March 17, 2010

My Wedding Planning Tools

With so much information about wedding planning online, I haven't felt the need to buy any wedding magazines or books. I've looked through wedding magazines in the store, but I never found any that were spectacular enough to buy.

I did consider buying one wedding planning book, The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day by Mindy Weiss. It has 500 pages, excellent reviews, beautifully designed pages, and is only $23.10 on Amazon. 

So what stopped me from buying it? According to one review on Amazon, "the author specifically states that weddings of around $5,000 can not be done and look good. This is a good book if you are going extravagant, but not if you are looking for simple."

Oh. Never mind.

I actually ended up not buying any wedding books at all. However, my future mother-in-law found this book and gave it to me before I was even officially engaged:

Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget by Denise Fields and Alan Fields

 The book is now in its 9th edition, but the one I read is actually the 4th edition, from 1998. Although some aspects are laughably dated (like the "Brides in Cyberspace: What's on the web?" sections with mile-long URL's), it still has good information. Each chapter focuses on a particular topic, such as cakes, flowers, and catering, and lists shopping strategies, questions to ask, money saving secrets, pitfalls to avoid, myths, and more. Some of the sections I kind of skipped through since we didn't really do a lot of shopping for our invitations, officiant, or videographer, but I would still recommend it to any brides who want to get to most value out of their small budgets.

My biggest wedding planning tool has probably been my flash drive, which I use to store inspiration photos, my guest list spreadsheet, the files for my invitations, and all my other digital files. But to keep track of my receipts, contracts, and notes, I use this Five Star notebook:

I used this notebook in college, but not nearly as much as I use it now.

It has tabbed sections, which I've labeled Vendor Info, Expenses, Contracts, Guest Info, and Notes. In retrospect, these probably weren't the best division since I could have easily put the one contract I have so far under vendor info. I think I may change Contracts to Premarital Counseling so that those notes separated from my other random notes.

The Vendor Info tab has pockets on it, which I use to keep track of business cards and brochures. The Expenses pockets are where I keep my invoices and receipts.

 (Can you guess what Nathan and I each did on this page?)

The style is similar to a three-ring binder, but the cover and rings are both soft, allowing the cover to fold around and stay flat like a notebook.

Although big wedding planning books and binders may be useful, there are less pretty and less expensive alternatives.


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