DIY: Customize a Wedding Planner Binder

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So, I've started on my own personal wedding journey and, no matter how far out you are from The Big Day, you need to start planning ASAP. The more time you dedicate to planning – the better the deals you can score. One of the simplest ways to take on your wedding planning is to sign up for a free online planning service (KMT's faves include: theknot.com, projectwedding.com, and marthasteartweddings.com) OR go the printed wedding planner route. I opted for the latter because I am the type that needs to touch the information and have a spot to doodle notes.

However, during my wedding planner scouting trip to the bookstore – I learned something. Most of those planner suck. Like, they had too little information, or they were aimed towards fancy schmancy weddings, or they were just plain ugly. I wanted something that was easy-to-read, had a sleek and contemporary look, and allowed me to add and remove items as needed (so I decided that a 3-ring binder was best). After a half an hour leafing through every planner on the shelf – I determined that this "dream planner" did not exist…so I'd have to make one.

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Image Courtesy of: The Bali Wedding Planner

Here's what I ended up doing: I found a really ugly wedding planning binder (The Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer) at the bookstore that had tons of great information and combined it with a simple binder from the office aisle at Target. The result? A perfect example of form working hand-in-hand with function. Here's how I did it:

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On the left is the really ugly binder form the bookstore (WHY do publishers think that anything with the word "wedding" in it needs to be a BRIGHT eye-numbing pink color?) and on the right is the plain binder from Target. Also inside this neon pink wonder?

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A complimentary (AND HIDEOUS!) tote bag that loudly proclaims "BRIDE" in 10' tall writing. Ugh. Also inside were some pocket section dividers. They're nice but not really my taste. Here's the thing:

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The inside of that ugly ass binder was page after page of detailed and clean-lined information (including one of the most detailed sections that I have ever seen on the actual wedding ceremony/legalities/and vows – something that was really important to me to have). And inside the blank binder were tabbed section dividers and lots of labels for organization:

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I removed the interior pages and sorted out the ones that pertained to my wedding's particular needs (for example, I nixed the entire section on transportation because there is no need for wheels at my weddin').

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Next, I sorted the old binder's interior pages into the divided sections of the new binder. I also took the time to read the entire thing (TONS of information – very useful) and highlighted ideas and tips that I found important.

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Then, I went through all my tear files (folders holding pages that I've torn from magazines) and inserted these inspirational images into the appropriate sections in the new binder. To do this, I used clear plastic page protectors (for the smaller cut-up pieces, I taped them [according to theme/section] on to blank pieces of copy paper and inserted each paper into the appropriate page protectors).

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To finish the binder off I pulled the last three items from the old, ugly binder and put them in the front of the new binder. This last items included: a 3-hole punch, a business card holder, and a large resealable bag (that I'm using to collect every receipt associated with the wedding). And for those of you wondering – the ugly planner cost me $27.96 (originally $34.95 but I got a discount because I used my bookstore membership card) and the Target binder was $9.00. So, for $36.96 I got a fully customized and 100% me Wedding Planning Binder.

P.S. I donated the unused binder and rejected interior items to Goodwill (and got a tax write-off!).

What planning tools are you using? Did you end up customizing anything to better suit your needs? Do share!

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