a little more organized. I was wondering how you managed guest lists, budgets, seating charts, RSVP, thank you notes, invitations, locations, etc. Currently, I am using Microsoft Excel for a guest list, but I was wondering what type of software is good for wedding planning or is it better to write everything out?

How did you plan your wedding?
I didn't mean two months, hahaa, I meant ten months. That makes a huge difference, doesn't it?


Admin 02.02.2010. 01:24

Hi CrisaRei & Best Wishes on your upcoming nuptials! The next few months are going to fly by, so your desire to get organized now is a great idea as you'll want to set things aside for a week or so prior to the wedding (as much as possible) so that you can relax. In other words, you need to have everything nailed down by several weeks prior to your wedding.

While Excel is good for a guest list, (as is Word) usually you can only access this on your home computer. So what happens when you are at work & remember a few people that you want to add to your list? Or when you're at your Mother's house & need to modify addresses for your Aunt & Uncle who just moved so that the invitation reaches them?

I highly advise using an inexpensive web-based software that you can access from anywhere-- at work where you might need to add someone on your guest list without access to home computer. Choosing a web-based software keeps accessibility at your fingertips. You can access your guest lists, your gift lists & all of the things in between which allow you to enjoy a stress-free day.

I've got over 20 years of experience in the Wedding / Event planning industry & recently discovered a very good web-based wedding planning software that I've been recommending to many of my clients. Check out & look for access to a 25% off coupon.

Hope this Helps!


kat81886 14.10.2006. 11:48

Recently engaged . . Any suggestions for a wedding planning book? I recently became engaged to the love of my life; however, I need help with planning my wedding. If anyone has any suggestions for a good wedding planning book, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks.


Admin 14.10.2006. 11:48

I would avoid the books personally, go online to websites like and (my personal fave b/c they have more variety in pics of things to get ideas from) and flip through bridal magazines to get an idea of what all you will need, and create a wedding binder filled with all your ideas and pics. You can keep all your wedding contracts and receips in their also so you will be organized! Also, Its a good place to keep your guest list and registry stuff, It has really helped me to have it! congrats and good luck!


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