Weddings

Behind the scenes tricks for planning Elle’s Big Day

A few months ago, I became a Mrs. It was the most amazing day of my life and filled with tons of Pinterest-ready & to-die-for details.

But seriously, there were so many details–I almost ran myself ragged pulling it all together. Sound familiar?

As a creative director and a mostly DIY/budget bride, it only made sense that I’d design and plan my own wedding, but the key I found to being a successful DIY bride, is planning way in advance, building out a realistic calendar for DIY projects and knowing when to hand things off to professionals. Then it’s just a matter of using great services to hack a personal touch, without having to hand-letter individual place cards, or pay for a calligrapher for every single detail (more on that later).

Write a budget

vertex42.com's wedding budget tool

Writing a budget was a crucial step, but was really hard at the beginning. There are so many little things that you don’t think of right away. They sneak up on you at the end, and it can be really frustrating to realize that you have to spend another couple hundred dollars on something you hadn’t anticipated. My advice? Set aside a contingency fund of about 20%. Or at least beware that whatever you budget, there will be SOMETHING that comes up at the last minute, that you need to be prepared to eliminate, pay for, or hack. We made a budget and a priority list, so that as quotes from vendors came in on or above budget, we could decide whether that was something we were willing to splurge on, or what would have to go to make room in the budget.

Regardless of your budget, one of the biggest tips I can give on planning is to make a master list. Pick out the items that are most important to you as a couple as well as ALL the items that you are going to include in that budget, down to Thank You cards and the under garments you’ll wear the day of. Start with priority items and customize your budget around them. To help us get a feel for what we could afford, my fiancé and I started with the Vertex42 budget tool, which we loaded to google sheets, that way both of us had access to it as we paid for things to keep a tight eye on our spending. When our photography came in over the “default 10%” suggested by the tool, we ended up retooling the budget to fit our needs.

Get Organized

There are tons of wedding planning checklists out there, (you can find tons on Wedding Wire, Aisle Perfect, or any number of them on Pinterest) and there are some that you can use in google docs, or Microsoft Excel to keep yourself organized. I actually converted a few of these lists into tasks in Asana which was a life-saver.

If you’re not familiar with Asana, it’s an awesome tool for the DIY Bride. You can manage projects, set due dates, and manage assignments for your groom and Maid of Honor/Bridesmaids so that nothing slips through the cracks! My strategy was to break the major categories up (ceremony, flowers, invitations/correspondance, logistics, music, etc), and set myself due-dates as reminders for things I needed to get done. When things got busy, I never had to worry that I’d missed some little detail slipping through the cracks. The other great thing, was that as my “team” completed their tasks, ASANA would let me know that “bridesmaids dresses had been ordered” or “check was sent to caterer” by my fiancé.

ASANA

Manage Your Time & Delegate

I would credit the one thing that kept me sane during all of the wedding prep was managing my time well, and delegating projects when I could. Folks love to get involved with weddings, so when people offered to help me do stuff, I’d take them up on it. Usually that meant inviting a girlfriend over for some vino while we tied little bows on invitations, or asking my mom to keep me company while I stuffed and sealed envelopes. Tasks that the fiancé was game to do were perfect for delegation, he’d ask if there was something he could do to help, and I’d say “Sure! How do you feel about stamping all the envelopes while you watch the King’s game tonight?” It was win-win. He would get to help while doing something he’d really prefer to do, and I got to check something off the to-do list!

Take it ‘One bite at a time.’

The ultimate advice I got for wedding planning was to take it “one bite at a time.” And with a few tools and tricks to stay organized, it was really a fun process. Just remember that it’s supposed to be fun, and don’t get too caught up in the stress that you don’t enjoy the process!

If you’re a DIY bride, did you have any tricks to help you keep your sanity during the wedding planning process?

Check back later for posts (and recipes) about how we brewed and bottled our own Mandarino liquore, how I used Moo to make beautiful tags and place cards, and other double-duty printables to save money!

 Stay fabulous.
-Elle
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