Last Friday, one of my dearest friends, Charlotte, married her longtime sweetheart, Katie, in an intimate courthouse ceremony. The bride was beautiful, the butch groom very dapper, and all attending guests were there to share in what was a really lovely afternoon. Since Charlotte and Katie’s families are spread out, they are doing things a bit non-traditionally, but no less thoughtfully. While their formal ceremony was Friday, they will be having a party in July for friends and loved ones in the Twin Cities and then another with family at a gathering between their two homes come the fall. So many opportunities to celebrate!
Over the next month and a half, Charlotte and I will, largely, be planning what their celebration for friends will look like and, chances are, you’ll see some of the projects we undertake for it here. What a happy way to cultivate blog content at the same time as organizing what will be an amazingly fun, love-filled day! My Pinterest boards and I are already bursting with ideas!
Planning a party, even one that is informal and fairly small in size for a wedding celebration (about 40 people), is a lot of work and, herein, my Virgo brain sees an opportunity for organization. Enter: The Wedding Binder. A wedding binder is many things I love all rolled into one: structured, informative, tidy, an excuse to buy cute office supplies, etc. I know that holding up these kinds of qualities probably makes me sound like a total stiff (do people still say that?), but it’s only in project planning that I hold so dearly to these ways. How else will one remember if they sent a “thank you” card to their aunt or remember where they put the receipt from the caterer? If you have a wedding binder, everything has a place, eliminating one stressor right off the bat.
Could you buy a wedding binder? Of course, but there are so many templates online to make your own, and now this one, that printing out some pages and putting them in a binder along with some dividers is time well spent. Not only does it save you money, but making your own wedding binder also allows you to really customize it to your needs. When I made this binder for Charlotte and Katie, for example, I didn’t have to include space on the “Expenses” sheet for ceremony costs because, aside from the marriage license, there weren’t any.
Charlotte and Katie’s party, as many small weddings are, will also largely be a very DIY affair, so I knew it was also important to include space in their binder where they could collect visual ideas from magazines or Pinterest to inform future table design or what have you. I also created a section called “Team Bride” where Charlotte can identify friends in her network who she can ask to assist with parts of the party, i.e. here she can make a note that our other friend, Katie, will do Charlotte’s hair and make-up that day. Since music is so vitally important to the small, DIY wedding, I made sure to also create a “Soundtrack” page where they could jot down ideas that came to them for “must-haves” to hear on the day of the reception. On their wedding site, Charlotte and Katie asked guests to suggest songs when they submit their RSVP – a great idea! – so this is a landing place for those selections too.
While this binder has largely been geared toward Charlotte and Katie specifically, I’ve kept the average small wedding planner in mind as I’ve crafted this, so the sheets, which I’ve made available as free printables below, should be helpful to lots of folks. Take a look!:
For smaller, DIY parties like this one, keeping organized, budgeting well, and relying on friends for additional help and services depending on where their strengths lie are all key to pulling off a beautiful day. To those of you out there who have planned (or are planning – congratulations!) a small, but special day, what other tips do you have to keep everything and everyone reigned in and organized leading up to, and on the day of, the main event?