Last updated: August 23. 2013 6:22PM - 16 Views

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HERE’S SO MUCH TO do — picking a date, finding a hall, selecting invitations, making decorations, meeting with the officiant, choosing your attendants, stressing about money, buying the perfect dress, and more — it’s enough to intimidate even the pros.How in the heck are you supposed to keep all this organized, and like many brides-to-be, work a day job too?Read on for expert advice on doing just that:• Resist the urge to become overwhelmed.“We’ve all had some friends over for dinner, but who’s ever planned a party for 100 or 200 or more than that? It’s daunting,” said Stacey Agin Murray, a professional organizer whose business, Organized Artistry LCC, is in Fair Lawn, N.J. (Check out www.organizedartistry.com.) “There are so many details that have to be taken care of and everything has to come together on that day that it’s important for a bride and groom to be organized or it could be more stress than it already is,” she said.• Still breathing? Good. Time to make a plan.You’re going to need to take notes, so be prepared to do so.“I work a lot with the mothers. Every mother has a mother’s notebook,” said Bobbie Izeman, a wedding planner in Bexley, near Columbus, with almost 30 years experience. (Check out www.bobbieizeman.com.) “One mother came in with a great big file cabinet. I’ve had a father come in with a laptop computer.”Sharree Brenneman-Reehling, conventions/meetings sales director at the Lima/Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau, suggests using a dedicated notebook.“You need to keep everything in a notebook because you’re going to have to look things back up,” Brenneman-Reehling said. “Notes. Lots of notes.”Murray, whose own wedding was seven years ago, agreed. (She’s an organizer by trade, so of course she’s organized, right?) She bought a binder with pocket folder and dividers and set out to keep track of everything in one place.“It’s what saved me,” she said. “Create that wedding binder with the pocket folders and the plastic sheets.”Her system was that one side of the folder held photos of ideas on flowers, etc., to show vendors. The flip side of the folder held the contract with the chosen vendor.• Be wary of overexposure.“I once had a girl, she was looking for a gown,” Izeman said. “She went to 14 bridal salons. That’s crazy. After awhile they all look alike.“Same with vendors,” Izeman said. Bridal shows are also great places of inspiration, if you approach cautiously.“Don’t go to so many that you’re going to get overwhelmed,” Izeman said.• Know your city.If you’re dead-set on a location, be sure to check out what’s going on around that location during your time period, Brenneman-Reehling said. There are major events at the Allen County Fairgrounds or Veterans Memorial Civic Center that bring a lot of folks to town.“Big events take lots of rooms,” Brenneman-Reehling said. “You can check on our Web site, the calendar of events, to see if there are any large things coming in.”That Web site is www.allencvb.lima.oh.us — and it also has another nifty feature. Look under “Business Info” at “Conference/Event Planning,” and you’ll see a listing of banquet facilities and local caterers. The agency also has free maps and guides for out-of-town visitors.• Break the task up into pieces and delegate.“I tell people to break it down into small bits,” Murray said. “When I work with people as an organizer, I often advise them in places that they can to delegate things out.”If you’re surrounded by helpful people, use their talents.“Send your father-in-law to the post office for stamps for the invitation, ask the bridesmaids to do the out-of-town guests’ gift bags. If your bridesmaids are creative, take advantage of it.”The only caveat: “You have to keep track of what task you gave to what person and follow up,” Murray said.• Keep a to-do list current.“Just have a checklist of everything you’re doing,” Brenneman-Reehling said.Murray agreed, explaining that she takes great pleasure in completing a task and scratching it off her to-do lists.“It’s a visual reminder of what needs to be done,” Murray said. “The best way to do it is a to-do list, and just keep scratching.”

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