Friday, July 6, 2012

Paperwork - The Planning Kind

This would be an area of obsession for me – I love lists and spreadsheets, and wedding planning is certainly not exempt. I transfer all (okay, most) of my stress into the lists, and rely on them to know what else needs doing. I know that different people have different ways of working but here’s my advice for keeping track of your sanity for the planning part. (note: I tend on the overboard side of planning so though I think all these things are useful you might find a scaled back version more sensible!)

Firstly, work out how you’re going to manage your lists and so on – I use Google Drive, which I love because it is anywhere there is internet, which means if I need to check something during the day or when out and about I can bring it up on my work PC or my phone. Some people prefer physical files (I do also have a folder which I use for other stuff which has a few pockets reserved for wedding stuff – paper samples and receipts mainly) and you can repurpose something you already have or go ahead and get something pretty if stationery floats your boat.

We started with two documents – a guest list (which changed and morphed over about four months before we finalised it, but which gave us an initial idea of size) and a brainstorm document. The brainstorm had a list of the things we absolutely wanted, the things we didn’t want (or didn’t want to pay for in some cases), and any ideas we had which we thought would be fun. As we worked through what we wanted we added and removed from this list until it gave a sort of high level idea of the day.

Next up was the budget – I’ve talked about this before and I truly think you should have one. My personal philosophy is that if you want the most mileage out of your dollar you need to understand where it’s going – which is to say, a budget should enable you to get the wedding that best suits you because you can look at what’s costing most and trim from there if that’s not your priority.

Those checklists in every single bridal magazine ever written can be somewhat useful, but probably aren’t the best way to keep track of what’s left to do. My to-do list is my master wedding document – every time I think of something that needs to be done, I add it. It has a column for due date so I can make sure I’m on track (and can sort the list and ignore the stuff which doesn’t need to be done for ages), and a column where I mark it completed so I can filter it out and not worry about it anymore. This is really the king of relieving wedding stress, because adding things to the list means I don’t have to keep them in my head any more – I’ve read suggestions to keep a notebook and pen next to your bed so if you wake up in the middle of the night you can write down your ideas, and I see the logic in that. I started the list with obvious things, and I did check through one of those magazine checklists to make sure I wasn’t missing anything (but to be honest, half the stuff on it wasn’t relevant). Whenever someone tells me to confirm a booking by a certain date I add that too – and the more general things which just need to be done sometime before the day itself I’ve assigned dates to, just to spread the work out a bit.

A run sheet which gives an overview of what will happen when (give it to your parents/bridal party/ushers/photographer/celebrant so they know what’s happening) can be pretty useful (if your celebration is very simple/all in one location it will matter less), and we have a bunch of other documents too, which make sense for us but might not for other people – do what make sense.

Above all, don’t stress about it – I think having all these lists is the best way to stay sane, but if you hate documentation then keep it at a minimum. Keep the joy in it, people! :-D

1 comment:

  1. Hi, just come across your blog.
    Currently planning my own wedding and I love spreadsheets too. I have one all set up for menu planning with a pivot table for ingredients.
    Would love to see a template of your wedding one if you don't mind sharing