Monthly Archives: February 2013

All The Things- Organization by Spreadsheet

Well hello again, hive! So, we’ve covered a few organizational things- The Schedule, The Packet, and the Card. I hope they’ve been helpful in planning! Today I’m writing about The Spreadsheet– which, in a fit of melodrama, I named All The Things 🙂

In the beginning, my wedding planning was almost derailed by Pinterest- I wanted every single detail that I saw. Toasting flutes, engraved cake forks, chair signs, paper lanterns, tissue poofs…all the things! As McGlovin and I started to form a wedding vision, though, it became easier to edit ideas. Once I returned to a rational state of being, I started a Google spreadsheet where I could keep track of all of these ideas, so I could pick and choose what we wanted at our wedding.

All the things

Pretty much, I labeled each column with a different aspect of the wedding {Rehearsal, Bride’s look, Ceremony, Reception Décor, etc} and started a running list of things that I might want for each portion. Many, many things got thrown out {Hershey kisses, poinsettias, paper lanterns, matchbooks} and when they did, I shaded that block red. Anything that we for sure wanted got shaded green.  Things that we didn’t feel strongly about either way were usually discarded, but optional if we had time/money closer to the wedding.

all the things monthly

Another important spreadsheet was a monthly schedule. In the first month of planning, I took my list of vendors and assigned each a month for completion. Finding a ceremony location, and a reception venue were allotted a month each…after that, there were two or three vendors a month to choose, and I also started adding major tasks such a ordering invitations, and taking engagement photos. This spreadsheet was really helpful in making sure that all of the big tasks got done, and were also color coordinated according to where we were in competing them.

All the things 10 weeks

Much closer to the date, I created a ten week schedule, with tasks assigned to each week, and then a two weeks schedule with tasks assigned to each day. Although I was definitely in charge of managing the schedules, they really helped me to delegate, when people asked what they could do to help. McGlovin had an entire afternoon off? Excellent, he could track all of the RSVPs in our guest list spreadsheet. My sweet sister had two weeks of from school, and volunteered to create strands upon strands of twinkle lights.

All the things reception

I also had a list of items specifically for my reception décor. There are so many tables that needed to happen: entrance table, DJ table, bar, gift table, guest book table, cocoa bar, escort cards, cake, head table and guest tables. I don’t know why, but I had the absolute most difficult time organizing what needed to be on each of these tables, so it got its own spreadsheet.

So, ladies- what else did you guys spreadsheet? Or did you just make lists upon lists on post its? Or did you just hand a list to your coordinator and sit back with a glass {bottle?} of wine? God, I sometimes wish I did that 🙂

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The Packet

Oh, hive…I know some of you were a little over whelmed with The Schedule. That’s okay…let’s be real, creating a schedule for that many people to follow for an entire day is a little overwhelming. Here’s the thing, though- there’s more. So very much more 🙂

Right, so we have The Schedule. But…I mean, what good is it, except that I have it and can read it? Me having all of the knowledge is nice, but essentially useless. I mentioned at the end of my last post that the most important thing was to give someone else the schedule on the day of the wedding, and it really is! So who did I give the schedule to? Well…everyone. Enter: The Packet.

The Packet

In 2008 Mrs Daffodil introduced The Packet to Weddingbee. Granted, I wasn’t reading at that time, but I’d heard it mentioned a few times over the years, and knew it would be the perfect communication tool. At twelve pages, my version of The Packet is a bit shorter than the original, but just as helpful. Included are: Key Contacts and Addresses for the entire weekend; an Overview of all Events including date, time, contact info, attendees and a dress code suggestion; a Photo List for the formals; a detailed day-of Schedule in a more readable format; Maps and Directions; and Description of Roles. Whew.

I curled up on my couch one Saturday afternoon, two weeks before the wedding, and completely updated my version of The Packet. Then, one week before the wedding, I emailed it to every single person mentioned inside of it. [I included a message letting people know that, of course I didn’t expect them to read The Packet in its entirety, but if they had any questions about when to be, or when to be there, or what to do, they could find it inside.] In my last post, I mentioned that not having enough info gives me anxiety, so I was just trying to over-inform people, instead 🙂 I do know what some people appreciated it: when we were at the rehearsal waiting to practice going down the aisle, one of the groomsmen mentioned that weddings always made him so hungry and my FBIL told him not to worry, The Packet said there would be post ceremony snacks. That was definitely not the last time someone quoted The Packet 🙂

Hive, I know what you’re thinking- that’s a lovely packet, Mrs Gloves, but it’s twelve pages long and no one is going to a) memorize it or b) bring their copy to your wedding. So true, hive, so true! Enter: The Cards.

Contact List

These little guys were crazy useful! Between the phone numbers on the front and the personalized schedule on the back, there was no way to be uninformed. [Someone got lost on the way to the Statehouse? No worries, just call the photographer. My mom couldn’t be found before the ceremony? No worries, the coordinator has her number! What should we be doing after the ceremony? Check your card!] We invited only the people directly involved with our wedding to the rehearsal dinner, so it was the perfect place to pass out the cards…and take some light hearted teasing about my mania 🙂

Alright, hive- that’s about it for scheduling. I have posts coming about my to-do list(s) and how I organized my vendor search…am I missing anything re: organization? Do you guys have any awesome hints that I didn’t mention? Or are you just glad you have a planner/coordinator to handle it for you?

Scheduling the wedding day

OK, so the schedule. A few things you should know- I started crafting our schedule about six months before the wedding, and I reviewed it at every single vendor meeting that we had. {Truly, my biggest fear was that I would forget to do something, or go somewhere, or be somehow unprepared for our wedding- I had at least four nightmares about it!} Anyway, I reviewed the schedule with the reception venue, the catering staff, the DJ and the photographer. Each of them had very definite ideas of how to schedule should go and, although it certainly helped me to have their suggestions on how things would flow best, I didn’t always take their advice. Even though I’ve never had a wedding before I also had a very clear idea of how I wanted things to flow.

Example: Our DJ originally told us to cut the cake, and then go right downstairs for the first dance. I was all, ‘What, I don’t get to eat the wedding cake that I paid a million dollars for, or all of the wedding pie??’ And he was all, ‘No, the people will get antsy, and no one wants to sit about down for dessert!’. Then, on the wedding night, he came over and let us know that there was a pretty substantial line for wedding pie, so we would need to push the first dance out fifteen minutes. Of course we would need to wait- don’t you know anything about pie?

Anyway. Here’s how the schedule was created. First, I opened one of my trusty Google Spreadsheets. I used column A to schedule the entire day in fifteen minute increments. Then, as I was made aware of when things would happen, I added them in. Here’s my example:

Schedule, condensed

Anything that you see highlighted in blue is a time that a vendor gave us and we agreed on. I knew what time our ceremony would be, and I knew what time our cocktail hour would start. Based on that, my hair and makeup people could tell me when the best time for them to come was. Boom, half the schedule is done! Everything else just took a little bit of thought and planning by McGlovin and I, and some suggestions from our cater/DJ about when the food would be served and how fast, which helped us decide out to order and space things.

But wait! I’m neurotic, so there’s so much more 🙂

Schedule, broken out

After I had a general schedule, I broke it out into a number of groups. On this page, you can see columns for Saturday, Bridesmaids, Bride, Groomsmen, Groom. Then, at the bottom, there are tabs for the entire Weekend Schedule, Ushers, and all sets of parents. So, yes, every single person that had any part in being at our wedding had a scheduled created for them. That way, I knew that everyone was accounted for and would have a very clear understanding of where they needed to be. {sidebar: I like when people give me instructions and expectations. I’ve been in several weddings that had no planning, and I had no idea what I was supposed to do at any given time. I was trying to avoid that with my own…and went a bit overboard.}

So, that was my schedule. It was epic, and it kept our wedding so on track. Since I had gone over it a million times, I knew exactly where everyone was supposed to be at any given time and, more importantly, what I was supposed to be doing. It was, without a doubt, the hugest relief to know that I had gone through the day so many times in my head and on paper and everything was accounted for. It was an even bigger relief, though, to hand the schedule to someone else on the wedding morning, and put them in charge of making sure things were running on time!

Which brings me to the question for this post- who are you putting in charge of the schedule?? I would really, strongly, forcefully encourage you to assign the schedule to someone other than yourself- ain’t nobody got time to worry about the time on their wedding day! So…who’s it going to be?

What’s in your Drive?

Hive! I hope your weekend was lovely! McGlovin and I were sitting on the couch on Sunday when it occurred to us how nice it was to sit and drink coffee and read the paper in companionable silence, without trying to cram every spare minute with wedding planning and logistics and to do lists 🙂

Speaking of planning and logistics, though…in my last post, I listed all of the awesomeness that is Google. In this post, I want to zero in on why Google Drive {formerly Google Docs} is so incredibly helpful. [Disclaimer: I know that you all are very bright, and can likely figure this out for yourselves. It’s just, when I started planning, I had no idea where to go or what to use to get organized, and I wish someone had made a few helpful suggestions!]

So, what made G-Drive so helpful? Well, a few things. First, it was like our online wedding binder- it had all of our information in it, and was easily accessible. Since everything is online, we could access it from work, home, our parents homes, wherever. Also, there’s an app, so even if I was standing in the aisle at Michaels, I could go into my phone app and see whatever document I needed. You can also edit documents from your phone- crazy helpful.

What all was in our drive? Everything, and I mean everything. Here’s a run-down:

–          Our playlist(s). McGlovin and I worked on the playlist for a while, then elected to share it with our friends. Everyone was asked not to delete, only add songs, and it was so incredibly helpful! People added hilarious things that neither of us would have thought of and it gave our DJ a great starting point- everyone loved our reception music, so I think it turned out well.

–          Our guest list. We didn’t share this doc with anyone, but people were constantly changing their information {name, address, date’s name, etc} so it was awesome to have this digitally, and instantly changeable. Our guest list was in a spreadsheet file, and we definitely made use of the tabs. The first page was our master list, and then various other tabs showed guest lists for showers, bachelor/ette parties, rehearsal dinner, etc. Whenever a party host asked for a list w/addresses or phone numbers, we just copied it into an Excel file and emailed away. We also added columns for gifts received, so we could keep track as we got them in the mail, and a column for thank you notes out, so we could make sure everyone was thanked in a timely manner. Since we were both receiving and thanking, it was awesome that Mr G and I could access the document simultaneously and update.

–          Photo list. This was a Google doc, and every time I saw or thought of a photo that I liked/wanted/needed, I added to this list. Then, when my photographer asked for my must-have photos, it was easy to just forward her a list I’d been compiling my entire engagement. Again, being able to add things to this list using my phone was amazingly convenient {I usually added while I was looking at Pinterest waiting for Dr’s appts, or on the bus}.

–          Budget. McGlovin was in charge of this document, but he recorded every charge, the date it was due, the deposits made, and where all of our money was coming from and going to. It made it really easy to see how our bank account was doing and where we were spending, and needed to stop spending, and we both reviewed it frequently to make sure we were on top of things.

–          Contracts. Every single time McGlovin approved and signed a contract, I scanned it and added it to the drive. Usually, we didn’t need them, but at one vendor meeting our contact was incredibly snippy and insisting on something that for sure wasn’t in our contract, and it was a truly glorious moment when I pulled it up on our phone and asked her to show me exactly where that stipulation was located. {Why no, it was not mentioned in our contract…back off, lady}.

–          Instructions/questions. I made a spreadsheet, and assigned each of our vendors a page. Every time I came up with a question/instruction, I added it for our next meeting, so I wasn’t emailing them every five minutes. Some examples: for our priest, please don’t introduce us by McGlovin’s name only! For our hairdresser: How long will it take to curl seven girls’ hair? For our venue: please pour the beer into a glass, not in the bottle! You get the idea 🙂

–          Schedules. I’ll write an entire post about scheduling, because that was something I was completely manic about, but I definitely used a spreadsheet to record a master schedule, my schedule, groom’s schedule, bridal party schedule, parent’s schedule, etc, for the day…and it was crazy helpful when I passed them out at the rehearsal dinner. Crazy helpful.

–          To do lists. So very, very many of these lists. Again, this is a topic that will require a post of it’s own, but my to-do lists were an incredibly vital part of the wedding, and stored on the drive.

So that’s what was in our Drive, which we referred to on a daily basis. So, a question for the Hive- who else has a fiance or husband that was also involved in the wedding planning? How did that work out for you? McGlovin did a fair amount of our coordinating, and it was great!

Wedding planning using Google

So my organization is in two forms- online, and also on paper. I was always a person that preferred to take notes by hand in class, rather than on a laptop, and I thought wedding planning would be the same.  What proved to be the single most helpful part of my life, though,  was my online organization. It’s excessive, so be prepared for a wordy post, interspersed with unrelated photos of Howie 🙂

Doesn't he look like such a old man here? Or is that just me?

Doesn’t he look like such a old man here? Or is that just me?

Right, so as soon as I wrapped my mind around being engaged, I went online and reserved two Gmail accounts- one with my married name {I knew I was going to need it in the future} and one that would serve as a wedding account. McGlovin and I both use and love our Droids, so I thought that Google would really be the most convenient source for us, and I was right. Here are just a few of the many awesome ways that Google was helpful:

I have no idea why he uses his back legs less than his front legs.

I have no idea why he uses his back legs less than his front legs.

Google email. We made a wedding account with a generic password, so that we could both easily access it. This is the email that I gave out to vendors at wedding shows, at DB, for our registries, and to our various vendors. This was immensely helpful because a) it avoided my real email getting spammed and b) then Mr G and I could both find the info that we needed for vendors. I prefer Gmail to anything else due to the great spam filters, the search function, the ability to label, the unlimited storage, the g-chat…overall, it’s the easiest email for me to work with.

He really, really likes to perch on top of Mr G's laptop

He really, really likes to perch on top of Mr G’s laptop

Google voice. This one was a little less vital, but still helpful. Most people aren’t aware of it, but Google offers a service that will set you up with a local-to-you phone number, for free, that will be forwarded to your phone line. I wasn’t at all interested in giving out my cell phone number until I had my vendors arranged, so we used our Google number instead. People {DB, and various scammers that got our number through bridal shows} would call that number and leave a voicemail, which was then transcribed and emailed to me. This service didn’t really help with anything except cutting down on scammy calls, but I still appreciated it, especially when I unforwarded that number and never received another wedding related call 🙂

No big, just playing with some water bottles

No big, just playing with some water bottles

Google calendar. I don’t know how we would have lived without linked G-calendars, and that’s only a tiny bit exaggerated. As it stands, McGlovin and I have linked calendars. That is, we each have a calendar, linked to our email, which we allow each other- so I can see his schedule and he can see mine. This especially is helpful since McGlovin is a firefighter, and his calendar shows his duty days. Since both of us were doing the planning and making appointments,  linked calendars made it so much easier to organize our schedules.

He specifically likes to sleep upside down on road trips.

He specifically likes to sleep upside down on road trips.

Google drive. Before wedding planning, I’d used Google Drive to avoid emailing myself files occasionally, but the wedding brought it to a whole new level.  I made a folder on the drive of our wedding account titled {Glove’s Super Awesome Wedding}. Then, I shared that folder with my account and Mr G’s account, so that anyone logged into any of the three accounts could view and modify documents. Then, I put every.single.thing that was wedding related into that folder, starting with our guest list. Our moms each sent over excel spreadsheets of guests and addresses, and Mr G and I would each update the spreadsheet as we received more. Awesomely, more than one person can modify at the same time, so we would frequently be using on our laptops across from each other, adding or updating names and addresses. Also, I could be on the document at work while he was on at home, and use the G-chat feature to sort out any questions that we had. This was especially helpful when we were recording RSVPs, and there was some confusion among relatives. There are so many reasons that Google Drive was an amazing part of our wedding planning, which I’ll detail in another post. Just know- our wedding was so well organized as a direct result of the drive. No joke.

Seriously, though- whats with the back legs??

Seriously, though- whats with the back legs??

Youtube. Youtube was helpful to us mostly in organizing playlists. Using the wedding account as a sign in, we could each add songs to various play lists {getting ready, ceremony music, bagpipes, dinner music, first dance options, and reception playlist}. This wasn’t life changing, or anything, but it let each of us access lists in our own time, whenever we were struck with inspiration. 

God, I cannot even handle how cute they are playing together!

God, I cannot even handle how cute they are playing together!

Droid phones. Maybe it’s not just Droid phones, though that is what we use, and maybe smart phones in general that made our wedding planning easier. But I do know that McGlovin and I both have Droids that sync with Google incredibly easily. We each had the wedding email synced to our phones, in addition to our personal emails, to access vendor information. Our shared calendars were viewable, and updated instantly with added appointments. We downloaded a Drive app, so we could see and update all documents as needed, which was especially helpful when arguing over a vendor contract the week before the wedding. We were so crazy organized- and without needing to carry around a heavy binder and rifle through a mess of papers to find what we needed.

So there you have it. I for sure required my wedding binder, and used it until the end, but using Google to organize my wedding was the number one most useful decision we made at the beginning of planning. It also makes the difference, though, that McGlovin and I were both doing planning and coordinating- maybe I would have used some aspects less if I’d been handling everything on my own.

So, is everyone else also using the entire suite of Google products? If not, what are you doing to keep organized?

Monthiversary, and some reflections

Well hello again, Hive! McGlovin and I have been married for exactly one month, and it has been…awesome. I mean, it’s exactly the same as it was two months ago, but that was still awesome 🙂

This is what awesome looks like :)

This is what awesome looks like 🙂

Anyway, so- I thought about you a lot, Hive, while I was on my honeymoon. I kind of feel like I owe Weddingbee a bit of an apology. See, when I applied to be a Bee, I had a lot going on regarding wedding planning- all the decisions and pinning and being inspired, oh my! I seriously blogged four or five times week, charting all of our progress and exploring various decisions. And then, by August…there just wasn’t a lot left to talk {blog} about!

The thing is, McGlovin and I are a manically prepared people, and frontloaded our engagement with decision making and planning. Since I’m crazy organized, I’ve had a schedule and info packet drafted up since last June- a full seven months before the wedding. Bearing that in mind, along with the fact that we were planning a completely non-fussy wedding without a particular theme in mind {and therefore required next to no decorations or flowers or various other whathaveyou}, our wedding planning was not particularly complicated or challenging.

Gratuitous honeymoon photo :)

Gratuitous honeymoon photo 🙂

As a result, I really didn’t think I had a whole lot to offer the Weddingbee community. A quick chat with Mr G on our honeymoon, however, revealed that perhaps I could, actually, offer a number of suggestions in terms of how I organized such a stress-free wedding, since that seems to be much the opposite of the norm in wedding planning. So, if anyone is interested, my next few posts will cover my incredibly anal retentive organization, as well as suggestions for processes that seemed to work really well for us. Then I’ll cover the few DIY projects that we did that our guests loved, and then hopefully we’ll have photos back for some recaps.

So, yes, an apology for my lack of wedding blogging, but I hope you’re excited for Gloves, part 2! Be honest- there were other people who had a pretty easy go of wedding planning, right? Was anyone else pleasantly surprised? Or was that just me?

 

***photos are personal

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