Between choosing the perfect wedding flowers, hunting down the ideal venue, choosing bridesmaids dresses, pinning all those DIY wedding ideas and everything in between, wedding planning can be tough. There’s A LOT to think about. Even if you have a wedding planner, you have to set up a good organizational system to keep all the small details that go into making your wedding special and unique. Enter Lisa Kirk, editor at Southern Weddings Magazine, who has some fab advice for brides-to-be.

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Lisa offered up expert advice on how to keep it all together while planning your wedding, and why a paper wedding planner is a must to stay organized. Follow her tips to help alleviate some of the stress, make the planning process a bit smoother and give you some time to actually enjoy your big day.

What are your top three tips for staying organized when planning a wedding?

1. Break down your to-dos into smaller tasks. “From your master to-do list, break things down into small, actionable steps. For example, instead of simply writing make reception signage, you might write, buy signage materials, finalize wording, give signage to calligrapher. Not only will this keep you on top of the big tasks (that are really a bunch of small tasks rolled into one), but it will also mean you can cross things off of your list more often as you make progress!”

2. Put a system in place for tracking your budget. “Whether you go with a spreadsheet, Google Docs or a pen and paper approach, be sure to write down every dollar you spend, and plan ahead for payments that you know are coming up.”

3. Get a paper wedding planner. “I’m a little biased, but get the Southern Weddings Planner! Along with all of our best planning tips and advice, we included timelines, calendars and plenty of space to break things down and keep track of all the moving parts.”

Southern Weddings Planner

How do you think couples can most effectively use a paper wedding planner for their big day?

“When planning a wedding (or working on any big project, really), having everything in one organized, convenient place is so helpful. Over the years, we’ve interviewed hundreds of brides, worked with scores of vendors and even planned a few of our own weddings in the Southern Weddings office, so when we set out to write the Southern Weddings Planner, we were determined to create something that included all of our BEST information, plenty of space to dream and collect inspiration and everything we know brides need to plan meaningful, seamless celebrations. While you can certainly Google answers to your wedding planning questions as you go, I love knowing that all of our very best tips and advice are packed into the Planner, and it can be the first place brides turn when they have a question. Besides, there’s something so satisfying about checking things off of a paper list, don’t you think? Perhaps best of all, creating a Planner that is as beautiful as it is useful was important to us — we included tons of gold foil details, gorgeous watercolor tabs and some beautiful calligraphy elements. It makes the Planner such a sweet keepsake that you’ll hold on to long after your wedding day!”

Southern Weddings Planner inside

What is your favorite section of the Southern Weddings Planner and why?

“All of the Southern Weddings girls, myself included, have a special place in our hearts for the Marriage Planning chapter. We believe that planning a wedding means planning for more than just one day — it means preparing for a lifelong marriage. We do our best to encourage brides every day to remember what that one day is leading toward, so our Planner wouldn’t have been complete without a section to help them do just that. It includes date ideas to use throughout your engagement, fun questions to ask each other and even a page to help couples dream about their first year of marriage. It’s truly special and something I don’t think you’ll find in any other wedding planner on the market. Since I’m currently in my first year of marriage myself, I can personally attest to the fact that working through this section together pays off in such sweet ways!”

Do you have any other advice for brides (and grooms!) planning their wedding?

“Work together! As much as people talk about the wedding being the bride’s day, the truth is, it’s not — it’s about the two of you and the life you’re creating, hand in hand. Communicate well and work together to plan a ceremony and celebration that reflects you as a couple, your love story and what you hope your life together will be about. Whether that means a day filled with family traditions or s’mores around a fire pit, the best wedding you can have is one that is true to who you are, together.”

The Southern Weddings Planner is available for purchase in the Southern Weddings Shop for $38 to keep you organized, inspired and on track throughout your entire engagement and wedding day. Know someone that would love this handy binder? You can also give the Planner as a sweet gift with a gift wrap option to your favorite engaged gals.

Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know how you organize your to-dos for your special day!

(Photos via Southern Weddings Magazine)