I am a list person. Grocery lists, yes, of course. But also to-do lists; extensive wedding to-do lists; daily, weekly, monthly and beyond to-do lists.
I do not know why, when, or how I started this. I certainly do not come from a family of list-people. But I have books of lists and plans and ideas. Maybe it is due to all the planning associated with being a teacher? Maybe, though I do believe I started with the crazy lists long before embarking on lesson plans, unit plans, year plans. Regardless, the lists-obsession has lent itself very well to wedding planning.
We are nearing the last ¼ of a full 2-year engagement. Is there stuff left to do? Of course! But you can be certain that everything that is left has an associated list saved on my trusty laptop. One of the first things that I did after we became engaged is start to put together all of the ideas that we had talked about and I had researched. Lists of who to hire and when; lists of things to book; pros and cons lists of every major decision; purchase lists; budget lists; and, of course, the giant DIY list.
Actually, there are two parts to my DIY list. Section 1 is a list with tasks outlined per month. For example, in January I am to package and mail our destination wedding invitations (which I created through October and November and will be covered in a separate post), and begin creating the invitations for our at-home reception (again, another post). I will also complete the personalized hanger that I bought materials for a few months ago. I have a schedule for these projects, based on weekends and taking into account the short Fridays I have and the extended time off for the holidays. Seriously. I actually sat down and spent some time doing this with a couple calendars, post-it-notes and my current “list-book”. (I always choose a fun, hardcover notebook for my lists and plans; currently it is a blue vintage Mickey Mouse one.) I also have a “code” to keep track of where I am with projects. A dot after the point means the materials for the project have all been collected or purchased. A dash after the point is made once the project is started. A dash before the point means the project is almost done (maybe just needs to be printed, for example, or mailed). It only gets a checkmark once fully complete and either stored or sent away.
Section 2 is saved on my computer. That is the master list of projects I will be completing, organized by headings (i.e. destination details, at home reception, stationary projects, gifts, and so on).
A little anal-retentive? Yeah, probably. But I dare say that this craziness saves me money. Well, and sanity too. But mostly money.
I know ahead of time what I need to find, or buy. I watch sales and clip coupons as I find them. For example, I am going to be using small wooden frames around the at home reception. I found ones I liked for $2 a piece at Michaels, but over a year ago I saw that they were on sale during a clearance sale. 5 for $2. I knew I needed them, and how many I needed, because I had outlined it all in a list. I saved money. I truly believe that one of the easiest ways to save money is to keep all that “small stuff” from adding up. I also rarely buy things that I do not need, because my lists focus my shopping and projects.
Oddly enough, my house, closet, and lots else is not that organized. But I find that this is the easiest way to save time and money. What works for you in terms of organization and saving money?
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.