Last Friday I laid out my advice for having a less stressful, more practical and happier wedding planning experience. This week I thought I would talk more about what has kept me (somewhat) sane through my own wedding planning. Everyone organizes their life and work differently so if this is not how you process information don’t worry! There are many options for organizing. You just have to find the one that is right for you. 

I know by admitting this I am filling you in on my deep, dark, inner geekdom but I love me some spreadsheets. Seriously, I am the spreadsheet and database queen. Give me some information and I will set up some columns and rows before your very eyes! Google Docs has saved my life. Not only can you create a document, spreadsheet, presentationor drawing, you can also share all your information and let other people edit (or NOT!*).

GUEST LIST
I especially found this helpful while working on the guest list. I just shared the document with my family and my fiance’s family and they added their guest list to the document. I didn’t have to spend hours merging different lists and worrying about making errors. The tricky part about this is months, after I thought the list was complete, mystery guests would pop up. I advise setting a deadline and then locking that puppy up!
Columns you can include are:
  • Assign each guest a number. You can write this number on the RSVP card in case someone forgets to write in their name.
  • Guest Name
  • Number of guests
  • Address, city/state/zip
  • Any children?
  • Were they sent a Save-the-date?
  • Were they sent an invite?
  • Attending? One column for yes and one column for now. Mark this with the number of guests attending so you can added up the column at the end.
  • If there are any other activities add these as well and write in the number of guests that are attending for each person.
  • Gift Received
  • Thank you note sent

This will help you not only plan your guest list but keep a record invites that were sent out and who is attending.

WEDDING PROJECTS

Another worksheet I made was for all my DIY projects I wanted to do. Any time I saw a project I might want to incorporate I put it into this spreadsheet and tracked the process even if I just ended up chucking the idea later.

Columns you might include:

  • Project Name
  • Who could/will complete?
  • Due Date
  • How many?
  • Materials needed
  • Status (In process, Done, Will not do, etc.)
  • Notes

Other documents I made were for keeping track of the budget, what things I needed to rent/buy, my vows and accommodations/travel.

If you have any questions about organizing information or tips leave me a comment or email me!

*Sometimes it is helpful (for you) if your friends and family can just SEE the work you have done and not actually manipulate it in any way.

  • Eco Yogini - April 19, 2010 - 8:24 am

    ok, excel kinda scares me, however this is a fantastic idea. i need to do this… :)
    thank you so much for sharing and even including possible columns. :) I am with you on the geekdom!ReplyCancel

  • Emilia Jane - April 19, 2010 - 2:20 pm

    Excel is your friend! :) Let me know if you need any help with your spreadsheets and I would be happy to help.ReplyCancel

{all photos via (oh, hello friend.)}

This past weekend I had my first Rose Bowl Flea Market experience. I was not quite prepared for the number of vintage/antique vendors and great finds there were. Next time I will certainly have to borrow a truck. We had to leave a couple gems behind for lack of space. I would also get there much earlier. We arrived around 1pm and it had just started to drizzle so a lot of vendors were packing up. I did manage find a good deal on some milk glass.

This would be heaven for anyone who wants to incorporate vintage pieces into their wedding or event. If you can dream it up – old bottles, chandeliers, metal signs/numbers – I’m sure it’s there!

There was a beautiful vintage suitcase for $20. Why didn’t I grab it when I had the chance?
  • Erin ever after - April 14, 2010 - 10:15 am

    I have never been and I think that is a total crime! Must go before I leave.ReplyCancel

  • oh, hello friend. - April 14, 2010 - 11:20 am

    aw, thanks for posting the photos! :)
    so glad you had a great time at the market!ReplyCancel

  • Emilia Jane - April 15, 2010 - 11:10 am

    It's only once a month, Erin. Go soon and take me with you (in your truck)!ReplyCancel

  • Emilia Jane - April 15, 2010 - 11:11 am

    PS: New England has WAY better flea markets than CA so you'll be OK.ReplyCancel

I wanted to start a series on this blog that deals with the more practical side of planning a wedding or event. We all know I love the pretty but I am also a very organized person. Who says we can’t have the practical with the pretty, anyway?

Where better to start than at the very beginning? After the initial excitement, glee, shock of getting engaged starts to die down the pressures of actually planning can creep up and take over. Though there are a lot of factors involved with planning a wedding – some of them fun and some of the infuriating – it doesn’t have to be SO hard. Here is my advice from a planner and a bride’s point of view.

Focus on the How and not the What

Instead of diving right into what you want your wedding to look like start to think about how you want your wedding to feel. This is a great piece of advice that I found over at 2000 Dollar Wedding.

Start backwards -

“1. What do you want to think and feel about your wedding when it’s all said and done?
2. What do you want your guests to think and feel about your wedding when it’s all said and done?
3. What are the smaller details that align with creating those feelings?”

Keep the goals you come up with here in mind while deciding what elements to incorporate. It will help keep you sane and grounded.

The B-Word

No one likes to think or talk about money but this has to be one of the first conversations you have with your partner and with anyone else you feel should be involved (parents, grandparents, etc.). Don’t assume someone wants or doesn’t want to contribute. You don’t want to be stuck the day before the wedding with no money to pay the caterer because you thought someone else was taking care of it.

Unless you have helped plan a wedding, you will be surprised by how much things cost when planning a wedding. Check the average cost of a wedding in your area. Most likely this price tag is not for the platinum wedding like you might believe. Remember your goals and visions. Make a list of the most important elements for you as a couple (not the elements that magazines or TV shows tell you are important) and handle these obstacles first. Do a lot of research and come up with a realistic number. Know that most likely you will go over this number but hopefully by sticking to your goals it won’t be by much.

There are some (not all) vendors that hear the word “wedding” and suddenly bounce you to a whole new price bracket. If you do your research and find a team of professionals that you trust most likely they will give you a price that is fair to you and to them.

Make some Connections

Though you don’t need to book EVERY vendor right away there are a few that you might want to get out of the way first just for peace of mind.  The big one that comes to mind is the venue. Some venues book faster than others depending on the type of space you decide works with your overall goal and vision. Once you check this off the list you can take a deep breath and relax for a little while.

Prioritize the next vendors by who needs to actually be present at the wedding. This would include the officiant. Also the caterer and photographer (if you choose to include these items into your vision) could be included in this list. Stationary designers, etc.

can be booked a little later on.

No matter when or how you decide to book vendors make sure you do your research and feel comfortable with each one. There are so many options out there now it would be difficult to find someone you didn’t feel a connection with and who didn’t support your vision. Ask friends for references before relying on some random blog or website. Do the research, ask a lot of questions and read the bottom lines. Make sure you talk about that nasty b-word. Most vendors will customize packages to fit your needs.

Let’s Get Organized

Figure out how you like to be organized. For me that meant starting a blog and a tumblr since most of my inspiration came from online. For you, that might mean a binder or a notebook. Whatever makes you feel the most calm.

If you come across something that you like on a website or in a magazine- vows, flowers, a project – stick it in the inspiration place. Don’t act upon any impulses right away as most likely your preferences will change slightly throughout the process. You will save money and your sanity by collecting images and ideas first and making decisions and purchases later on. At about 6 months away from the date, take everything you found and separate it into piles or groups depending on what it is (one group for bouquets, one group for table decor, etc.). You will probably find a cohesive theme through the images. Once you have figured out that theme write out what you will need in order to make it a reality.

But Most of All

Remember what this day is really all about. You are starting a new life with the person you have chosen above all others. The person you love and respect and care about. It isn’t about spending the most money or putting on the best show. There will be moments of panic but if you keep focused on the true meaning then it will help you through those (hopefully few and far between) occurrences.

  • hifiweddings - April 14, 2010 - 7:25 am

    wow i've never seen that site to see the average wedding costs! mine was less than $5k and to see the numbers at $19-$32k is insane to me!!ReplyCancel

  • Emilia Jane - April 15, 2010 - 1:28 pm

    I want to hear/see more about your wedding! Under 5K! I wish we could have pulled that off!ReplyCancel

{design*sponge}
Can we just stop and talk about my sick obsession with vintage bottles. I grew up in a 200+ old house and every once and awhile we would unearth a treasure in our backyard so they totally remind me of my childhood home. Here are just a few images I have been collecting over the past few months.

{I forget!}

  • Andrew - April 9, 2010 - 10:05 am

    you used to just stick candles in them :) very nice presentation!ReplyCancel

Bohemia

 

{click for credits}
Here is a little inspiration board for myself. I like to organize my tumblr photos into cohesive boards. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to bring this one to life in July for our wedding. Perhaps a fog machine?
  • Erin ever after - April 8, 2010 - 3:56 pm

    I think you might be the new reining inspiration board queen. This one makes my heart flutter and I completely want to live inside the little blossoms board.
    xoxoxReplyCancel

  • Emilia Jane - April 8, 2010 - 4:53 pm

    oooh thanks love! this is my favorite too. i just need some help bringing it into reality! any ideas!?ReplyCancel

  • Ms. Wedding Crasher - April 8, 2010 - 7:34 pm

    Love the swingset pic!ReplyCancel

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