By Zach Lambrinon
They key to planning any great wedding or event is to tackle and tame all of the details for that special day. Being well organized is the key to planning the "biggest day of your life" and (of course) lower the stress associated with the process.
There is certainly no substitution for a professional planner to handle this for you. A wedding planner has years of experience and a database of top notch vendors that will make the planning process much easier. However, if your budget doesn't allow you to hire a professional planner, then you will need to take on the task of planning your own wedding. The first step is to think and act like a professional planner. This means organizing all of the details into a simple and easy to use file. Over the years and after many experiments of using store-purchased planning books, software and file folders, we have found that placing all of our notes and information about our client's wedding into a 2" or 3" loose-leaf binder works best. Ideally, we like to divide the binder into sections that pertain to each element of the wedding. Some of these may or may not pertain to your particular wedding:
- Create a contact list of all of your vendors along with their mailing address, email address, office, fax and mobile numbers. This will be a quick way to look up contact information in a hurry.
- Details about your ceremony, the officiant, directions and times should be kept here.
- In this section you should place all of the details about your venue (or tent); Floor plans, Time lines (I'll cover that at a later date), contracts, and correspondence.
- If you hire a caterer in addition to the venue, then place everything catering related here. Menus to chair and table rental information would go into this section. Otherwise, place catering information in the venue section
Dcor & Flowers
- Here you should enter all of the sample photos, contracts and orders that pertain to your flowers and decorations, linen and chair covers, draping and decorative lighting.
- Place information about your band/DJ and additional entertainment, song requests, bridal party introduction forms and contracts here.
- All contracts and agreements with this vendor(s) should go into this section. Make sure you keep copies of notes of what your expectations are and what you expect them to record/shoot.
- All of your contracts and agreements with the limo company can go here. Make sure that you have arranged for transportation after your reception! Many couples forget this minor detail. Insure that your pick-up times and location(s) are clearly stated in your contract.
- Copies of airline, hotel and cruise confirmations along with cancellation policies and local activities/tours that you are scheduled to do all can go in this section.
- In this section we like to keep a spread sheet that details the budget for the entire wedding. It lists each piece of the wedding along with its respective cost as well as who is responsible for paying for that item.
Other possible sections include wedding insurance, To Do/reminder list, bridal party gifts, a notes section, gift registry and even a section to list gifts received from guests. One important detail is to keep copies all of payments you have made to your vendors. Copies of checks, credit card and cash receipts are important to hold on to throughout the planning process just in case there is a discrepancy.
Once you are able to organize all of the details into one easy to use system, you will be able to handle the hundreds of details that are associated with planning a wedding and make it a less stressful and fun process. Who knows? Maybe you'll want to change careers after your wedding is done!
About the author:
Zach Lambrinon of
has been planning weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and special events for more than 15 years. From chic and subtle weddings in the Hampton's to outrageous corporate and social events in Monte Carlo and the Caribbean, there is no event too big or too small. Creating a classic and elegant event and working closely on all of the details with the clients has been the key to his success.