I highly encourage anyone who is planning a wedding to make a wedding website. I had a couple of friends who had gotten married after Mr. Sea Monkey and I got engaged, and I loved going to their websites. For one thing, I love looking at other people’s pictures and reading their stories. I’m a sap for love stories, and the ones in real life are the best. It makes you feel like you’re a part of what they have. I also loved being able to go back and check for any updated information that I would need to know pertaining to their weddings.
A wedding binder is something that anyone planning a wedding needs. From receipts, to contracts, to seating charts, your binder holds it all. If you are planning a wedding, you probably have realized how fast those papers pile up.
Keeping them in a binder will save you a lot of trouble later, because everything is in one place. You don’t have a drawer full of papers to sift through, nor do you have to feel badly about keeping every piece of paper. It’s definitely a good idea to keep all your papers and receipts, because there has been more than one time where I have needed to return something or I didn’t receive everything I ordered. I would pull up the contract or receipt and scan them into the computer or take a picture of them and send it to whomever I needed.
Whenever you are entering into any legal contract, you should save not only the signed contract, but also your emails and conversations. If you need to dig them up, you know exactly where to look. When I started having problems with our venue, it helped to know exactly where the contract was so that we could prove our side. Sectioned tabs help with this, because then the binder is organized by categories to make looking for things even easier. Mine is organized into the following sections: ceremony, dinner, cake, centerpieces, invitations, guests, favors, and honeymoon.
I’ve seen myself having an unplugged wedding ever since the smartphone became a necessity in almost everyone’s lives (guilty as charged). I feel like people just miss so many beautiful things because they are so busy looking at life through screens.
Some people are even so busy using their phones for cameras that they miss everything happening around them while trying to get the “perfect” picture. (Let’s face it, there are far less photographers in the world than we’d like to admit.)
I also don’t want to pay huge bucks for a photographer, just to find out Auntie Sally put up her pictures of the big day all over Facebook. I get it, easy access, but I still want our actual wedding pictures, from our actual photographer, to be the first glimpse of our day for those who weren’t able to join us.
According to the Mobile Mindset Study, 58% of people who have smartphones (US) check them every hour.
Even before Mr. Puffer put a ring on my finger, I did what every bride-to-be does: I panicked.
Wait, that’s not every bride’s response? Well, it was mine. I realized that our impending engagement would be followed by a lot of blood, sweat, and tears—AKA wedding planning. I ordered a planner and some books from Amazon, downloaded a planning app, and, most importantly, joined the ‘Bee. Having these resources in my back pocket was reassuring. But as I started my education in wedding planning, there were a few topics that confused the ever-loving heck out of me. Invitation suites. Vendor gratuities. And room blocks.
Yes, the dreaded hotel room block. I knew reserving rooms for out-of-towners was essential, since most of my guests live two hours away and (hopefully) won’t head home after our reception ends around midnight. But how many rooms do I need? Will all of the reserved rooms be booked? And will I get stuck with the bill for any that aren’t?
To expo or not to expo, that is the question. Our answer? You bet we went. Because, you know, free cake. Free beauty products. Free paper samples. And free cake—did I mention that?
In the spirit of full disclosure, Mr. Puffer and I had an ulterior motive for checking out the local wedding expo: to get both sets of parents in the same room, at the same time, for the first time since our engagement. We’d managed an initial meeting pre-engagement by finding a somewhat central location between my Pennsylvania-based parents and his folks in Maryland. It went about as well as we expected, which is to say it was incredibly awkward.
I didn’t get any pics at the expo, so a GIF it is. Bad blogger. / GIF via WiffleGif
Back in 2010, when FSIL had just gotten engaged, I had the following conversation with Mr. Hammer just before Christmastime:
Me: You should give FSIL and J [her then-fiance, now-husband and GM!] a wedding website for Christmas! Mr. Hammer: A…wedding website? Why would they need a website? Me: *blank stare*
You have much to learn, young grasshopper. After educating Mr. Hammer on all the possibilities (accommodation info! back stories! photos!), he agreed with my assessment and gifted them with a total badass website.
(It should be noted—and Mr. Hammer often does so—that Mr. Hammer is not technically a web designer or coder. He’s a software engineer, which I guess among the coder world is something different. However, when he’s able to turn a screen like this:
For serious, this is what his computer screen looks like 90% of the time, even when he’s not at work. The other 10% of the time, he’s on Reddit and/or sports forums. But I’m in no position to tease—90% of the time, *my* computer screen is filled with Weddingbee and/or Reddit’swedding planning forum.
…into a super-profesh website, I say, no matter what the difference in skill set is, Mr. Hammer clearly has more web coding knowledge than your average bear. And certainly more than I, a below-average bear when it comes to all things tech.)
While most of my important stuff goes straight into the binder, there are a few other things I’ve used to keep organized that I’ve found super helpful.
First of all, just like almost every other bride in the known universe, I’ve been using Pinterest to keep track of all my inspirational photos. Once I get close to a final decision on something, I’ll print those photos out and stick ‘em in the binder so that I can easily bring it with me to vendor meetings.
Secondly, when we first got engaged, FMIL gave me this file folder:
I try, and mostly fail, to keep those words printed on it to heart.
One of the very first projects I undertook when we got engaged was to put together a wedding binder. I know those things are getting kinda outdated nowadays, what with Pinterest and iPhones and all that newfangled stuff the hoodlums like to play with, but I had my reasons for starting a binder.
For one thing, I generally just prefer looking at things on paper than on the computer screen. (If there’s something I really have to read carefully at work, I’ll print out a copy and go at it with a highlighter. Environmental studies major FAIL.) For another, it’s easier for me to go to a meeting with, say, our florist or my hairstylist if I have my inspiration photos printed out full size, rather than trying to zoom in far enough on my phone’s screen to see the details. And finally, I’m big-time into saving mementos, and I figured the binder would become the ultimate memento post wedding day. Those hopes were justified when I came across my mom’s wedding binder a few months later (OK, fine, it was really a scrapbook that her mom put together of all the wedding planning stuff, but close enough):
Yes, that is an early-days spreadsheet that bears an eerie resemblance to my bevy of Google spreadsheets. I am my mom’s clone.
The wedding bubble is an interesting world to be in. When you’re planning a wedding, you’re well aware of the trends and the current practices. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what you’ve actually encountered in your everyday life versus read about hundreds of times before on the internet.
Wedding websites are one of those things where it seems like everyone has one. It’s common practice in the wedding world; however, I personally have never been to a wedding where there was one.
Since I recently started a business, I was just in the throes of website building. As someone who has been blogging for over five years, I know a thing or two about HTML and putting together a website. Moving over to wordpress.org was a big leap in skill level, and after a few too many moments of frustration, I managed to build a self-hosted website I’m pretty proud of.
Our wedding is fairly atypical, and we really wanted an easy way to communicate with our guests beyond the detail card in our invitation suite. (We’ve already explained everything to the grandparents in person.)