Today marks six months of marriage for Gerald and me. I can’t believe how quickly half a year has gone by already. Yet at the same time, it feels like we’ve been married for longer than that. Maybe it seems that way because we dated for almost 3.5 years before we got married, but either way we’re glad to be celebrating this 6 month marriage anniversary. :)
I’m sure all those brides planning for summer weddings (or any wedding) this year are extremely busy or overwhelmed (or both), so I want to share some helpful tools I used when planning my wedding at this time last year. Mostly these are all from Google (which seems to be taking over the world and is now going through other privacy changes–whether you like this or not is another story), but the people over there are innovative and they made wedding planning so much easier!
The Guest List
Google Docs was our friend for much of the wedding planning process, so you’ll see it come up here a lot. If you have a Gmail account, which most people do nowadays, you can easily access this and you can share it with people even if they don’t have Gmail. To make guest list planning easier, I set up a Google Doc spreadsheet and made separate tabs at the bottom for my guests, Gerald’s guests, and our joint friends guest list. I shared the document with Gerald and our parents so we could all fill in addresses and guests (you may or may not want your parents on this though because sometimes it can get ugly if they start adding or changing guests and you don’t want them to). Gerald knows how to do formulas on Excel, so he made it so we had another tab with a head count that added up the number of guests we had total from all 3 lists. My dad payed close attention to this tab. :-P
This spreadsheet also made it easy to export into an actual Excel document and print out so my sister could address all the invitations (she knows calligraphy & I’m so grateful to her for actually writing all the addresses out!). We also used it to keep track of which thank you notes we’d written by adding columns later for gifts, etc.
Online Response Cards
I wanted to have people RSVP to our wedding online to help save on postage costs for response cards (plus it’s a lot faster). Again, I turned to Google Docs for help and created a form doc. They have templates that you can use to make the form look nicer so I chose a wedding template. Then I created the different fields we wanted people to fill out. The only thing was whoever filled out the form had to fill it out for each invited guest. You can see our RSVP page here. Google creates a really long URL for your form page, so I used bit.ly to create a customized shortened URL that we could put on the invitations (http://bit.ly/WongStroudRSVP).
I love that once people fill out the form, Google automatically creates a spreadsheet in Google Docs for you with all the information. As people RSVPed, I just created new tabs in the Doc for each meal choice or if they weren’t coming so I could easily know who ordered what when we made the escort cards later. I also ended up printing the names for escort cards out on clear mailing labels instead of writing them all out. Since I had certain color escort cards to coordinate with a specific meal choice, this made it easy to make sure the right name got on the right escort card. It was just more organized since I didn’t have to sift through the entire guest list spreadsheet. It’s easier to do this as RSVPs come in.
Search & Communication
Of course, I also used my Gmail account for lots of wedding communication with vendors, family, our wedding party, etc. I planned out the entire ceremony and shared it with Gerald in a Google doc (this helped because we didn’t see each other much during the week because we lived an hour apart). I also have to thank Google search for helping me find this cheap place to buy paper, Paper & More. I got the cardstock for the invitations (a shiny kind) and ceremony programs there. I also printed the escort cards on the cardstock too.
Other Great Sites
Save-On-Crafts - I used this site to buy the floating candles and vase fillers for my centerpieces, my cake stand (which was actually a cheap cardboard stand but looked fine once I put some ribbon around the edges and when it had the cake/cupcakes on it), the aisle runner (french lace), & maybe more things that I forgot about.
The Knot Wedding Shop – Bought gifts for my bridesmaids, bridesmaid jewelry, parasols, groom gift, some groomsmen gifts, champagne flutes, bubbles & some other stuff here. They always have sales, so wait for them!
Beau-Coup - This was a great site too. I bought the tags for my wedding favors here.
Rent the Runway - You have to have a free membership to rent here, but I rented my rehearsal dress from here. It was a Yumi Kim design. You have it delivered a couple days before and if it’s your first time renting from that designer you can have them send you two sizes, which is great because one size definitely fit me better than the other. Then you just drop the dress in the mail the next day to send it back. I think I also had a $20 referral coupon, so I rented this dress for $20! You can’t see the whole dress in the picture below, but you get an idea. I would definitely rent from RTR again.
If you know of any other good sites to shop at for wedding stuff, let me know in the comments (I’ll probably be helping to plan other weddings in the future ;-)).