DIY Bridal Binder
I know i've said this before, but I am a planner and a stresser. To help me combat that stress and stay organized at home and at work, I make little notes on post-its or in my phone to help me remember things. When planning a wedding, it is so easy to get lost in all of the vendor emails, phone calls, appointments etc. so I've been doing a lot of research on finding the best bridal planner out there for me. I wanted very specific things - a checklist, places for me to write my own thoughts and ideas, a folder to keep my contracts together etc. While there are many, and I mean MANY wedding planning binders/books, none had everything I wanted, so I decided to make my own.
You can customize this binder however you want - I'm going to share what I did and hopefully that will inspire you to make your perfect wedding planner, too (and for half the cost!!!). I got in the car and headed to Target for things I would need: a binder, binder tabs, loose leaf paper, a folder and a notebook. Once home, I made a list of things most important to me and that i'd need the most organization with. I bought a total of 10 insert tabs/dividers so I could add more as needed. My tabs include:
- Venue Info
- Bridal Party and Groomsman Info
- DJ Info
- Ideas/Vendor Ideas
- Hair and Makeup
In each tab i've written out all the vendor information I have - the name of the place, phone number, contact person and email. I also included how much this vendor costs and any deposits or payments we've made so far, and the date we gave it. The most important thing for me though was being able to write notes. For instance, our venue gave us floor plan options and confirmed a few things for me yesterday. On the page, I wrote who I spoke to, what we talked about, and the things we confirmed together. That way in nine months when i'm sitting here thinking "I know we had a plan for that", I can look under the venues tab and see that on October 25, we confirmed this floor plan and can then go find the original email. That may sound a bit excessive, but it helps to remind myself, and you never know what could happen in wedding planning. You could confirm something with someone and months later they say you never talked about that. But being organized and having it written down, you could go to your binder, find the date and the email or conversation you had and can show them. I always plan for the worst and hope for the best in important situations like these. Below I have a picture of what I my vendor page looks like (I blurred out some of the prices but you get the idea - to the right by the venue name is how much we will owe total, deposit up top, and some other info on the bottom that has to be kept secret (: ).
Another big help for me has been a wedding planner I bought off of Etsy. This has the checklist I wanted, plus a few extra things I think will be very helpful. You can find the same one here, or just search a printable one on etsy! It even has a tab for reception seating chart AND list so both are great to have! I also bought a small folder to hold all of our contracts! That way, they're all in once place and I won't lose them. I keep any pictures for ideas I have in the binders from pocket.
Last but not least, I bought a small notebook to carry with me for when I think of an idea, question, thing to do, so on and so forth. That way, I have all my ideas in one place, but aren't carrying around my big binder. Once something is official, I put it on the corresponding vendor page in the binder. But anything temporary, I write in my notebook until I know for sure. I also have a page in there for deposits, totals due etc. but it is more detailed. My to do list of things I thought of that I need is in there, and also phone conversations i've had with vendors so I can remember to add that to the binder. Having this smaller notebook makes it easy to plan our wedding while i'm not home because it fits right in my purse! You never know what you'll think of during the day or who will contact you about something. Having this has made it easier to write any thought at any time!
Again, you can make this binder exactly how you need it! That's what makes this so fun - you can add anything as you go because it is completely customizable. PLUS, what makes this the best ever, it that is costed me $15 total (not including the Etsy planner)! And depending on the binder or notebook you get, it could cost even less!! I went with a pretty binder and notebook, but my loose paper, dividers, and folder were all 99 cents! Most wedding planners are at an upwards of $25-$30 and that's for a standard one. There are also more expensive ones like Kate Spade's or Erin Condren's for $48+!!! This was something I was able to make myself for over half the cost and it is everything I needed! While I'm sure Kate and Erin make amazing planners, I don't think mine is half bad!
If you'd like to know more about how I put this together or have any questions, feel free to reach out and I'll help in any way I can!