The Headache-Free Guide to Planning Your Wedding
Are those wedding bells that we’re hearing? Congratulations to the happy couple! This is such an exciting time. As you are getting ready to plan a once-in-a-lifetime wedding party, we are here to make sure that the fun starts early. Sure, planning a wedding requires attention and care, but that doesn’t mean that it has to feel like a chore. After all, love is in the air!
Thanks to the growing availability of awesome digital tools, wedding planning nowadays is not only easier but also much smoother. Couples have far more control over the details of their joyous occasion, and many of the steps can be entirely DIY-style. For instance, you have the option to create a website for the wedding, make your dream playlist, and collect photographs from guests - all from your own computer.
This article will guide you through the steps of planning a wedding in the digital age - and point out some of the most helpful tools out there that will help make your special day even more memorable:
01. Create a wedding website
One of the most exciting steps in planning your wedding is building your own wedding website. This online space will play several roles at the same time: the site will communicate all the details to your guests, it will allow you to gather all the information that you need from them and it will celebrate your love and commitment to one another with your friends and relatives.
Here are some of the must-have elements to include on your wedding website:
All the important info clearly stated: date, location, schedule, dress code.
RSVP form (more on that below).
Contact information for questions.
Interactive map to the venue.
A couple of gorgeous photos of the happy couple.
And here are some fun-to-have items you might want to add:
A section that shares the story of your relationship: how and where you met, who proposed and how.
An album with photos from your time together.
A section where guests are invited to share their congratulations.
If people are traveling from afar, you can include information about local hotels, restaurants or sights.
Start by browsing through Wix’s wedding website templates and seeing which one you like best. You’ll be able to easily customize all of these templates and turn them into your dream wedding website. And be sure to read our guide on how to create a wedding website.
02. Collect RSVPs online
A great advantage of creating a wedding website is that it also operates as a digital invitation and spares you the need of collecting ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ and ‘Maybes’ manually through phone calls, emails, letters or pigeon post. Using a straightforward RSVP form, your guests can quickly and easily let you know where they stand.
Work with the RSVP form to collect information for the following fields:
Are you planning to attend?
How many people in your party?
Add the full names of everyone in your party.
Are there any dietary restrictions you’d like us to keep in mind?
03. Research every step
A large variety of online resources are available at your fingertips. Use them! With wedding blogs, vendor reviews, Pinterest albums and many other options, you have the ability to perform thorough research at every step of the way: from choosing your wedding photographer to deciding on the color scheme.
For inspirational reading, start with going through One Fab Day, the Wedding Playbook and the Wedding Details Pinterest board. To get some great visual ideas, check out the incredible wedding photography portfolios by Thai Pham, Kamron Khan and Frédérick Lejeune. Discuss all things wedding on forums like WeddingBee or Best Destination Wedding, where you can learn from the experience of other couples.
04. Create a joint email account
Rather that communicating with guests through your account, your partner’s account, their mother’s account, etc., why not create a special email account for the big day? It will be far easier for your guests and for yourself to have one centralized address for all wedding-related correspondences. Not to mention, it’s a cute addition to the wedding hype when all communications are run from a symbolic address, such as “ben.kerin.2019@gmail” or “TheJonesWed@yahoo”
It’s easy enough to open a free account on the platform of your choosing. You can set up automatic forwarding to the personal email addresses of all organizers, and you can also create a filter within your personal inbox to display only the emails related to your wedding account.
05. Send beautiful email updates
Keep your guests excited and engaged by sending email updates as the date of your wedding approaches. You can use Wix ShoutOut to design beautiful email messages, manage your contact lists and distribute your newsletters with ease. You can even organize your contacts into groups to have separate emails for the full guest list, the dress rehearsal party or the bridesmaids.
Strategize your emails with moderation and pay attention to timing. You don’t want to overburden your guests with too many announcements. Three or four emails sent to the full guest list is quite enough. You can start with a “Save the Date” announcement, to be followed by a full invitation with all the details and a link to your wedding website. At a later point, you can send out a reminder to RSVP, a request for guests to add their favorite dance floor hits to your playlist or weather forecast updates.
06. Control your budget
Every person who has ever tied the knot will tell you that budgeting is one of the most challenging parts about the whole process. Let’s face it, weddings are expensive. There are hidden and unexpected costs at every turn of the way, and it’s not easy to get a consensus about budget priorities for an event of this nature.
The best way to tackle this issue is to come prepared and organized. Fortunately, you can rely on a variety of digital tools to help you manage, update and keep track of your budget. Cost of Wedding is one option to start with. It helps you itemize and calculate all projected costs to help keep you within your limit. Use mobile apps such as Wedding Happy or Fudget to track your expenses and keep track of the big picture.
07. Manage your wedding like a team project
Some wedding productions require the meticulousness and precision of military operations. Even if yours is not expected to be as elaborate as those, you will still find yourself juggling multiple tasks, deadlines and choices.
Since it takes at least two people to get married, planning the event often becomes a group project. How do you make sure that everyone owns up to their responsibilities and perform their duties on time? Use project management tools like Trello or Asana to assign tasks, keep track of the timeline, add notes and get notifications. With a helpful system to centralize all to-do items, you will not lose track of who is in charge of ordering flowers, who is responsible for testing the sound system and who prepares the welcome signs.
08. Prepare for online gifts
We are gathered here today because of the two individuals who are in love, but let’s not forget about the gifts, shall we? Wedding gifts are one aspect of the event that has received an amazing boost thanks to the Internet. You can now build your wedding registries at your favorite eCommerce stores, and all that is required of your guests is to make the purchase online. Use Zola or Amazon to combine different brands, or if you want to focus your guests on a specific genre, go with websites such as Heath Ceramics or REI for camping gear.
Of course, if you decide that instead of a gift registry, you prefer cash gifts, you can set up a PayPal or Venmo account. This will spare your guests the headache of bringing cash or checks with them to the event, and it will save you the trouble of securing the transfer of the envelopes away from the venue and into your bank account. Whichever you choose - cash or registry - be sure to add links and clear, friendly instructions to your wedding website. And don’t forget to thank them for their gifts!
09. Curate the ultimate playlist
So much of the wedding fun happens on the dance floor, and one great perk of organizing the wedding is getting into the groove by preparing your music playlist for the event. If you are hiring a DJ to play at your event, preparing your own playlist is useful in helping them understand your musical preferences and agreeing on songs that you absolutely must have.
Spotify is probably the best tool to curate your playlist, since you can find almost any piece of music there and simply add it to your list. You can also create several playlists, each with the right style for the different stages of your wedding, from the cocktail reception, through dinner time and to the dancing. You don’t want your event depending on the quality of wifi in the venue, so best make your playlist available offline.
10. Draft the seating arrangement
Taking care of the seating arrangement is not known to bring joy to wedding planners. While we can’t help you with questions like how to seat feuding uncles as far from each other as possible, we are able to suggest a few digital tools that can make seating arrangement easier to handle.
Start by organizing your guests and tables in a spreadsheet. You can use Style Me Pretty’s template as an example. Then, you can work with platforms like All Seated or Wedding Mapper to create a seating chart, adjusting its layout according to the venue’s seating arrangement.
If you are artistically inclined, you may want to try sketching the seating arrangement on your own using your tablet. Use illustration and drawing apps like Paper, Adobe Sketch or Concepts to draw your venue layout.
11. Create a collective wedding album
Gone are the days when wedding memories were captured solely by the professional photographer on the ground. Every guest can now participate in your wedding album using their smartphones. And since they will take photos anyway, why not share them with the whole party?
One way to invite guests to share their own photos of your wedding is by setting up an Instagram hashtag, have everyone post their pics together with the hashtags, and use services like EmbedFeed to generate a visual feed of your wedding hashtag. You can then easily embed the feed into your wedding website by following these steps.
Another option is to ask your guests to upload their images directly to your wedding website at their own leisure. Follow these steps to add the image upload feature to your site.
If you want to display the images during the wedding itself, you can use HashSlide to create a feed that collects all tagged images and creates one amazing slideshow out of all of them. Once you receive your professional pictures you can show them off using Wix Pro Gallery on your site. Rest assured, your images will always look pixel-perfect - just like your big day celebration was.
Have a lovely wedding, you two!