I have never been a fan of wedding websites. No, ma’am. They always struck me as silly vanity projects for the sole purpose of showing off what a special snowflake you were.
And then I started getting invited to weddings, and I actually found them to be pretty helpful. (What is the count now on how many things I’ve been wrong about?) Timeline of events? Right there! Registry info? Bingo! What is the deadline to reserve a blocked room? Really soon! You know, things along that line. Actually, true story: I threw out a wedding invitation by accident once because I’m an idiot, and since the couple had a wedding website, I just used the website details to figure out where I was going and when I was supposed to be there. Because I couldn’t have just called and asked them.
Even so, I was really apprehensive about setting one up for our wedding. The last time I did fancy things on the internet was when I had a Xanga in high school; I don’t know anything about HTML or Flash or whatever people use to build websites these days. And I wasn’t thrilled with broadcasting our wedding details across the web for everyone to see—although clearly I got over that real quick, considering I’m now blogging about it on the ‘Bee. But I digress.
If you were to ask my closest friends for three words to describe me, they’d probably say laid-back, easygoing, and spontaneous. I really hate planning things and I’d much rather just see how things work out on their own.
Ha! Did you believe me?
I feel like I’m a broken record here, because so many bloggers are type-A, uber-organized, and love spreadsheets lists and planning—I think that kind of comes with the territory of blogging. Mrs. Waterfall put it perfectly when she described herself as the combo of Monica Geller, Blair Waldorf, and Charlotte York—I aspire to live somewhere in that neighborhood.
So right after we got engaged, I was ready to step up to the planning big leagues and hit a home run on this wedding business—and I became completely overwhelmed. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for how much stuff comes at your right when you begin your wedding research.
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No matter how informative you make your wedding invitations or wedding website, people will still call or email you questions—questions that can be easily answered by looking at the invitation or the wedding website. It can be frustrating sometimes. When I’m in a particularly bad mood, I ask myself why I even bothered to make a wedding website if no one is going to look at it, but in the end I’m always glad I made one. It’s much easier to type “Just go to our website and click on the hotel tab” rather than writing out all of the information.
The Knot, Wedding Wire, and Wedding Jojo all make very easy to use wedding websites with great features such as online RSVP and beautifully made templates, but I was saddened to see that I could not input Japanese into any. I needed to make a wedding website that could be written in both Japanese and English, so I looked around online and it seemed that our best bet was to make a website using Google Sites and their wedding template. It had all of the typical wedding website sections—venue information, photos, “about us,” registry information etc. It also offered an RSVP form that your guests could fill in. The responses would be sent to your Google Drive account as a spreadsheet.
I decided to make two separate websites—one website would be in Japanese about the Japanese wedding (with an English page for foreign guests) and one website would be in English about the American wedding. I filled out the templates in the respective languages.
The English version
You know the saying “Cobbler’s children have no shoes”? Well, Mami and Papi Waterfall are both computer programmers, but I have zero skillz. I knew early on that I wanted a wedding website to relay much needed information to our guests, but had no idea how to go about it. Mami W actually volunteered to make our wedding website for us, but she already had a lot on her plate, so I decided to see what I could manage on my own. I fell in love with Mrs. Wallaby‘s and Mrs. Camel’s amazing wedding websites using Wix, so I gave it a try and failed. I was overwhelmed by their customization options and quickly gave up. When I say I have zero skillz, I mean it. ZERO. I knew I had to look for something even more foolproof.
Image via someecards.com
Thankfully, the hive is such a great resource for reviews that I was able to quickly form a decent list of contenders. After checking out a few different websites, I finally settled on WeddingWire. Some of the most important criteria for me was that it had to be free (because I’m cheap—we’ve established this) and it also had to have the ability to RSVP online because I wanted to make responding as easy and convenient as possible for our guests.
Lately I’ve been waking up in the morning and the first thing I think of is my checklist of things to do for the day. Besides work, most of my day has been devoted to getting things done on my wedding checklists. I’ve been fondly remembering the good old days when I would just think about what drink I was going to have at the end of the day.
Aaah, the good ole days when I could just relax and not have my checklists looming over me
No matter how big or small your wedding may be, planning a wedding means having a checklist. It can be one you make yourself, a ready-made checklist such as one from The Knot or WeddingWire, or a list your wedding planner gives you.
I am using multiple checklists—I’m using The Knot’s checklist for the American wedding and the WeddingWire checklist for the Japanese wedding. To me, the WeddingWire checklist is more streamlined and only focuses on the major details, and since our Japanese wedding has less planning involved the WeddingWire checklist is perfect. The American wedding involves a lot more planning, so The Knot is better suited for it. I am also using a checklist my day-of coordinator gave me so she can keep track of what I am up to.
When I was a single Miss Rucksack, I loved me some bridal shows. Fashion shows, giveaways, and free cake? Count me in! In college, friends and I even took turns “playing bride” at bridal shows and used our fabulous improv skills to make up elaborate stories about our fiances, engagement stories, and our wedding plans. You guys, we took it to the limit.
*For the record, my fake story was: engaged to an investment banker, he proposed while we were moving into our new house (We ordered Chinese food after a hard day of moving and he asked me to open the kitchen wares box. I was annoyed because—hello? who needs forks and plates with Chinese takeout? When I finally opened the kitchen box and pulled away the newspaper, there was a ring box!), and the elaborate wedding weekend would be held at The Inn at Longshore in Westport, Connecticut. Like I said, we were not kidding around.*
Attending a bridal show as a bride is a completely different experience. It’s somewhat like being the most popular girl at a dance and having a bunch of horny nerdy guys trying to get you to dance with them. Or like being a piece of bacon surrounded by a group of dogs.
Image via FanPop
The point is, everybody wants a piece of you and your precious wedding budget.
So, apparently there’s this (new?) phenomenon of “unplugged” vs. “plugged-in” weddings. I say new because it hasn’t been that long that everyone has had some sort of cell phone or electronic device. Before these devices were ever-so-present in society, it’s unlikely a picture like this would have been captured:
The reason I question new is for two reasons:
Many a bee has talked about the issue of getting photos from guests. And I feel their pain. Even Mr. Whale, who usually hates pictures, gets excited every time someone posts a new photo from the wedding. We just want to relive everything, in any way we can.
Thankfully, we can. Purely by luck, it just so happens that the Wedding Party app (an app where guests can upload pictures they take at your wedding) is partnered with mywedding.com, so when we started our website, we already had a section in the site for pictures from the app. Back when we got engaged, I was still stuck in caveman era with no smart phone, so I originally thought, “Huh, that might be cool. But I don’t really understand apps, so I’ll think about it later.” Fast forward to February when I became the proud owner of a real live smart phone. I went to our wedding website again, and I was all like, “What!! This is a great idea! We’re totally doing this!”
So how does it work? Here’s exactly what our guests received from us (both at our welcome BBQ and at the wedding reception):
I printed them out and cut them into a size a little bigger than business cards and then just handed them to people. (Pro tip: Definitely hand some out at the rehearsal dinner so you can get the word out there. Also, start handing them out a little later in the event, when people have already taken a few pictures and when they’re not as focused on seeing everyone and saying hi to everyone.)
Because of the app, we ended up getting a LOT more pictures of our BBQ than we would have had otherwise. I mean, there’s no pro photographer, and I definitely brought my camera but never took it out of my bag, because I was too busy hanging out with people. Read more…
This post is going to be a combo review of both our wedding website (at mywedding.com) and The Knot’s RSVP tool. (Just so we’re all prepared, you know.)
Back in the day, when I shared my invitations with you all, you may have noticed that we decided to do all of our RSVPs online. Now that it’s all said and done, how do I feel about it?? Well…I would totally do it again. I think it worked out fabulously.
Our wedding website was through mywedding.com. We did the completely free version. Our guests loved it. It was super easy to use, and it had a lot of different designs to choose from. (That’s really all I need to say about it. I have zero complaints about the website. It was awesome and everything I needed it to be. And it was free.)
One feature of the website was that you can have guests RSVP through the site. Here’s what the screen looked like when a guest came to RSVP. (After clicking next, they were prompted to enter information about a guest.)
Many people have expressed that they would like to see how a British wedding-day timeline plays out. From what I have gathered, we seem to have our ceremonies a lot earlier in the day than our American friends, and our evening receptions tend to go on a lot longer!
Maybe this is why it’s quite typical for us to have a tiered reception, with some guests only coming for the evening—they start pretty early on and go on for long enough for a lot of people to make a night of it!
I hadn’t really put that much thought into our wedding-day timeline—it all just sort of fell together, like I just knew the timings of the day already. When I did actually check the Debrett’s Wedding Day Timetable, we were pretty much spot on.
Organizing some of the bridal-show takeaways had me thinking about how much wedding planning has changed over the last 20 years.
Two decades ago—maybe even only one—most of the planning was done on paper in one of those massive binders or spiral-bound books that you can still find in bookstores. Online involvement was spotty at best, and we definitely didn’t have tools like Pinterest!
These days, the temptation to go 100% digital with the planning is strong. It’s eco-friendly and easily portable if you can access the files via your phone, laptop, or tablet, and with so much inspiration online it just. makes. sense.
If you go to bridal shows, if you pick up magazines, what do you do?
Where has the time gone?!
It feels like just yesterday I was relishing in the glory of being newly engaged and trying to adjust to the feeling of having a little sparkle on my left hand.
I’m happy, nervous, excited, terrified, and a little nauseated to report that we are officially at the 100-day mark until I become Mrs. Camera, and I feel like I have so much to do.
I’ve crossed off a significant chunk of my to-do list, and the big things are well under way—our venue is set, we have an amazing caterer with a delicious menu in store for us, our baker is planning our cupcakes, we have an officiant, and, of course, I have a fiance, so technically we have a wedding!
…and yet I feel like there is still so much left to accomplish.
Early on in my wedding planning, I downloaded a free app called WeddingHappy—one of the many, many wedding-planning apps available for download in the App Store. You program your wedding date, and it brings up a task list with suggested finish dates.
Oooh I do love a bit of technology. Jack loves a bit of technology. We’re pretty much an Apple household. So when I suggested we get our own wedding app, Jack was really excited by the idea.
I’d come across Appy Couple on Pinterest about a year ago. A friend of mine was engaged and whenever I saw something cool I passed it on to her. She loved the idea but, luckily for us, she never used it. I don’t know anyone who’s had a wedding app before, but I quite like the idea of doing something a bit “modern.”
Usually I would wonder if anyone would use the app or find it useful, but back in 2011 I went to a wedding in Cornwall, six hours away from home. In my rush to pack and leave the house before 6:00 AM, I stupidly forgot the invitation and other important details. Thank goodness I’d been messaging the bride on Facebook and had all the details in a message; otherwise I’d have had to call her—and I doubt a girl wants to know that her guests are lost!
As we are having a sort of destination wedding (in the sense that all our guests live at least two to three hours away), we figured having this information on a phone could end up being useful. And I think an app is pretty cool thing to have, anyway.
I didn’t look at any other apps if I’m honest. I liked this one and stuck with it!
We went through a number of themes before finally settling on this one, which we think matches our invitations nicely.
It came as no surprise to many of our friends and family that I had a URL secured and a wedding website built less than two days after Mr. Plane popped the question. While I don’t consider my page to be anything extravagant, or even overly original, I wanted a space that we could direct our guests to that would contain pertinent information without being too complicated to navigate. If you’re looking to do something similar, here’s a preview of what I did.
(All images screenshotted by yours truly—some photos by studiOsnap, others personal)
First up, the homepage (please excuse the blackouts).
Our URL was simple: Mr.PlaneFirstNameAndMissAirplaneFirstName’sWedding.com. I used WordPress to create the site with the help of the theme Forever by Automattic. Again—super simple, clean, bright. Exactly what I wanted. Along the top you can see the menu of options for guests to choose from. Under our photo is kind of a highlight of what visitors might need at first glance.