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How to Make a Wedding Binder

July 16, 2014


After last year’s Wedding Week, my most asked question was – where did you get your wedding binder?  After multiple tutorial requests, I figured one was long overdue… so here we go!

  1. Get a binder. Bigger is better. I think I upgraded binder sizes 3 times. Save yourself the hassle and start with an 1.5 inch (at least).
  2. Create tabs. These will/can be different for everyone, plus they will evolve throughout the planning process (details on my tabs later).  I also created a table of contents at the front of my binder to help with navigation.
  3. Organize as you go. Whether you are half way through the planning process, or just beginning, take the paperwork you have (anything from magazine clippings you like, to the guest list) and give them a home in the binder.  I used plastic sleeves to hold loose clippings or smaller pieces of paper.  I also made sure that an extra copy of the invitation, program, etc. were all kept safe in the binder (my binder turned into a type of scrapbook by the end of the wedding!).
  4. Have a wedding Excel file. I had an ongoing Excel file up at all times to track RSVPs, wedding gifts, and attendance to various weddings events… I HIGHLY recommend you do the same.
  5. Keep current. I made sure to have updated lists, contracts, etc. filed and threw out old ones, as to not be confused.  Make sure that all inspiration is aligns with your final vision.  Started with a garden party theme and now want a more city chic approach? Get rid of anything that doesn’t match the final product.


Ok so now onto the fun stuff… here were my tabs and what I included in each of them (please disregard any confusing tab names/contents… this is just what worked for me and my organization process):

Guest List

  • RSVP Guest List Spreadsheet – included RSVP tracking for all events (wedding, hotel, friday reception, welcome bags, etc.)
  • Gift Spreadsheet – kept track of all gifts and whether a thank you note had been sent yet or not
  • Address Spreadsheet – I kept track over everyone’s addresses and weather or not invites were sent out


  • CVR Contract – our copy of the contract (good to have at the front of the binder to review throughout the planning process)
  • BEO (Banquet Event Order) – our timing, menu requirements, room set-up, etc. were all listed here
  • Final Invoice – CVR’s final invoice statement
  • Budget Spreadsheet – I broke our budget down accordingly, and also tracked estimated, adjusted and actual costs, deposit amounts, payment due dates, fixed/fluctuating costs, etc.
  • Agenda – I had our itinerary overview listed out for the weekend
  • Vendor List – from ceremony location to our band, all vendors were listed in one place


  • Checklist – CVR (our wedding location) provided a check-list that I stored here
  • Wedding Follow-up – I saved our list of notes/questions that we came prepared with for our last planning meeting, and tracked their changes/progress



  • Timeline – I had a minute by minute timeline prepared that included each and every detail – from when each vendor was arriving, to when the DJ would start playing for the reception.
  • To-Do List – I had every app known to man, but it was helpful to have an old fashioned to-do list (that I created/didn’t download) that had specific tasks I needed to do (i.e. order ice cream sandwiches, finalize welcome letters, get eyelash extensions)
  • Bridal Party Agenda – this was distributed to the bridal party at the beginning of the weekend and was a simple one sheet that contained where they needed to be for photos, event start times, and bridal party phone numbers
  • Checklist – I had a good ol’ downloaded off the internet checklist that broke things down according to time frame (12 months out, 9 months out, 1 day out, etc.)


  • Brochure/Pamphlet – I included a pamphlet from our venue (helpful in shopping various vendors our space)
  • Map – Venue map
  • Photos – enlarged photos of the space to help navigate our ceremony and reception locations

Friday Activity

  • Agenda – our wedding was a weekend affair, so I made sure to break down the activities for each day (including headcount, menus, etc.
  • Welcome Bag Count – I created a spreadsheet (SURPRISE) to pass off to the front desk for distribution with guest name/what the room was booked under/hotel name/etc.
  • Welcome Bag Collage – I used Publisher to create a collage of all of the items in the bag for an easy visual (pretzels, Advil, sunscreen, Shout wipes, Fruit Snacks, Pop Chips, etc.
  • Financials – I made sure to include receipts, contracts (for Friday’s dinner space), party bus invoice, etc. all in one spot


Saturday Activities

  • Agenda – Saturday’s activities listed all in one place
  • Inspiration Collages – I used Publisher to put together images from my Pintrest boards all in one place.  I found this super helpful when working with vendors (florists, etc.) to help give them a vibe of where I wanted to go with decor


  • Clippings – I used this space to save my favorite magazine articles (favor ideas, honeymoon tips, etc.)
  • Collages – I also stored random inspiration collages for favors, bouquets, cake ideas, etc.
  • Honeymoon Itinerary 



  • Details – Stored all ceremony details (officiant, favors, marriage license, program vendor, cocktail hour drinks, etc.)
  • Ceremony Decor Inspiration Collage
  • Favor Inspiration Collage
  • Program Design Collage – as well as program design, invoice, mock-ups, etc.
  • Favor Invoices

Cocktail Reception

  • Drink, Food & Decor Collages – Pintrest inspiration

Dinner Reception

  • Seating Chart
  • Reception & Table Decor Collage
  • Reception Menu 


  • Floral Inspiration Collage 
  • Florist Bid/Quote



  • DJ Survey/Planner
  • DJ Contract


  • Photo Contract
  • Photo Schedule 


  • Bridal Party Collage
  • Dress/Suit Invoices – alteration slips, etc


  • Invitations – mock-ups, final copies, etc.
  • Programs, Menus, etc.


Once everything has a home, add a fun cover (I used Photoshop to create one that matched my invitations) and you will be ready to go! Happy planning!



Wedding Week – Planning and Prep

July 8, 2013

Beaver Wedding

Jeremy and I will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary this weekend, and in honor of this momentous occasion, I wanted to kick-off Laundry in Louboutin’s Wedding Week!  I wanted to have a place to share some of my thoughts on the planning process, tips I learned along the way and things I would have done differently…  hopefully this will be helpful to any Bride’s to Be out there 🙂 So let’s get started!  Today’s theme is Planning and Prep but stay tuned this week for advice on Decor, Food, Entertainment, DIY, and more!

Wedding WeekA

I am obsessed with organization, lists, note taking, etc. so when it came to planning time, I went straight to Office Max and picked up some “binder essentials.”  For anyone planning their own wedding (as I did), this is critical.  Go get a large binder, some tabs and get started.  Here were my tab topics:

  • Guest List
  • Contracts
  • Timeline
  • Venue
  • Friday Activities (our wedding was a weekend long event, so we planned out different excursions, etc.)
  • Saturday Activities
  • Ceremony
  • Cocktail Reception
  • Dinner Reception
  • Decor
  • Music
  • Photo/Video
  • Attire
  • Invitations

Wedding WeekC

Wedding WeekD

At the beginning of the planning process, I recommend sitting down with your fiance and each writing down your Top 3 areas where you would like to focus your budget on.  J and I had both agreed on Food/Wine, but I had chosen Photography and Flowers, and he choose Venue and Music. We worked out a budget that reflected our priorities and off we went!  Some grooms are more interested in planning than others, but I think you’ll learn that many people will have input when it comes to planning your wedding, and it is really important that you look back and are happy with your day… and for us that meant it reflecting the two of us as a couple.


We decided to go with the “theme” of a A Really Fabulous Dinner Party.  Now you don’t have to have an actual theme – ie. Disney Princess or Nautical, but I think it really is helpful to have something to help “streamline” your vision.  We wanted to have people feel like we were having them over for a great dinner party – long tables that sat 30 people, a live band, great wine and yummy food. From there we got to planning!  Here were some of my favorite lists/guides:

  • Pintrest: There is no denying this is the holy grail for planning.  Need ideas for great ways to incorporate your favorite flower? His favorite color? Memorabilia from your dates?  This is the place!
  • Martha Stewart Weddings: Considering I am obsessed with all things Martha, this is not a surprise.  Her magazines are gorgeous, but this site has some genius ideas and gorgeous real wedding inspiration!
  • The Knot: This content-rich site was a little overwhelming at times.  But they had a good planning checklist (I recommend downloading the app on your phone).
  • Registry 360: Not sure if this is the best tool of it’s kind out there, but it was great to have all of our registries located in one place.  Plus people can track deals and shop online.  We had everything from a Sears grill, to Etsy artwork.

Wedding WeekB