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What to Include in Your Wedding Day Binder (The Ultimate Guide!)

May 15, 2024

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I'm Candice, your new tell-it-like-it-is BFF (and purpose cheerleader). Are you ready to grow and scale a profitable business with purpose–and one that gives back to your meaningful life? Thought so!

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If there’s one thing you need to know about my wedding planning days, it’s that you would’ve never caught me walking around on a wedding day without my receipts. And while I know there are a million and one things that you need to do the week of the wedding, one of the most important things you’ll do is put together your wedding day binder. That’s exactly what we are going to talk about today!

Are you a newer wedding planner still trying to learn the ropes in all this? I highly recommend my Final Wedding Week Prep Playbook. Inside, I dive deeper into exactly what you need to prepare for a successful (and stress-free) wedding day.

First, what exactly is a wedding day binder?

Just so we are on the same page, a wedding day binder is essentially your command center on paper. It should contain every single detail you need to know and manage on the big day. As a wedding planner or even day-of coordinator, this binder is your most trusted ally, accompanying you wherever you go throughout the event. 

Mine never left my side. It meticulously contained everything from detailed timelines and vendor contracts to payment schedules, contact lists, and any special instructions you need to be aware of. If it’s in your contract (or one of the vendor’s your couple hired’ contracts), it was in there. 

As you set out to put together yours, know that this binder not only ensures that you stay on top of the day's flow but also acts as a quick reference guide to resolve any questions or last-minute changes efficiently. With every piece of information at your fingertips, a thorough wedding day binder can truly be the backbone of your wedding day.

“But Candice, what if I have everything digitally?”

I literally knew you would ask this. But no. While it’s tempting to rely solely on digital tools given their convenience and eco-friendliness, not to mention carrying around a 20-lb binder on a 17-hour wedding day is not exactly my idea of a good time, analog (paper) is just more reliable. Phones die. Wi-fi sucks. Tech fails. 

While I hope I can convince you otherwise, if you prefer to go digital, ensure you have backups in place. You need portable chargers and offline access to your documents. However, from my experience, nothing beats the peace of mind that comes with flipping open a binder and having all the information you need right at your fingertips, with no screen or signal to worry about.

While every wedding is different, here are some general things I would always include.

Event Schedules and Timelines

Let’s start with one of the most important things to include: a section dedicated to event schedules and timelines. This section should house the master timeline and production schedule, complete with extra copies for your team to ensure everyone is on the same page throughout the day. It's also a good idea to include a shorter timeline for the bridal party, helping them stay informed about where they need to be and when. You probably gave them a copy at the rehearsal, but you can never be too prepared. 

On top of that, you’ll want to have vendor-specific timelines for key players such as the photographer, videographer, DJ or band, caterer, bartending staff, and officiant. You’ll also want to have a separate timeline for transportation that you can see at a quick glance to help manage all of those logistics smoothly. 

Ceremony Details

Next in your wedding day binder, I recommend creating a section dedicated to everything about the ceremony. This should include the full ceremony script and copies of the readings that will be performed, so everyone knows their parts and can deliver them smoothly. Don’t forget to throw in a few copies of the ceremony program as well. The ceremony is arguably the MOST important part of the day, so making sure you have all the details ready at your fingertips is going to be incredibly important (especially if you are off getting the reception space ready and are counting on someone from your team to cover it.

Reception Details

While the ceremony is arguably the most important part of the day, the reception often has the most moving parts. It also takes up the largest part of the couple’s budget. For the reception, your wedding day binder should be equally well-prepared. First, start with copies of the seating assignments. I always kept a copy of them organized both alphabetically and by table order in case I ever needed to jump in and streamline the seating process and help guests find their places quickly.

Additionally, I also liked to include copies of any wedding toasts or speeches, as well as the MC’s script, to keep the flow of the evening smooth and ensure everyone is cue-ready (and nobody was reading speeches from their phone or “winging it”). 

Lastly, don't forget to include the Banquet Event Order (BEO) and all related catering documents. These are SO IMPORTANT for coordinating with the catering team and making sure that the food service aligns perfectly with the evening's events (and what the couple paid for). 

Design and Decor

Next, let’s talk about the design and decor. In your wedding day binder, Include layouts and diagrams of all event spaces to ensure each area is set up according to plan and that all decor elements fit perfectly within the designated spaces. 

It's also important to have a detailed decor inventory list, a rental inventory list, and linen packing lists to track all the items you need for the setup. This helps prevent any last-minute surprises with missing pieces. (PS: want to make more money doing work you are already doing? Check out this Playbook where I share the Rental Revenue Strategy that doubled my income overnight).

Lastly, don’t forget to include any extra signage that might be needed for directing guests or enhancing the event's theme. Having all these elements organized and at your fingertips allows you to be fast during venue setup, so it’s worth the extra time to get this organized well in advance of the wedding day.

Vendor Documentation

Ahhh, other wedding vendors. In your wedding day binder, the vendor documentation section is your secret weapon to keeping everyone on track and ensuring that all commitments are met to the letter. Let’s be honest, it often falls on YOU if something is missed.

Don’t skimp on including all rental order invoices too. This way, if there’s a mismatch or a missing chaise lounge, you’ve got the proof in your pocket. I also always liked to carry a photography shot list. Basically, I had EVERYTHING in there.

Last but not least, you need the literal receipts. Once you have everything else in place, it’s time to make sure everything is buttoned up and bulletproof. This part is non-negotiable and packed with things like permits—to show that yes, you are indeed allowed to throw this fabulous shindig here. Also, include credit card authorization forms and cash payment forms because, when it comes to handling money, you want zero drama. 

Creating Binders for Everyone on Your Team

OK – that was a lot and so let me just address this really quickly. I don’t think you need a giant master binder for everyone working with you. Instead, I would create individual binders for each member of my team so that they would have the details THEY were uniquely in charge of. They always knew where the master binder was, so if a question came up they knew just where to go, but I didn’t force them to carry around extra weight all day. If you’re new to managing a team, you can learn more about building and managing a wedding day team well here

Ready to Create Your Wedding Day Binders?

You won’t regret it! I hope this has been incredibly helpful. If you want more, make sure to head to the shop and grab my Final Prep Playbook where I walk you through exactly what you should be doing the week of the wedding to make sure everything goes off as effortlessly as you planned. Make sure to tag me in photos of your wedding binder once you’ve created it @candice.coppola ! I’d love to see what yours looks like!

If your brain is overflowing with ideas and you are ready to stop playing small, make sure to join us inside The Planner's Playbook today! Inside, you'll learn everything you need to know to plan, design, and coordinate high-end weddings like a pro.

If you are looking for a business coach, who will unapologetically tell you to go after whatever the heck you want, you just found her. Get wedding planning advice (for wedding planners!), a community of incredible people, and live monthly coaching with me for one low monthly price inside. Cheers to never doing business (or happy hour) alone!

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My guest on this weeks episode of The Power in Purpose Podcast is none other than @simplysandrayvonne - a systems strategist and Honeybook expert for wedding pros - and Sandra wants you to think about your systems differently.

Our conversation talks about how you can set up your systems for your worst days, and also how to navigate your business with a chronic illness.

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The quick answer is yes - but not on the way you think.

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