The Tools to Keep Wedding Planning Simple + Wedding Planner GIVEAWAY!

By Caitlin Moulton-Towle, @caitsaysso

My husband and I are big fans of the show “Friends,” so we have a lot of opinions about it – like that Ross & Rachel are the worst and Monica & Chandler are the superior example of #couplegoals (don’t @ me). We can relate to them in a lot of ways, and I usually identify with Monica; however, in “The One With Rachel’s Book,” I was with Chandler every time he called their wedding a party.

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(Spoiler alert: they had their perfect New York wedding without spending all their savings! The magic of TV.)

It’s difficult to see your wedding as something so simple, because it’s more than just a meal, band, and dance floor for you and your closest friends and family – it’s celebrating the love two people share that sets the foundation for their next stage of life together. Still, it’s a challenge to keep a healthy perspective during the planning process. Sure, the wedding is just one day/night (or weekend, if you’re really #extra) while your marriage is a lifetime but try telling yourself that when faced with the multitude of decisions about the wedding standing in your way of starting that stage of life.

My husband and I could maintain level heads and embrace the calm while planning our wedding because we had great tools and resources at our disposal. They took the guessing out of planning, so we could look forward to a day that brought us happiness and love and enjoy it without being distracted over what could go wrong. Here are the top three tools that made our wedding planning a piece of white-almond-with-caramel-ganache-wedding-cake.

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(NOT me on my wedding day.)

1. Google All-In-One Wedding Planner Template

Someone sent me the link to this gem almost as soon as we started planning and it was the foundation of our wedding “plan”. From tracking our wedding budget (even as detailed as the % allocated to each section of spending) to maintaining vendor lists to planning a reception seating chart, it covered all the minute details we didn’t want to miss. Once you download the template and start personalizing per your preferences, it can be as involved as you need it to be. For example, we edited tabs to expand how we tracked gifts and thank you notes – one of the things I was most worried about getting lost in the chaos. Get it HERE.

2. Wedding Website

Sure, everyone has a wedding website. But a lot of couples don’t use those sites to their maximum capabilities. Everyone uses a site to share their wedding schedule, bridal party, and photos with their guests, but we decided the additional features like free electronic RSVP and guest list tracking for both the rehearsal dinner AND the wedding were more than worth the extra time to learn to navigate the site and app. We chose, but a lot of other free wedding sites offer the same great tools at no cost. I appreciated the companion app especially because it was easy to see what RSVPs we were still waiting on and keep an up-to-date guest count on the go. Check our site out HERE.

3. Erin Condren Wedding Planner

I’ll be honest, I’d been waiting for my husband to pop the question, so I’d finally have an excuse to order my own Erin Condren Wedding Planner. I made the switch to electronic life management long ago, but this was the one time I was very excited to use a paper planner in conjunction with all the online tools. The EC wedding planner is not only visually gorgeous no matter what pattern or style you pick (and they have lots to choose from), but it’s extremely easy to customize and make your own. It’s the perfect place to start laying out your ideas and calendar plan all the stages leading up your wedding day. It has so many different and useful sections for any bride (or groom) - checklists for each calendar block (14-9 months, 8-6 months, and so on), stage-by-stage planning sheets, plus lined and graph paper to draft out notes and ideas. Even the cute little stickers made calendar tracking more exciting. Go grab yours today HERE!

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My obsession with my EC planner begins!

It was easy to get a fresh cover when we got our engagement photos from Allie!

The best tool of all, though? Your team. Our stress-free wedding experience was more than anything all about our people. Family and friends who supported us even when things did get a little stressful here and there, along with the fabulous vendors like our wedding coordinator, Beth, and our photographer/videographer, Allie – they really made the difference. Without them, we didn’t know what we didn’t know, and they never made us feel bad about the things that may not have automatically come to mind as we went about our wedding planning experience. Take a deep breath and remember, it really is a party. As it should be! A big, fun, and special party to celebrate the real goal waiting at the end of it: a marriage to someone you love and who loves you.

Happy planning!

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*Thanks so much to Caitlin for being a guest contributor to the Allie Tyler Photography blog. Caitlin and John were a 2017 Allie Tyler Photography wedding couple. Their wedding was at the beautiful and historic Mill Top Banquet Hall in downtown Noblesville--an amazing converted flour mill with breathtaking views of the entire town from its rooftop lookout.

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