Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now what? Use this guide to help you avoid clutter while planning the perfect wedding.

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You’re engaged! With a wedding on the horizon, you’ll want to start organizing the big event. But the stress of planning a wedding can sometimes overtake a joyous engagement. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, begin by creating a plan so your house continues to feel like a home instead of just a staging area for your wedding.

Organize Items by Area

Items coming into your house can quickly start to feel like organized chaos (sometimes without the “organized” part). To stay ahead of game and keep the clutter from becoming chaotic, arrange items according to the parts of the wedding in which they’ll be used. For example, items used in the ceremony can go in one clear storage bin, while items used for the reception can go in separate bins. Make a list of the items in each bin. According to wedding planner Danielle Pasternak, “The list can be handwritten, typed and printed, placed on a label, post-it, scrap paper – depends how stellar you’re feeling. Include the item, its purpose (if it isn’t obvious) and the quantity.” On her website, Pasternak says a sample list might look like this.

BIN 1 | CEREMONY

  • (100) Programs
  • Flower Girl basket
  • Unity Candle and (2) Taper Candles
  • Marriage License
  • Wedding Rings
  • Ring Bearer Pillow
  • Reserved Seating signs

If you have a particular vision for how you want the items displayed, take pictures of the items laid out as you wish and attach the photographs to each bin, as recommended by the writers at Martha Stewart Weddings. “To make sure your centerpieces and table settings look as beautiful at the reception as they do in your mind’s eye, photograph each vignette ahead of time. Then tape the photo to clear boxes filled with all of the necessary elements, and nobody will have to think twice about how to put them together.”

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

Your parents. Your friends. Your fiancé’s family. They all want to help. Put them to work to help take some stress off yourself and your fiancé, especially as the day draws nearer. “I cannot stress this enough when planning a wedding,” says Kathleen Shannon, a writer at A Practical Wedding. “I had my sister and sister-in-law organizing and picking up food. My brother and cousin were hanging paper lanterns. My best friend was decorating my mantle with bell jars and tea lights.”

When you’re gathering items you’ll need for the wedding, let your friends and family help out. Ask your friends or family members if you can store bins with items for the ceremony at their homes; then see if your maid-of-honor can help you house items for the reception. “Don’t try to do it all yourself,” adds Shannon. “You can’t and if you try you’ll hate yourself for it.”

wedding planning

Image courtesy of Ryan Resella at ryanresella.com

After the Wedding

You’ll have fewer items to bring home from the wedding, but there are still items you’ll need to make accommodations for. Before the big day, consider which items you want to use in your home, which items you want to sell, and what you can give away to attendees. “Unless you’re using very expensive vases, I recommend sending centerpieces home with your guests—I generally move them onto one table near the exit with a sign that says, ‘Please take some flowers when you go!’ sometime after cake cutting—they’ll love having pretty flowers at home for a few days, plus you then have a lot less stuff to haul out of there when you’re done,” suggests Elizabeth Clayton, another writer at A Practical Wedding.

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Assuming you will be going on a honeymoon immediately after the reception, consider designating temporary post-wedding storage places for gifts, for items you want to keep, for items you want to sell, and for items you don’t know what to do with. For each item you want to bring home from the wedding, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where will it go once it leaves the wedding?
  • Who is in charge of bringing it there?
  • Does that person have room in his or her vehicle and home to store it temporarily?

Having everything planned before your wedding day means you can leave your reception knowing you won’t return from your honeymoon to post-wedding chaos.

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