Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guest Post: Tips for Getting (and Staying!) Organized

Hi, Burning River Bride readers! My name is Amy and I blog over at Little Miss Wedding Planner. I am so honored to be guest blogging for Em during her Honeymoon Week! We have been Internet-friends for quite some time now, and I am so happy for her and Josh.

So why did I call my blog Little Miss Wedding Planner? Because Planner should definitely be my middle name! I am Type A to the extreme, and as Emily put it in an email to me, “super ahead of schedule” when it comes to our wedding. I have set one goal for myself during wedding planning, and that is to have nothing to do during the wedding week Honestly, keeping that mantra in mind—and knowing how awesome it will be to have a few days off of work to just relax and welcome family and friends to town—has helped me to have a relatively stress-free experience because I am constantly reminding myself to stay ahead of the game.

I’ve always been really organized—ever since I was a little girl. My closet is color-coordinated, my DVDs are alphabetized, and my work life? Looks like this:

So you see, wedding planning is cause for me to be equally organized. It appeals to my Type A freakishness—to the extreme. Case in point: I have not one, but TWO wedding binders: one for general wedding planning and one solely for the guest list

I thought it might be helpful to give you guys a few tips and tricks for staying organized both during wedding planning AND in real life…so with that, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Lists, baby. I am constantly keeping to-do lists. I just love the feeling of checking stuff off. [Wow, Nerd Alert!] Whether it’s wedding planning or grocery shopping, find a list format that works for you and stick with it. I love the wedding templates on the Russell and Hazel website, and even though I am not a mom yet, I am pretty much obsessed with the Mom Planners by MomAgenda

2. The key to organization is to make it your own. As soon as we got engaged, I ran right out to the bookstore and bought the biggest, baddest wedding planning binder I could find. Guess what? I hated it and never used it. It was big and bulky and out-of-date. If I had done a little research, I would have saved that money and gone ahead and made my own…which I did eventually. Lesson learned—and now I LOVE using my binder because it’s exactly what I need.

3. Get ahead, and stay ahead. I may be organized, but I can sometimes fall prey to that nasty habit of procrastination. Shocking, I know…but I have to say, wedding planning has helped me with that bad habit sooo much! We are in the midst of a super-long engagement (23 months total, when all is said and done), and I have knocked out so many projects that a lot of people would wait until two or three months before the wedding to do. (See also: bathroom baskets, all aspects of the rehearsal dinner, and day-of survival kits.) Get stuff done early and you’ll be thanking yourself later.

4. Give yourself a break. I’ll go on benders where I am working on projects multiple days in a row and into the wee hours of the night. This inevitably leads to a crying jag when I get tired. The key to avoiding this—and not having a lot of stress when it comes to this stuff—has been having self-imposed moratoriums on wedding stuff. If I feel like I am getting too bogged down, I take a break—even for a couple of days or a week, if necessary. Just stop thinking about it for awhile, and then you can come back to it feeling really refreshed. Same goes for other areas of your life. Spring cleaning got you overwhelmed? Work on one closet or room at a time before moving to the next. And if one closet takes all day? That’s fine! But after that, give yourself a break! Have a glass of wine and watch some crappy reality tv. You can get back to cleaning—and wedding planning—tomorrow. Trust me, it will definitely save your sanity!

5. Similarly, while it’s a great idea to make a plan, it’s also important to allow yourself to be flexible. Easier said than done, right? Especially if you are a perfectionist (ahem, like me). Just be realistic when you’re taking on new tasks. Example: I designed and put together our Save-The-Dates and envelopes (with liners!), and while it was a fun project and I love how they turned out, I learned a valuable lesson in doing so: DIY invitations are not for me. So the new plan is to order our invitations, but make all of our other paper products—menus, place cards, favor tags, etc. Originally, did I want all of our paper products to match? Yes. Am I ok with the fact that because of the new plan, the invitations will look similar to the menus but not exactly match? Yes. Why? Because I’m the only one who will notice, and honestly? I don’t care. Your reception paper products will still look cohesive, and I promise no one is going to notice that they don’t match the invitations. 

So, that about wraps it up for my quick tips on how you too can be a freakishly organized bride (or wife!). Give them a try! Now you tell me: what are your best tips for staying ahead of the game?


  1. Great guest post Amy!!!!! Love all of these tips, which I can apply to my married life too :)

  2. Organization gives me rashes. I need one of those shows (or you!) to come to my house :) I'm a type B person!!!!

  3. I agree with every one of those 5 items on your list. Back when I was new to teaching I tried a "start of school planning book" for teachers and just could not get into it. So now that I'm planning my wedding, yes I've looked at to do lists, but it's going to be adapted. My engagement is the same length as yours (though we haven't set an official date) and I already have a dress and folder with lists of preferred vendors for, well, almost everything. I have to take breaks because I get way too fixated on one project if I'm not careful. Yup, I operate the same way as you.