Pinterest, wedding books are essentials for 9 On Your Side's bride-to-be Ally Kraemer

9 On Your Side reporter Ally Kraemer got engaged in November. She will be writing about her wedding planning experiences for the next six months, until her wedding on Aug. 19. Expect to see the good, the bad and the bridezilla. (Just kidding!)

CINCINNATI -- The venue is booked, but I’m still feeling overwhelmed.

Here’s my chance to turn to friends for help (but first, thank them for already showering me with love).

Engagement gifts

Announcing our engagement prompted several replies of “It’s about time!” My girlfriends sent gifts like wedding planning magazines. They look great and glossy on my coffee table, but I still haven’t opened them yet-- it’s daunting!

Engagement gifts. (Provided by Ally Kraemer.)

I now have a dozen adorable Christmas ornaments, as well as enough ring holders for every sink and nightstand in my house. But the best gift I received was a ring cleaning machine from our dear friend Nancy. (Have you ever seen one before? I had never even heard of it!) This will be my new go-to gift when friends get engaged.

Sugar cookies made by Ally Kraemer's sister-in-law. (Provided)

Edible gifts also are always a plus. Check out these awesome sugar cookies! My sister-in-law is so talented and knows I have a sweet tooth. We laugh that with the way we bake, there won’t ever be a wedding diet.

Pinterest overload

My secret wedding board on Pinterest doesn’t need to be shrouded in mystery anymore. That’s right; it’s a private wedding board. It’s for people (like me) who want to plan their weddings before they’re even engaged but don’t want people to think they’re crazy.

Here are my picks for the top Pinterest boards to follow:

  • Martha Stewart Weddings: This is a good place to start, and Martha knows all.
  • The Broke-Ass Bride (Dana): Her motto is using “creativity as currency.” Plenty of do-it-yourself projects and ways to save money. My favorite is how to make your own mercury glass vases.
  • Colin Cowie Weddings: This includes thousands of pins for romantic weddings and boards for almost every color scheme. This one lends itself to my OCD.

Getting organized

I’m a wildly organized person as it is, so I’m confident I don’t need an actual wedding planner. And Lauren at The Phoenix is already the best planner.

But wedding planning books fascinate me. My sister-in-law gave me a giant purple binder, and it’s now my mom’s wedding planning bible.

Our neighbor gave us an old wedding planning book that was published in 1994. It’s not garbage, though! It actually has some great traditions that brides don’t always think about these days. For example, instead of tossing your bouquet, choose a friend who you wish to get hitched next.

Other wedding books and planners can be really expensive. Check out some for free at the library to get the creative juices flowing. It’s a good way to get wedding ideas beyond Pinterest.

Then make your own wedding binder! There are printable binder tabs and guides online. I used this one and threw away the pages that didn’t apply to my wedding.

I think six tabs is more than enough. My six include: ceremony, reception, maids & men, stationery, flowers & DJ and rehearsal. Things like cake go in the reception tab. Dresses, suit, jewelry and such goes in maids & men. It doesn’t have to be a science, just some bones to make myself feel organized.

What’s next?

Next week I’ll dive into picking vendors and how I found the team that will make my wedding special. I’m always looking for advice! If you have some to share, send me an email at ally.kraemer@wcpo.com.

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