Newsflash. Weddings are complicated. But luckily an OCD bride + a tech savvy groom = organization perfection. As you know Derek spent many years teaching
me old people how to use their Apple computers so he knows his way around a spreadsheet. We’re a Mac family so everything you’re about to read is using Numbers, not Excel. They’re very similar, I just think Numbers is SO much easier to use and add formulas. What? I never took BCIS in high school okay?
So I wanted a spreadsheet that would help me keep all things wedding in order: guest list, budget, etc. We started off with their “Event Planner” template because it was nice and clean and had a lot of the basics I was looking for, with room to grow.
Easy right? So it provided a section for your inspirational photos, guest list, budget [with a
stressful fun little pie chart!], and task list. I added a few of my favorite inspiration photos for the overall feel of the wedding, and because the temporary ones were gross.
We’re keeping things small so you will hopefully not steal the identities of our loved ones. Kthx.
- I decided to arrange everyone by last name since we have about 15 Christophers and only 1 Giroux. Plus it helps to keep everyone sort of organized by family. Sort of.
- I included a column for their first name to make sure we had the correct spellings for all guests.
- I then added a column for their guest. As in if I’m inviting my BFF Kate, then her boyfriend would be her guest. Whereas if it’s my Aunt and Uncle I’m inviting, obviously they’re both my guests so I would arrange it with either the husband’s name first with the wife as the guest, or the person I’m directly related to as the invitee with their spouse as the guest. It kind of depends on family politics, and what Emily Post said.
- This is where some of the addressing etiquette comes into play. I added a column for how their envelope would be addressed using their real names [no nicknames] and following these rules. So technically the “guests” only matter if the couple isn’t married because then you have to know everyone’s names. Confused yet?
- I added a column for addresses so I knew exactly where to send all save the dates, invitations, and thank you cards.
- I have another column for the total invitations received, this was simply so I wouldn’t have to count couples every time I needed to buy envelopes. For the most part it was one envelope per household, although I had a few cases where two families lived in one house and therefore each family will receive their own invitation.
- I have a column that counts the total in each party. This is super helpful because it helps remind me that this family has 2 guests while this other family has 6, so I can keep my headcount in order.
- The next column came with the template which is awesome. It’s an RSVP counter which is based on the previous column of each family’s party. So if I check the box in this column and they have 4 people that RSVPd then it will add 4 people to my total. However if only 2 RSVPd, then I just adjust the party number to 2 and check the box so that it only adds 2 to my total headcount.
- This was a column that helped me when setting up my room blocks. Since 90% of our guests don’t live in San Antonio, and 40% of those don’t even live in Texas, we had to estimate how many nights our guests would be needing hotel rooms. So I color coded each family for 1, 2, 3, or 4+ nights. Some people plan to make a week long trip out of it. Yay! Party! So now that I have all of the rooms blocked, I will use this column to total how many people have reserved rooms and at which hotels, so that I can keep everyone organized.
- The last column is to help me keep track of any gift we receive, what it was, and to send a thank you card.
Now that all of your guests are in order, let’s move on to the scary part. The budget! This template already had a great section for keeping track of your budget, with lots of formulas to total items based on your headcount. This was great for catering, and wedding favors because they usually give you a “per person” total so you could just plug that in and see how crazy expensive catering is! Fun right?
Well we quickly learned that simple things like catering aren’t just $45 per person like this little template showed. It’s actually x amount per person + 18% gratuity + tax + x amount per person for china + more tax + linens + even more tax + labor cost per server (1 server per 10 guests = 14 servers) + some more of that 18% gratuity + a little more tax + a transportation fee + more tax! + a venue fee = I needed a more complex spreadsheet. So with a little help from Derek and a whole lotta formulas, I came up with this guy:
Note, these are not my real numbers, I just threw in some arbitrary dollar amounts for the sake of this post. Stop judging!
Each column allows me to enter the amount per person, any fixed costs, gratuity, and tax, so that anytime I change the per person total, everything adjusts. Or if I need to add more tablecloths, all of the totals are updated. Like magic! Now it’s hard to see, but in the upper right and corner you can see my total headcount is 140 which means my projected budget is $10,995.47. Everything is linked together so if I adjust my headcount to 100 you will see that all of the totals adjust and now my projected budget has decreased to $10,035.09.
So as you can see my entire budget is based on how many people attend our wedding, imagine that! By having all of these formulas my budget is so much easier to manipulate. There isn’t any guessing or “allotted values” for mystery taxes or gratuity. There are no surprises. It is what it is, which I just love. I’ve also color coded everything so that I know what is already paid for [white], what are estimates [pink], and what is catering [teal]. Catering gets a color all of it’s own because it’s just that dadgum important! :)
Honestly without this spreadsheet I don’t know how I would be able to keep track of my budget. It has truly been a lifesaver! Did you use any planning tools you found extra helpful during your wedding planning process? I know the knot has a bunch, but I’m too afraid to save all of that data online, I like having a hard copy just in case! If you’d like to use this spreadsheet, you can download my template here.It’s extremely easy to customize to make it perfect for your own wedding. However, it’s only for Mac users. You can try converting it to Excel, but I’m not sure that all of the features will work correctly, but hopefully you can still use it as a starting point. Happy planning!