Planning weddings for a living is a dream career, but it also takes a lot of work! Creating an organizational system in a wedding planner book helps sets the stage for success. A wedding planner binder keeps vendors, clients, and other necessary business contacts at your fingertips.
When it comes to do-it-yourself wedding planner binders, you’ll want to classify each into one of two categories: permanent or rotating.
Permanent Wedding Planner Books
Permanent wedding planner books are anchored by the personal resource network you’ve built as a professional wedding planner.
Start by creating a DIY “vendor” binder. Make a list of sections you’ll create.
Wedding Planner Binder Sections
- Ceremony venues
- Ceremony musicians
- Reception venues
- Cocktail hour musicians
- DJs, live bands
- Tuxedo rental companies
- Wedding gown shops
- Seamstresses and tailors
- Event rentals
- Food trucks and food carts and specialty cuisine displays
- Cultural dancers
- Live painters
- Photo booth vendors
- Live stream contacts
Don’t forget to include specialty vendors! These include event lighting companies and companies that specialize in event design such as creating lounges and gathering spaces.
Your permanent wedding planner book should contain multiple copies of any documents you ask your couple to sign. A standard wedding planner contract typically includes a dossier of the services you provide, the rate of pay and payment schedule, and a confidentiality clause or non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
You should also have copies of a media or photography usage agreement. This includes spelling out if you have permission to tag your clients on social media and/or use photos in promotional and marketing materials. Having your clients’ privacy preferences established in advance will prevent an awkward situation in the future.
The permanent wedding planner book should also have a safe place for all relevant account passwords. As you meet with your clients and vendors, you might need access to an account that has important information, and if you’re out of office you’re out of luck.
A Venue Binder
Some vendor categories might have so many resources that you can create a special binder dedicated to just that genre. For example, when it comes to a venue, you should have information on capacity, rental rates, and room configurations. Also if the ceremony space or on-site accommodations are available. Or if they have in-house catering, if they provide a cake, and any other details your clients may seek.
Inside your venue binder, you should also have a copy of every venue’s wedding event agreement so your clients can review everything from cancellation policies to a “force majeure” clause. A force majeure clause, also called an “act of God,” eliminates liability for natural and unavoidable catastrophes. In other words, the venue may stipulate that they are not in breach of contract should something arise beyond their control.
While natural disaster isn’t something many couples consider when signing their venue contract, force majeure clauses became front and center during the pandemic, when weddings were cancelled and postponed en masse.
As an organized wedding planner, the more information you can offer to educate your clients, the better questions they’ll have when they meet with vendors.
Rotating DIY Wedding Planners
Rotating DIY wedding planners should be dedicated to each specific wedding, one binder per couple.
- Contact details
- Preferred method of communication
- Event date
- Social media handles
- Other critical details
Then, organize each couple’s binder in order of events.
- Welcome reception
- Rehearsal dinner
- Pre-wedding activities like a sail or trolley tour
- The ceremony
- The reception
- The after party
- The farewell brunch
And don’t forget hair and make-up trials, invitation orders, and alteration dates!
Recommend that your clients keep a similar binder of their own and provide them with copies of all contracts, agreements, appointments, itineraries, floor plans, and any other pertinent documents.
Advise your clients to also have sections for the guest list and RSVPs, bridesmaids’ gown and bridal gown orders, marriage license information, honeymoon details, and all travel documents.
Your client’s DIY wedding binder can also serve as a place they can keep inspiration photos torn from magazines.
Digital inspiration can be stored on a Pinterest board or even in a file on their hard drive. As you plan in-person meetings, ask vendors if you can send your clients’ inspiration images or send them to their Pinterest page in advance.
Another solution to sending vendors your clients’ inspiration photos and Pinterest board is to create a QR code. Everything they need will be at their fingertips.
No Detail is Too Small for your Clients Wedding Planner Binder
Communicate with your clients regarding bridal party gifts and thank you notes. Will you be responsible for keeping tabs on gifts if they are being shipped? Will you have the gifts wrapped and prepared to distribute at the rehearsal dinner, or will your clients oversee this detail? Ask your clients and update the binder accordingly.
Though you may not have a role at your clients’ bridal shower(s) or the bachelorette party, it is helpful for you to stay on top of related to-do items for your clients, including ordering thank you notes and making sure they’re sent in a timely manner. This is especially important if your clients would like to do a custom thank you note, featuring, for example, a photo from their engagement session.
Be sure your DIY wedding planner has all information related to hotel room blocks and other guest accommodation details. If arranging guest transportation, this is especially important. It’s equally important you have all guest accommodation details if your clients are providing welcome bags at hotel check-in.
While we live in a predominantly digital world and hard copies of some items will need to be consistently updated, having tangible documents is especially handy at meetings, walk-throughs, and other wedding related activities.
Place an 18- to 24-month calendar, actual wedding timeline, and a wedding planner checklist at the front of the DIY wedding planner binder. As tasks are completed, check them off from the timeline so that the to-do list becomes a simple at-a-glance reminder.
A budget reminder should also be placed at the front of this binder. As the budget allocations adjust with finalized vendor agreements, you can help your clients stay on track. Budget surprises are never good!
Also, keep a reminder of your payment schedule toward the front of the book. Set up an automated email a week or two ahead of payment due date(s) to remind your clients if they have a payment coming up.
Supplies for DIY Binder
Once you’ve written down your categories for each binder, you’ll be better able to compile supply needs. Go big with your vendor binder(s) – a three-inch, three-ring binder is a popular choice. For your clients, assign one binder per couple. Depending on the size and complexity of the wedding, a one- or two-inch three-ring binder will do.
When organizing your wedding planner book and each couple’s designated DIY wedding planner binder, consider color coding for consistency. If florists are filed on a specific color tab in your permanent wedding planner book, carry that over to each couple’s binder as well.
Color-coded divider tabs or hole-punched folders, paper, a three-hole punch, clear sheet covers and highlighters should be on your supply shopping list.
When it comes to the all-important sticky notes, again, color coding is the way to go, especially when it comes to details including unsigned contracts and questions that require a follow-up phone call.
Envelopes and zipper pouches are great wedding binder organization tools! Keep your receipts, fabric swatches for table linens and bridesmaids dresses, a mini tape measure and portable charger just in case!
You can also start with a basic premade planner from places like Etsy.
Step by Step : Creating Your Custom Wedding Planner Book
Once you have the infrastructure and templates in place, creating a wedding planner binder for each of your clients will become second nature, but be sure to continually update your permanent wedding planner book with new vendor contacts.
Creating an organizational system can take considerable time and patience, but having everything you need – exactly where and when you need it – is priceless.