My new husband and I are definitely children of the Internet era. So when we were planning our recent wedding, we took advantage of several great internet resources to make the wedding planning go a little bit more smoothly. While there are certainly many more options available, these are the ones that worked for us!
We created and shared Google Docs for nearly every stage of wedding planning, including the guest list, our vows, and a list to track gifts we received. The guest list was done as a shared spreadsheet. We could both add guests to it, along with their contact information and the approximate number of additional people they might bring with them. We used colors to indicate which of us needed to track down contact information, and the estimated numbers helped us figure out when our list was just about right. The gift list was similarly done in spreadsheet format, with columns to indicate what had been received and whether the thank you note had been sent.
We also wrote our own vows in Google Docs. Even though we were sitting on the couch next to one another when we wrote them, having the shared Google Doc meant that one of us could be writing while the other hunted for something to add, or the best way to word something. We ended up with a great ceremony, short but very memorable. Creating our spreadsheets and documents in Google Docs was a great way to be able to access them no matter what computer we happened to be using.
While most people who are getting married prefer to do traditional wedding invitations, we opted for Evites, as we wanted to avoid the excessive cost and amount of paper generated by traditional wedding invitations. Evite allowed us to create an online wedding invitation, which was sent to all of our potential guests. We could then see who had responded to the invitation, how many guests they planned to bring, and whether they had any questions for us. We could also track those potential guests who hadn’t viewed the invitation, so that we could ask them if they planned to attend.
We did find that some guests, probably not accustomed to an electronic invitation, looked at the invitation but did not respond there. I received several verbal or E-mail confirmations that did not come through the Evite system. So if you plan to use Evite for your wedding invitations, be prepared to be a little flexible with how the responses are received. The person who creates the Evite has the ability to edit responses from their guests, so, for example, when I confirmed with my dad that he would be coming to the wedding, I could simply update his response to reflect that.
Wedding websites have become very common, and there are a number of options for people who want to create their own wedding website. We opted to use a WordPress page, as it made it incredibly easy for either of us to edit the pages as our wedding plans developed. We set up pages for the details of the wedding, recommendations for accommodations for out of town guests, and a list of links to charities that we supported (in lieu of gifts). We also had the ability to make blog posts when we wanted a more prominent update, like our Save the Date notification.
Although we weren’t able to get our Evites and our WordPress theme to match exactly, we used variations on a similar theme to keep them similar enough. It might be possible for other couples to create matching themes or hire someone to do this for them.
Because we did not hire a professional photographer for our wedding, but because we knew that many of our guests would have their cameras, we set up a group on Flickr for our guests to upload their photos to. We printed the information about the Flickr group and handed it out with the wedding favors, so that all of our guests would know about the site. Those who didn’t take pictures of their own can go to the site and see the pictures that others took.
Some of our guests have posted pictures to Facebook rather than the Flickr site, but we are hoping that they will share the pictures with the Flickr group as well.
My husband’s mom wasn’t able to come to the wedding, but we wanted her to see it. One of our friends agreed to record the wedding with his video camera, and he put it up on YouTube the day after the wedding. So now, guests who had to send their regrets can still see the wedding, and those who attended can watch it again. Our ceremony was very brief (just shy of ten minutes long), so that makes it a nice size for YouTube. Longer ceremonies might not be as viable on YouTube.