As a project manager/producer I like to think my organisational skills can be applied to any type of project, so when I got engaged in 2014 I found myself having to plan one of my biggest life events aside from buying/moving house!
I’m a fan of collaborative working and using digital tools to make life easier so with this approach in mind me and my partner soon found a number of tools to help make the process a little easier. So I thought it would be helpful to share my experience of how the array of predominantly free tech can make what is one of the most stressful life events that bit more manageable.
Top of the list is Wunderlist, which even before the wedding was a tool me and my partner used regularly. We’re a bit geeky so had already set-up shared shopping lists – which is brilliant for when we’re out and about picking things up during work, any way I digress… Wunderlist for weddings is so simple. Once both of you have installed the app you can create shared lists so you can both set tasks and even assign them to each other along with deadlines and reminders!
The other beauty of Wunderlist is that it’s cross platform so its accessible on desktop, mobile, tablet and all tasks sync over wifi. This made it really easy to keep on top of ‘wedmin’ as we called it, as there was always something to follow up on or research when on the go.
- Shared email
Before getting started on our digital RSVPs we needed to set-up a jointly accessible email address. So having purchased the domain shah.email we configured a wed…@shah.email address which was then added to both of our gmail accounts with email notification forwarding as well.
This way whenever we’d get an RSVP or send any external emails to suppliers it built transparency so all comms went to the both of us – so no excuse for not seeing emails! Or getting annoyed that we hadn’t seen a message. Oh and lasty we did away with a physical save the date (partially due to a number of international guests as post can take up to 2 weeks!) so we went with a simple email save the date which worked great as we could get instant responses on whether guests could make the day or not.
- Wedding website – digital RSVPs
A critical asset to our whole digital first approach was having a wedding website. This meant we could do away additional invite costs and frankly the faff of RSVP cards and reply envelopes. Plus having had the email setup we could monitor the RSVP forms as they came through and add them into our guest list (see tool 4).
Additionally as there was accommodation to consider we dodged having to include one of those A4 folded list of options within the invite. All it needed was a page on the site with the added extra functionality of mapping the locations onto a Google map!
For those digital bods it was even responsive 😉 so a simple to use WordPress site did the job. There was even a count-down timer on the homepage which was a handy little touch as it was a nice reminder of the event getting closer and of course towards the end how much we had left to do!
- Google drive / sheets
I’m sure many of you are familiar with this, but along the way I met far too many couples just using good old Excel. This is problematic as ensuring both people have an up-to-date version is a nightmare! So the real-time collaboration of us both being able to update our guest list was brilliant! Along with having a shared wedding folder this meant we could both access all files anytime, anywhere!
We scanned in and saved copies of all contracts and receipts too which was good to have a backup copy.
But ultimately Google sheets was the lifesaver as our two most important documents were the financial spreadsheet and guest list which had all guests details including addresses,emails. RSVP info and even gift information. So when it comes to sending out the thank you’s we’ve got that captured too.
5.Top table planner
Last but not least Top table planner only came into play during the last 6 weeks of the wedding planning but my was it a life saver and well worth the reasonable price of £10 for 6 months access!
It takes all the hassle out of that dreaded task of sorting out the table plan! You import a CSV file of all your guests (this is where the google spreadsheet was v handy) and you then get a list to select from and add/move around your chosen table layout.
Where it was really handy was that you could output the plan as a PDF. We then shared this with some key family members to check they were happy with seating and we we’re also able to supply a version to the venue with all dietary requirements marked up on as well.
All in all having used this selection of tools we didn’t need a dreaded project plan ( I insisted this was not an option, as I spend all day with Project I couldn’t face running our wedding planning like a work job). Of course there were stressful moments, but being able to work collaboratively on the wedding planning meant the both of us were hands on and in a way we we’re already working in partnership.