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Emily and I wrote the Southern Weddings Planner in early 2014, and one of the best things about that timing was that it fell right after I got engaged! Having just scored the shelves of Barnes and Noble for a planner that fit my needs unsuccessfully, being able to turn around and help create exactly what I was looking for was quite a luxury. I know not every bride can do the same, but we created the Southern Weddings Planner to include everything we thought you might need–from tips and tricks we’ve gathered over a decade of working with vendors and interviewing brides, to plenty of space to dream and gather inspiration, to tons of organizational pages, to a few fun features we created just for the Planner (the dress shopping journal is my favorite!). However, for as much as we jam-packed into these pretty pages, there’s still more you can do to customize your Planner to fit your needs, and we hope you aren’t afraid to do just that! Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

1. Add pocket pages for collecting important paperwork. While lots of the logistics are handled digitally nowadays, it’s inevitable that some papers will accumulate throughout your engagement. Clear sheet protectors are just a few dollars, and you can use as many or as few as you like for corralling loose pages. I personally added a pocket page for each of my major vendors, and used that pocket for any papers (contracts, scans of checks, brochures, etc.) corresponding to that person/company. If you prefer, three-hole-punch folders are another great option!

2. Rearrange the pages in a way that makes the most sense to you. Along with your overall inspiration board, we included pages in numerous sections for more specific inspiration boards (one for your look, one for your bridesmaid style, one for your flowers, etc.). Angela of Saffron Avenue rearranged the inspiration board pages to put them all together and make sure her vision was super cohesive–we love that idea! Since the Planner is a three-ring binder, it couldn’t be easier to move things around if you want to.

3. Supplement with printables. In a few places throughout the Planner (like the Calendar pages and Thank You Note Tracker, to name a few), we give you access to a link where you can download additional pages if you need them. Don’t let running out of space be an excuse to fall behind in keeping track of the important stuff–download and print a few extra pages right off the bat if you think you might need them!

4. Skip pages. We tried to include everything we thought a Southern bride may need while planning a wedding in the Planner, but every wedding (and every couple!) is different. If you and your beau prefer a different tracking system, are planning a nontraditional celebration that requires some different planning strategies (maybe an elopement or two receptions in multiple locations), or something simply doesn’t apply to you, skip it! You don’t need to fill in every page in order to use your Planner well.

5. Repurpose the Planner after your wedding. While we love the idea of keeping your Planner intact as a keepsake, we’ve also heard of some really fun, creative ways brides have transformed their Planners post-wedding! Here are a few: add photo pages and create a scrapbook, use it to keep your newlywed life organized (we love these free printables from our friend, Emily Ley!), or add pocket pages to collect mementos from vacations and adventures.

If you have more ideas for personalizing your Planner, we’d love to hear them in the comments below or via the hashtag #SWPlanner! And if you haven’t picked up a Planner yet (for yourself or your favorite bride-to-be–they make a perfect engagement gift!), find them in the Southern Weddings Shop.

lisa Written with love by Lisa

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