My wedding binder was wonderful, I was able to keep all my documents in one place and I could easily take it where I needed to go. Like I mentioned in my last post, I also had a pinterest account and a huge folder on my desktop with many many documents.
^^there weren't many options with my colors so I went with a simple navy binder and personalized it with gold ink.
^^perfect for counting down the weeks and scheduling appointments
^^kept all my contracts and misc. items in clear sheet protectors
^^I printed off lots of my inspiration photos as well
The most important things for me to book early on were my photographer, the temple, and venue. I needed them to all be available on the same day and they were all things I wouldn't compromise. It took me less than 3 days after getting my promise ring to call and schedule those vendors for May 4, 2014 (I just needed to see my potential venue in person and solidify the date). Let's just say the temple was completely wide open and I am pretty sure they had never heard of such a long engagement before - ha! But since that temple is smaller and only has a couple rooms I needed a specific time in order to get down to Manti (without making people wake up too early), have a luncheon, and get back in time for our reception in Provo.
Photographer - I had already done my research. Rebekah Westover. Hands down. She just has such elegant and timeless photos. Working at a bridal store for many years I had seen lots of different wedding photography styles and most bridal photos make me sad because the gown gets washed out and you can hardly see and of the gorgeous detailing - Rebekah somehow captures the details of the dresses and doesn't wash out the gown. I knew Rebekah would capture my gown and our wedding day PERFECTLY. And she did! Best decision.
Venue - I was worried I wouldn't find a venue I liked - I wanted something that was elegant but not decorated, because I wanted to add all of my own decorations. I visited the Manor at the Riverwoods and after my first glance inside I was SOLD! It had a gold tint to the walls, hardwood floor, no weird decorations, it was smack dab in the middle of both of our parent's homes, less than 5 minutes away, AND I could have open flame candles and choose my own catering vendors. It was PERFECTION. I liked it so much I had my bridals taken there as well!
I had created a list of things that needed to be done (thanks to all the million bridal magazines that come through Avenia Bridal) and set deadlines for myself.
I created a spreadsheet and a budget breakdown in excel to keep track of my finances, I also printed off a basic sheet for my binder with my breakdown and actual costs of things.
I set weekly and monthly to-do lists and sent them out to my mom, Taylor, and anyone else who needed to help that week on specific things. 8 months seems like a long time but between spending over 375 hours on a wedding gown, making bridesmaid skirts, designing and creating all of the decorations, and going to school - it was just barely enough time. I had to-do lists on word documents and on excel documents planning everything from appointments, to stuffing invitations, to painting my nails, to specific decoration instructions, to trying to schedule bridals during the end of the semester.. etc.
Below is my schedule (you can click on it to make it bigger) of what needed to get done and when - At the beginning of each week I would look at this schedule and send personal emails with specific to-do lists to my Mom and Taylor, of course I'd make one for me too.
Finally there was my day-of schedule which everyone got multiple copies of! Haha I sound like a crazy person - but being the bride and the wedding designer/planner - I wanted everything to run smoothly and be everything I dreamed it would. And it was. The night before I think my whole family only slept a couple hours (Taylor and I put off honeymoon packing and making our wedding playlist (we didn't bother with a DJ) until the last minute and my mom and dad were just finishing up finalizing last minute decoration details that took much longer than anticipated) - but I don't think any of us would have really slept much anyway.