Posts Tagged planning

How Google Helped Plan My Wedding

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜›

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.

Screenshot of our RSVP page

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.

Cardstock from Paper & More

Other Great Sites
Save-On-CraftsΒ – 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 cake/cupcakes on the stand

Our centerpieces

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!

Th parasols from Wedding Channel/The Knot Store

The parasols made great photo props & gave shade

Β Beau-CoupΒ – This was a great site too. I bought the tags for my wedding favors here.

Wedding favors

Rent the RunwayΒ – 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.

My veil was from an Etsy seller and I bought A LOT from Hobby Lobby and Michael’s. Hopefully these sites and some of these tips help some other brides planning their weddings out there!

If you know of any other good sites to shop at for wedding stuff, let me know in the commentsΒ (I’ll probably be helping to plan other weddings in the future ;-)).

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The Stress of The Dress

I haven’t updated in a while, but that’s because I’ve been busy starting out in the wedding planning process (and I didn’t really have any good ideas for updates lately). Since my upcoming wedding will be taking up most of my time these next six months (190 days to be exact), much of this blog content will be wedding related–beginning with this post.

Wtoo Zora

I’m currently in a crunch to find THE dress. Several bridal store consultants (as well as what I’ve read online) say it can take 4-6 months to order a gown, so I really need to find one I love soon if I want to get it in time for my July wedding. Needless to say, this is our big priority right now and it’s not an easy task.

There are a few factors that make it a little more difficult (for me):

  • My Size: I’m very petite (around 5′ tall) and most gowns I try on (okay, more like all of them) are way too big on me. It’s hard to find something that looks good on a small frame. The websites and magazines all say A-line or sheath for petite brides. I’d agree, but when I try on gowns, I think I like the sheath silhouette much better. I’m even starting to go for trumpet gowns now when I didn’t think I’d like that style (as long as it’s not really poofy at the bottom).
  • My specifications: As I mentioned, I don’t want a really ball gown-y dress. I never really liked that style as much. I also am looking for v-neck or halter necklines. There don’t seem to be as many gowns out there like that. Most are shoulder-less. Those look fine on me too, but they’re not as flattering. The v-necks seem to elongate my body more, which is good for someone short like me. I didn’t really like lace much before, but after trying on a lace gown, I’m mostly looking at all-lace gowns now. Since I’m petite, I also want a shorter train (like a sweep train). I don’t want the dress to overwhelm me (and I don’t really want to have to pay to bustle it…haha).
  • Budget – Of course this should be a factor. I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding gown that I’ll only wear once, but since we started shopping for gowns, we realized we may have to increase the budget a little bit to get something that I really love and not something that I’m just settling for because it’s cheaper.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have that moment–the one where you just KNOW that this is your gown. I’m not sure if there will be tears. So far there haven’t really been any from me, my mom, or my sister, but I guess you never know. Maybe that just means we haven’t found it yet.

These are the designers I’ve been looking at: Allure, Essense of Australia, WtooAllure Couture Style C153

I’m looking forward to my next few bridal gown appointments because I’ll get to try some of these designers on, but I’m also starting to get tired of looking. So if anyone has any gown shopping ideas for me, let me know!

Also, my fiancΓ© wants to wear a white tux, which would work with our black and white color scheme. I’m trying to figure out how a white vest, white tie, white jacket ensemble would look. I’ve seen some pictures of a white tie with a white vest and it looks like the vest should have some sort of pattern on it to make it stand out. Anyone have pictures of this or comments?

AND…today happens to be a special day because it’s Gerald’s 25th birthday!!

 

 

So happy birthday!! πŸ™‚ This is the man I’m going to marry in 190 days!

If anyone has good money-saving wedding tips, I’m open to hearing them!

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The Proposal

On December 8, 2004 (my 20th birthday), this is what I wrote in my journal:

So I’ve thought about it and in 10 years I’ll be 30…wow. A lot can change in your life during 10 years. I feel like the changes between 20 and 30 are the most drastic ones too.

Here’s my plan: I find a guy this year and we date for 2 years then get engaged. By that time, I’ll have graduated from school and been out for about a year. Then I get married at least before I’m 25. Or by the time I’m 25. Then I have my first child before I’m 30.

I wrote all this back when I was a sophomore in college who never had a boyfriend (I never dated until after college…though there were a couple opportunities). So even as I wrote those words, it all seemed unimaginable because I wasn’t sure if and how any of that would happen.

Already, I didn’t meet that goal of getting married by the time I’m 25, but I’m not going to be too far off from that goal. It’s like God continuing to show me that I need to trust Him with timing and to let things go according to His plans, not my own.

We're engaged!!

On December 23, 2010, Gerald asked me to be his wife! These past few weeks have also shown me how just as I need to trust God with His plans, I need to trust Gerald too. I knew the proposal was coming soon. Gerald told me the ring was my birthday and Christmas gift, so I was anxiously expecting it. It was sooo hard to not be able to tell anyone about our engagement because it wasn’t official and I really wanted to start planning, but felt like I couldn’t do that yet (I’m such a planner anyway).

Gerald knows that about me, so he gave me a few days to keep open because we were going to go on special dates so I wouldn’t know exactly when he’d propose. It could’ve been any one of those days. For the first of these dates, we went to see Wicked then ate at Flat Top Grill and then went to the mall to look at rings. I was a little disappointed because I knew he still didn’t have the ring yet then. It was really hard to trust that he would find one because I felt like he was running out of time. I have a really small ring size (4) and some jewelers said it takes 2-6 weeks to custom make the ring to my size if they’re not able to resize it. Gerald and I already talked about getting married in July 2011 before we even got engaged, so I told him that he could always get a temporary ring until the real one came in.

So our next date was Dec. 23 and the night before Gerald told me not to get my expectations up too high. So I was still kind of disappointed because I’d have to wait longer and I thought he either still hadn’t found the right ring or was waiting for it to be sized and to come in. Our plan was to meet up at my parents’ house and then go downtown.

When we met up late in the afternoon, Gerald told me that he had a gift for me that day because he didn’t want me to be too disappointed. I asked if it was for my birthday and Christmas and he said it was “part of it.” So I didn’t really suspect anything.

Right when we left the house, he told me to close my eyes because he was going to take me somewhere before we went to catch the train to Chicago. I did it, and I still didn’t really think anything of it. I was actually a little grumpy in the car because I was trying to drink the coffee he bought me with my eyes closed and ended up spilling a little bit of it on myself. I was also too busy thinking about if we were going to make it to the train on time (curse that planning mind of mine sometimes). I needed to trust Gerald on this one!

When we finally got to our destination, Gerald led me through the snow up to a gazebo. He told me to open my eyes and to look at him but not look around. I had no idea where I was, but then he handed me three roses, one for every year we’d been together so far. I saw a Starbucks cup sitting on the ground and asked if that was my coffee, but he was like, “Don’t worry about that right now.” Obviously I still didn’t know what was going on at this point.

Getting down on one knee - pic from Tiffany's cell phone

Then he started to read a poem that he wrote for me. Even as he started reading it, I STILL had no idea he was proposing even though the poem started out talking about diamonds! Gerald read poems to me before on dating anniversaries, so I didn’t think it was out of the ordinary until he said “of course following this poem I must ask you the question.” FINALLY I started cluing in as to what was going on. So of course, I start tearing up as he’s reading the rest of the poem.

When he’s done, Melissa, my sister, comes out with our pug, Lexie. Gerald reaches down to take a ring off Lexie’s collar, but it’s this big plastic heart-shaped ring. I’m like, “What is that?” It was slightly disappointing, but then Gerald reached down and picked up the Starbucks cup and said something about how every cup of Starbucks has something special inside (I love Starbucks, so it’s fitting for me). Then he pulled out the ring box and opened it revealing a

The rock. It's just what I wanted!

beautiful engagement ring. πŸ™‚ And he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes!

Then our friends Pearson and Tiffany came out from the bushes and kept taking more pictures. Only after we’d taken some pictures the Christmas lights in the gazebo finally came on. I couldn’t believe Gerald had actually found a ring (since he hadn’t had one only 5 days earlier) and that we just got engaged. It still feels a little surreal. πŸ™‚ This just goes to show me that I should’ve trusted that Gerald had everything under control–because he did. It’s something I have to continue to work on as we go into our marriage. The same goes for trusting God with the timing of all those significant events in my life.

We missed our train, but we caught the next one downtown and went to eat at Grand Luxe Cafe. Then we came back to my parents’ house and celebrated with my family (at like 11:45 pm). It was a long, but great night. Gerald and I and our families are very excited about our future marriage. One of our pastors even announced it to the whole church at our Christmas Eve service the next day!

And now begins the fun wedding planning part. So if you have any great creative ideas, let me know!

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