I always thought I’d have a long engagement so that I could take my time to plan. I wanted everything to be perfect — but I didn’t want to stress about it or spend the money to hire a professional planner — so I was aiming to leave at least two years between getting engaged and the actual nuptials. Of course, that’s not how life works, so I’ve spent the six weeks since my fiancé proposed trying to get the ball rolling on a wedding for next summer that I’m pretty much planning by myself. Oof. At first, I was totally overwhelmed. There was the budget, guest list, vendors, the fact that my fiancé was weeks away from starting boot camp, where he’d be unable to help — not to mention my total lack of wedding knowledge and my inability to delegate when it came to organization. It was all so nebulous and I had no idea where to begin. But by the grace of the bridal gods, a family member introduced me to the world of the Erin Condren Wedding Planner and my entire perspective has changed. First of all, this notebook has a designated place for everything. There are monthly calendars, planning tips, prompts for things you hadn’t considered (which, in my case, is all of the things), and a checklist for each window of your timeline. It immediately helped me prioritize and figure out what needed tackling. It’s also totally customizable based on the user’s personal style and wedding date, so I chose colors that would put me in a good mood — like the watercolor or minimalist palette — but you can choose whatever speaks to you. It’s also approximately one million times cheaper (give or take) than the cost of hiring a human wedding planner. Of course, if you’re someone who really needs the face-to-face guidance, then by all means, hire a traditional coordinator. But if you’re someone who already loves research, comparing options, and making strategic decisions to organize a dream event, then this notebook helps make that possible. I’m actually a little bit addicted to filling in columns and pages with new information. Lastly, I know there are people who will argue it’s easier to keep everything online with Google Docs or planning tools on sites like The Knot. That said, I personally feel like there’s nothing like getting it all down on paper in one place and I truly retain information better when I’ve written it down using my own two hands. The planning process is now a joy, rather than a daunting chore. If anything, I’m struggling to slow down, because this notebook makes it so much fun. I’m just dreading the day my credit card statement catches up with my enthusiasm — especially now that I’ve moved on from the venue to the dress.