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Make Your Own Personalised Wedding Planner File

This article is part of the bigger Essential Wedding Tips” guidance. Be sure to check it out for useful tips and advice on planning your beautiful wedding day.

You Need a Personalised Wedding Planner File

Not only is keeping a personalised wedding planner file a great tool for the journey to your big day, it is also a beautiful keepsake of memories for the future to reflect and look back on how you came to the choices you came to. Planning a wedding takes a lot of preparation. You will want somewhere to keep all of your wedding plan ideas, wedding inspiration, mood boards, snippets and cuttings. You will need a place where you can easily source the information you gathered months ago.

The single most important thing you need to do to make planning your wedding easy and fun is to be organised. This means you need a way to keep all of your wedding contact information, reservation contracts and other information together in one place where you can easily find them. The best way to do this is with a large lever arch ring binder file. Yes, I’m all for using technology, and you can technically do this on your computer, but having a static physical wedding planner file is a much more user friendly approach: especially once you start getting receipts and contracts coming in with physical signatures.

You can set up sections for your ceremony, reception, stationery and so much more (we’ll talk more about that in more detail later). Here’s how to do it…

 

Materials Needed For Your Personalised Wedding Planner File:

  • 1 large lever arch file/ring binder
  • Tab divider pages
  • Lined loose-leaf paper
  • Clear, top-loading plastic protector sheets
  • Post-it Note Tabs
  • Any decorative materials you might want to use to personalise your planner

 

How To Put Your Personalised Wedding Planner File Together

Putting your personalised wedding planner file together needs to be logical. What I lay out as a recommendation is a recommendation only based on the order I think will make your planning easier. You can, of course, do it in the order that works best for you. It’s your wedding. They’re your plans. Do what feels right for you.

Taking your tab pages, label each one with the following names:

 

Section One – Your Wedding Vision

In this section, you should include the following initial wedding vision ideas and information, this is especially important if you are choosing to theme your wedding, as you want to get the look and feel exactly right:

  1. Your wedding countdown calendar (with key deadlines so you know precisely when certain tasks need to have been completed)
  2. Your wedding vision: create a list of your “must haves” and priorities – this will keep you focused, and include any initial images, pictures, photos, and website links you have already gained inspiration from.
  3. Your initial wedding guest list (it is essential that you know the approximate size of your wedding party before you begin planning and confirming any bookings)

 

Section Two – Your Wedding Budget

In this section, you will manage your finances and keep close records of all of your expenditure. It is worth dedicating a section just to the breakdown of who is contributing to the overall budget and knowing who you can call on for additional financial help if required:

  1. Keep your budget / expense summary sheet here  (you can down our free Wedding Planner Budget tool here) with estimated costs, actual costs, who’s paying for each item and notes to remind yourself of certain facts
  2. Keep your deposit and full-purchase receipts safely together
  3. Details of any financing you are securing (e.g. loans)

 

Section Three – Wedding Ceremony

Perhaps the most important section of your wedding planner file, although it will feel quite short in comparison to the rest. But without the ceremony, there is no actual wedding – don’t leave this section to the last minute to plan and prepare. this should be right up there with budgeting for initial arrangements and securing dates:

  1. Details on ceremony location (including contract if necessary)
  2. Details on your celebrant / officiant / minister (including contract if necessary)
  3. Attendant information & contact details
  4. Marriage registration information
  5. Any readings, extracts, songs/hymns you might like to include in your wedding ceremony
  6. Venue guidelines/rules
  7. Any additional ritual or symbolic ideas you might have (e.g. dove release, string quartet etc)
  8. Ceremony rehearsal information

 

Section Four – Wedding Reception(s)

Whether you are having just one wedding reception, or if you are having a formal wedding breakfast and then an evening reception, you need to organise the information here. In this section you should include:

  1. Location rental/venue(s)
  2. Caterer information and details
  3. Catering menu selections
  4. Drinks/beverages selections
  5. Cake designer information and details
  6. Master of Ceremonies information and details
  7. Hospitality/room rental for overnight stays
  8. Child activities/minding information
  9. Wedding favours ideas
  10. Guest Book ideas
  11. Bridal party gift list
  12. Any additional equipment/furniture rentals required
  13. Evening reception guest list (if different from the ceremony list)
  14. All contracts

 

Section Five – Flowers and Decorations

At first glance, this seems like a pretty simple thing to organise – that is until you see the volume of details. Keep clear records and information on the following aspects. Remember: the flowers and decoration will create the overall feel for your big wedding day celebrations. Knowing what you want and where you are going to source them is vital:

  1. Flowers for personal attire (florist details and selections)
  2. Flowers for bouquet(s) (florist details and selections)
  3. Flowers for ceremony venue (florist details and selections)
  4. Flowers for reception venue (florist details and selections – including any centre-pieces)
  5. Decorations for ceremony venue (ideas and details of suppliers you can use)
  6. Lighting for ceremony venue (ideas and details of suppliers you can use)
  7. Decorations for reception venue (ideas and details of suppliers you can use)
  8. Lighting for reception venue (ideas and details of suppliers you can use)
  9. Any contract(s)

 

Section Six – Music & Entertainment

You will need to choose music for the wedding ceremony and the reception/evening event. Make sure you include the choices you have made (especially for the all-important First Dance), and you can discuss at length with any band or DJ the styles and numbers you definitely want to be played. In this section include:

  1. Music selections for the ceremony
  2. Music selections for the reception
  3. DJ/musicians contact information and details
  4. Contract(s) for your entertainers/musicians

 

Section Seven – Photography/Videography

When meeting with photographers it is useful to have a style in mind for them to see what you are hoping for in your wedding photos, so definitely go with some image ideas so they can see and advise you on what is best. In this section of your wedding planner file you should keep:

  1. Photographer details and information
  2. Videographer details and information
  3. Images of weddings collected for demonstrating to potential photographers
  4. Newspaper announcements & cuttings
  5. Your engagement photos
  6. Photo album information for purchasing your future wedding album
  7. Video ideas (where would you like filmed and how you might want the day captured)
  8. Contract(s)

 

Section Eight – Stationery

It is useful to keep some ideas for the stationery styles you would like to use. If you are considering using a designer to craft your very own designs then be sure to keep a record of their details and to show them examples of stationery that inspires you. In this section:

  1. Save the Date notes
  2. Invitation/RSVP cards
  3. Thank you cards
  4. Programmes/Order of Service
  5. Seating Charts/Placeholders
  6. Menus
  7. Designer/supplier information and details
  8. Printers information and details
  9. Contract(s) if necessary

 

Section Nine – Wedding Attire

Here you are looking at the style and image of what everyone will be wearing. Lots of pictures and images to influence you and inspire your look on the days should go into this. AND DON’T FORGET THE WEDDING RINGS!

  1. Wedding dress (supplier/designer details and fitting/collection information)
  2. Headpiece and veil (supplier/designer details and information)
  3. Accessories (supplier(s) information)
  4. Groom’s attire (supplier(s) information)
  5. Attendant’s attire & accessories (supplier(s) information)
  6. Wedding Rings (jewellers information and contact details – fitting dates and adjustments information)
  7. Hair & Beauty styles (beautician contact details and information)
  8. Contract(s) and guarantees if necessary

 

Section Ten – Transportation

Keep a concise record of this, especially anything to do with contracts and insurance. You will want to keep double checking this information and know that you have contact details to hand so that your day flows smoothly – if you are moving between venues this will be particularly important:

  1. Transportation contracts and information for bridal cars
  2. Transportation contracts and information for guest carriage

 

Section Eleven – Bride & Groom Checklists

You might think you’ve got everything covered, but there is an old saying: “assumption is the mother of all cock-ups”. Don’t assume that the other of the partnership is doing or has done anything in the planning process. Keep a tally and checklist for jobs, tasks, activities and schedule these so that you both know what is going on, what still needs to be done and who is responsible for getting it done.

  1. Allocate jobs/tasks to be done and check them off as you go
  2. Plan and schedule your activities for the night before the wedding
  3. Schedule your activities for the wedding day
  4. Honeymoon checklist

 

Section Twelve – Honeymoon Information

  1. Bookings and reservations information for accommodation
  2. Transportation information (and any visas necessary)
  3. Entertainment ideas for your break away
  4. Clothing/packing lists
  5. Currency change requirements
  6. Passport locations – know you have them and that they are in date!

 

Section Thirteen – Miscellaneous

Absolutely anything and everything else that doesn’t have its own section should go in here. Remember this is to provide you with an aide in finding information you have already found. Keep it all together!

 

Putting It All Together

Place your labelled tab pages into the folder. Now, insert a plastic protector sheet in each section. These will be very useful for collecting receipts, business cards, contracts, menus and other information provided by prospective vendors when you interview them.

Overall there are nearly 80 sections and sub-sections I have mentioned to include in your personalised wedding planner file, and you will undoubtedly think of many more. Planning a wedding is a mammoth task, and I am sure you have just had several moments of “oh yeah!” while you were reading this where you completely forgot to think about that subject. This is why having a well-constructed wedding planner file is so valuable and important to keep track of everything you are doing and have done!

Don’t forget to check out even more of my Essential Wedding Tips“.

Good luck with your wedding planning, and I hope your getting hitched gets off without a hitch!

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Tuirenn 'Kit' Hurstfield
About the author

Qualified to the highest level as an Independent Celebrant (NOCN Diploma), Tuirenn creates and delivers ceremonies for weddings, namings, funerals and other milestone celebrations across the North West and Cheshire region, and will travel further afield too. Irish by name, but English by birth, Tuirenn (pronounced TEER-an) is proud to be serving the community as a public speaker, writer and over all celebrant. Find out more about him here...

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