I am all for those corny holidays that only Google knows about. So, without further ado, this week is National Organize your Files Week! I am one of those geeks who loves to organize things. It calms me (really).
When planning a wedding, you are going to acquire a lot of documents. Too often, I come to meetings and my couples show up with one of those “Wedding Planning” binders with the best intentions and loose papers poking out of every page. I have no problem with this if it works for you. The problem is when they get up to leave and all of said papers fall out onto the floor. Yikes!
Paper vs Digital
The first thing to decide if you want to stay more organized is if you want your documents to be digital or paper versions. Either are fine, but I would highly recommend sticking to one method. That way, when you meet with a new vendor and they ask for information you know exactly where it is instead of, “I thought I had it here, it must be at home on my computer.”
I use a tool called Aisle Planner for all of my clients. It is an amazing collaboration tool that keeps everything up to date in real time. I only print out hard copies about 1-2 weeks before the wedding when things are close to being set in stone. There are so many revisions and this way everyone knows they have an up-to-date copy.
This is a tough one because it needs to make sense to you. If you have a system that you are always forgetting what category it is in, that is not helpful. Here are the categories I use.
- Vendor Contracts – All of the hard contracts and quotes you have with your vendors
- Guest List – All of your invitees (including the wedding party) including their RSVP and dinner selection
- Timeline – Since the timeline spans across all of the other categories, I like to keep this separate and easily accessible
- Ceremony – This would contain anything that has to do with the ceremony logistics or design. For example, processional order, ceremony script, ceremony music, readings, hymns, setup details including the vendor or individual responsible, etc.
- Cocktail Hour – Same as above, anything related to the cocktail hour logistics or design. For example, bar details, appetizer selection, music, setup details, etc.
- Reception – You get the idea, this will likely be your largest folder. Bar menu and times, dinner details, layout, seating chart, setup details, etc.
- Entertainment, Photographer, & Transportation – I keep one folder for these three vendors because they are likely going to have the most paperwork for you to fill out related to the wedding day. It might include a special songs list, photo shot list, transportation plan (addresses and times), and other worksheets they might require.
- Misc. – This should cover anything else you think you should keep either as information or a keepsake. Some things that often fall into this category are paper goods (invitations, save the dates, programs, etc.), proofs, photos, etc.
The last tip I have is to “get it in writing”. If you have agreed upon something with a vendor verbally make sure to either get it entered in the contract (preferred) or at least make a note on their contract or your setup plans of what you talked about. That way, when you go back you will be able to confirm what they said months ago.