You’ve dreamt about the perfect wedding for as long as you can remember, and now that you’re engaged (congrats!) it’s time to see if AND how you can pull it off. Pinterest has its perks, but when it comes to getting a feel for your own ideas, there’s nothing quite like an actual page full of inspiration to get you excited for your wedding. If you decided to use a paper wedding planner, you might be wondering what now? Good news! We chatted with Loverly founder and CEO Kellee Khalil, who shared her most helpful tips on utilizing your paper planner to make that dream wedding a reality. Check out her expert tips for both brides and grooms-to-be for some happy planning!

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How much time should couples ideally set aside to plan their wedding?

I’d definitely recommend having a runway of at least nine months to plan your wedding. While it’s great to postpone planning a bit to soak up your oh-so-fabulous new status, there are a few elements that need speedier attention. It’s helpful to keep those wedding planning checklists top of mind to tackle those to-do’s before all else, if you’re trying to tie the knot in less than a year!

Budget Pie Chart

What is the first thing couples should do after getting their planner?

Have a date night in. Pour some wine and start flipping through the planner for an easy read on a Friday night! Also, do some digging online too. Follow your favorite wedding brands on Instagram so you can stay in the know of fun wedding trends. We may be biased, but here are a few of our fave Instagrammers: Loverly, Inspired by This, How He Asked and Bridal Musings.

Are there any other items in conjunction (i.e. a binder, folders) that couples can use to maximize the effectiveness of their planner?

From ideas and inspiration to all your to-dos, there is a lot to keep track of! Fortunately, we just launched a tech companion to our paper Loverly Wedding Planner the Loverly Weddings: Perfect Wedding Planner App. You can organize all your inspiration, stay on track with your vendor onboarding, but most importantly CHAT live with a Loverly wedding expert! It’s like having your wedding planner in your pocket!

That said, it IS nice to have all of your wedding materials organized with hard copies of all of the contracts and proposals in one place, especially if you’re getting any financial help from your potentially less tech-savvy parents. They might want to see the physical documentation!

What kind of records should couples keep in their planner?

Our planner is pretty awesome in that it blends both the inspiration and beauty of a coffee table book with the utility of a true wedding how-to manual. At the end of each chapter, we have worksheets and open note space for couples to jot down ideas and capture creative streams of consciousness. We also include comprehensive timelines to help couples stay on track with their vision.

Our “to sum up” tables also help organize what the couple’s already done and what still needs some TLC. It lists out “Items Requiring Attention” (e.g. Wedding Website, Save the Date, Invitations, etc.) and two open cells to add in statuses for “Your Decisions Thus Far” and “Notes and Reminders.”

Would you advise couples to split up the responsibilities/decision-making or work together when it comes to the different sections in the planner?

From the outset of planning, it’s going to feel like you have to make a BILLION decisions (yes, down to what stemware to rent for the champagne toast), so having your partner by your side, sharing the responsibilities, can really help you get through all the stress that can come with planning a wedding. Also remember, your wedding is about you and your partner, and should be a reflection of your style and #relationshipgoals as a couple. This can best be achieved by working together and discussing all the decisions versus a divide-and-conquer approach. All that said, if one of you is less enthusiastic about the planning than the other, make it a mission to get your partner to love planning. If there’s something that he or she is particularly passionate about — she loves music, he loves desserts — then take turns on taking the reigns! This might mean giving him or her homework to flip through the planner and make some updates while flying solo. Just remember to come back together at the end of the week and chat it all out.

In what ways can bridesmaids and people other than the newly engaged couple use your planner?

The planner has tons of checklists to help brides/grooms off-board some tasks to members of their wedding party or family and friends who want to pitch in. MOHs, for instance, can utilize all the timelines included in the book to ensure they’re offering the best and most efficient help that their bride needs for things to run as smoothly as possible on their big day.

Would you advise couples to go in chronological order or is it okay for couples to skip around chapters?

If you have no clue where to begin when it comes to planning a wedding, starting from the beginning and reading through the book chronologically is a good game plan. If you’re more of a skim-for-the-good stuff kind of couple, in need of just a few helpful hints, then taking a look at specific chapters might be your best plan of action. Same goes for last-minute, “Wait, what do I do with this?” scenarios. If you find yourself in a jam, then zero in on the sidebar call-outs and quick reference pages, like our “Tipping Chart” guide or our “Social Media Etiquette” guide.

Procrastinators FAQ

What planner features can couples utilize to stay organized?

The Loverly Wedding Planner is packed with checklists, wedding worksheets and timelines, insider tips and budget breakdowns to help even the most frazzled and disorganized nearlyweds manage their wedding planning with ease and efficiency. We also have great, easily-digestible commentary (Insider Insight’s, Real Couples Speak, etc.) that feels super personal and provides “IRL” situations that most brides and grooms can relate to.

Are you getting ready for the wedding of your dreams? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know how your planner is helping you stay on track for your special day!

(Photos via Loverly)