1bb02c10-ca8f-0132-9a62-0e01949ad350Who knew that getting married meant so much paperwork? Even a simple wedding of 100 guests requires you to sign venue sheets, photography contracts, fill out DJ forms – and that’s all before even your wedding license! And don’t even get me started on how many immigration forms I’m looking at to move two hours south.

There are lots of digital apps and tools you can use to keep yourself organized – personally, I love the classic standby Evernote and its mobile pairing with Scannable. Take a picture with your phone and the app turns it into a scanned PDF that you can host on your phone or in the cloud, where you can access it anywhere.

But, I’m a sucker for binders and colour-coated labels, so I still print everything out and have a hard copy of it in my wedding binder. Worst case scenario, I lose both my phone and my computer, I’ll still have that binder. Or in a more likely case scenario, if my mom or MOH needs something, they have an easily accessible place to find it. Whether you have a wedding planner or not, eventually everything comes down to your decision, so you have to stay organized.

The first thing you need to do it go to Staples. For some reason, going to Staples is like going to get a new wardrobe. It’s exhilarating. School supply shopping always thrilled me as a kid. Pick out a binder that you like – a 1 or 1.5 inch should do. You don’t have to replicate Monica’s wedding binder from Friends (unless you already have. Then good for you, girl). Get a colour you like. I have a white one because I’m the bride, but they make binders in every colour and having one that stands out among everything else will make it easy to find. Get some colourful dividers too. And maybe some nice pens. And a label maker. (Okay, you don’t need a label maker, but this is what Staples does to me.)

Put a nice photo of you and your future spouse on the front so when you’re stressed out, you remember why you’re doing all this. Ahhh, yes. True love.

The first section of your binder should be a month-by-month calendar of every month from now until your wedding. Circle important dates (your wedding itself, rehearsal dinner, when out-of-town guests arrive, when your dress is ready, etc.) first, and then you’ll have an idea of when you need to get other things done by.

The next section should be a checklist of everything you need to get done – everything. This should include small things (e.g., get stamps) because when you get small things done, it should feel like a victory. And you’ve earned it.

Put all your paperwork after that. File it by what you need to send out or confirm in front (high priority) and then put what you’ve already confirmed in the back, to have it just for safe keeping.

Now, you can get creative and put fun things in there. Print off invitation ideas, tear out dress designs you like from magazines, maybe have a running list of the songs that absolutely have to be played at your wedding. Getting married is stressful, but being in love with your future spouse is not – remind yourself of that!