Posts Tagged wedding 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. 🙂

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. 😛

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 to create a customized shortened URL that we could put on the invitations (

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-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 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

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

Wedding favors

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.

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 comments (I’ll probably be helping to plan other weddings in the future ;-)).


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Slow Speed Ahead

I’ve been training for the past few months for the Soldier Field 10 Miler. The race is only one and a half weeks away and this will be my longest race to date. I know I can finish it–I’ve already done a couple 10 mile runs, and we’ll see how my SmartCoach training plan pays off on race day.

The other night I was looking at my training plan and I noticed that most of the days are slow running days–the plan calls for lots of easy runs (that for me are about 10 min. mile paces) and long runs (that started even slower than 10 min. miles and are now around that same pace). There’s only tempo work and speed work once a week (running at about race pace (8:30ish) or slightly faster).

Then I started thinking about my own schedule for the next few months. Starting this past weekend, life is speeding up again. Here’s what it started to look like:

  • May 14: Humboldt Park Dream Run then Gerald’s masters graduation
  • May 15: Wedding
  • May 19: Author Lisa Velthouse visiting Tyndale (so I’ll be going to Moody Radio with her)
  • May 20-22: All Church Retreat
  • May 23-24: Book Expo America in New York
  • May 27: Youth Group Senior Night
  • May 28: Soldier Field 10 Miler then wedding invitations & stuff the rest of the weekend (also need to start packing for my move!)
  • June 4: Wedding reception planning meeting
  • June 11: Bridal shower
  • June 16: Tyndale picnic
  • June 17-18: Moving day
  • June 22-25: VBS; June 23: work bridal shower
  • July 2: Was told to save this for some bachelorette event
  • July 15-17: Bachelorette party
  • July 25-29: Wedding week
  • July 30: Wedding day
  • August 1-6: Honeymoon

Whew! Just looking at that is exhausting and my summer is practically gone. It’s not that any of these things are bad things. In fact, they’re all exciting and things I’m looking forward to. But looking at that schedule, I don’t know how I’m going to survive all the crazyness. I almost forgot I’m going on a business trip next week (or more like didn’t realize it was next week). This is why as these next few months approach, I’m reminding myself to slow down.

Over the weekend, I ran a new 5k personal record in the Humboldt Dream Run of 24:31. That’s an average mile pace of 7:54. I’ve never run a 5k that fast in my life (and definitely not in training). That proves to me that my training is working and reaping results. I often felt silly about the plan telling me to run 3 miles at a 10 minute mile pace. I thought, “Ten minute miles? That’s so slow though!”I’ll admit that I didn’t usually run the 10 minute pace the whole time. I usually tried to pick up the pace near the end, but seeing how well I ran last Saturday, I think there’s something to be said for the slow training. I needed those slow runs to build up my endurance and energy for those quick, speedy workouts and ultimately for race day (though we’ll see what happens in my 10 mile race on May 28).

Me, Boyi & Jenn at the Humboldt Dream Run

So in the small amounts of time I have where I’m not rushing around to different events, I’m going to be slowing down. This includes spending more time in prayer and reading my Bible, not going out and just enjoying some down time (I’m an introvert so this is also really important for me with all these events coming up), and just resting or maybe working on some wedding things that don’t take much thought (like putting together favors). Then when I have to step it up and go, I’ll be energized and refreshed, ready to put all my effort into everything I have going on.

Slow isn’t bad–it’s necessary. So if your summer’s looking anything like mine, remember to take some time to slow down and breathe. That way you can enjoy every single moment of the busy but good times and you won’t burn out as quickly. Maybe that means saying no to going out with friends or to volunteering and attending every church event. Maybe it means taking at least one day a week just to rest (isn’t that what God wanted with the Sabbath anyway?). Even though it’s hard for some of us to sit still and do nothing, the results will be worth it.

What does your schedule look like right now? Do you need to take some time to intentionally slow down?

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