How to Make a Wedding Planning Binder
Written by Lindsay Ropella
Being in my mid-twenties, I have many friends who are engaged and will be getting married very soon. Since I was one of the first in my group of friends to get married, I found myself getting lots of questions on everything from wedding day logistics, to what needs to be done when, to how make sure you don’t forget anything major, etc. I really am honored that my friends trust my opinion enough (and think my wedding was enough of a success) to ask me these important questions.
When one of my best friends announced she was engaged, I knew I wanted to create some sort of wedding planing binder as an engagement gift for her. I wanted it to be the most inclusive and helpful wedding planing book out there today. I also wanted something that was very thorough, while still being very customizable. I thought long and hard about what would have been most beneficial for me and help keep me
sane organized throughout the wedding planning process.
I took knowledge from professional online sources, blogs, other brides’ experiences (as well as my own), and compiled it together into a complete wedding planning binder. I was actually so happy with how this wedding planning resource turned out, that I decided to share it here so you could make one too! It really is pretty simple, and as you create your own you will be able to further customize it to meet your specific wedding needs.
Let me show you how it’s done.
Here is the sample wedding planning binder I created based on my own wedding. I threw this cover image together super quick, but if you want something nice I would definitely recommend checking out the free online design program, Canva.
I knew that the most important piece of a wedding planning binder would be a complete checklist, so that was the first project on my list. Instead of using one online, I decided to create my own complete wedding planning checklist. It took quite some time to create the list, but I think it’s very beneficial because it’s basically a compilation of all the checklists I used during my own wedding. However, I customized this list by making changes based on what I thought could have gone smoother for me during my own planning process, or things that I felt were forgotten. My checklist runs month-by-month from 12+ months up to one month before the wedding. At that point, the last month before the wedding is broken up by week (because let’s be honest, that last month can get pretty crazy).
Next, I decided to work on diving the binder into appropriate sections. Here is a picture of the tabs I used in my binder. I divided the binder into 10 sections – Colors/Inspiration, Reception venue, Ceremony, Guest List, Dress/Attire, Invitations, Photo/Music, Food/Cake, Decor, and Flowers.
I found these 10 packs of binder tabs at Walmart for under $1. Aren’t they cute!
Next, under each of the individual tabs, I put a list of the specific tasks to be completed that correspond with that section. These are not additional tasks – I simply took the bullet points off the master list that apply to that specific section. I found this to be very helpful during my own wedding because I could quickly see what tasks needed to be completed for each individual category in sequential order.
Lastly, inside each tab I included a stack of both loose leaf paper and blank computer paper. The loose leaf paper is for taking notes, and the computer paper is for pasting pictures cut out from magazines or other wedding planning sources.
Yes, I’m fully aware this is a basically a not-so-convenient form of Pinterest. I would definitely still use Pinterest in conjunction with this planner. However, there’s something exciting about flipping through your new “Brides Magazine” subscription and cutting out floral and bridal gown inspiration so you can start exploring and creating. Plus, it makes an amazing wedding scrapbook you can look back on for decades!
For my sample wedding planning binder, I created sub-sections in each tab. For example, in the Dress/Attire tab I made sub-sections for “The Gown,” “The Girls,” and “The Guys.”
Here are examples of possible sub-sections that could be created for each tab:
Reception Venue – Location Ideas, Contract Inclusions, Extra Cost Items
Ceremony – Ceremony Site, Ceremony Music, Ceremony Outline/Program
Guest List – Bride’s Family, Groom’s Family, Parent’s Friends, Friends
Dress/Attire – The Gown, The Girls, The Guys
Invitations – Invitation Ideas, Invitation Wording
Photo/Music – Photographer, DJ, Videographer
Food/Cake – Reception Food, Hors d’oeuvres, Cake
Decor – Ceremony, Reception, Lobby, Extra Tables, Centerpieces
Flowers – Bridal Bouquet, Girl’s Bouquets, Boutonnieres/Corsages, Ceremony Flowers, Reception Flowers
EDIT: I have had many people ask me if they could have copies of all the checklists I created for this wedding planning binder. I have decided to make them available for a small fee of $6 USD. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the complete wedding planning checklist as well as the 10 category checklists I created, please click the PAY NOW button below. You will pay through Paypal. Once payment is received, a PDF of all the checklists will be sent to you via email within 2 business days.
Also, please note that some people have been having issues receiving all 11 PDF’s to a yahoo email account, so if you have another account (gmail, hotmail, roadrunner, etc) please consider using that one instead.
So tell me — how do you stay organized? If you’ve gotten married already, what things helped you stay sane throughout the wedding planning process? Let me know in the comments below!