Friday, May 4, 2012

Paperless wedding planning

While running an errand last week, I spotting a display full of wedding planning books and binders at a stationary store that made me stop and browse.  You see, I never bought any sort of planning tool when we got engaged.  I was curious about the contents of the binders and decided to take a look at them.

Most had pretty, pastel dividers for every aspect of a wedding.  They had pockets for brochures, slots for business cards, and sheet protectors for truly precious pieces of paper.



Was I missing something?  I have a folder that our venue gave us with our menu and contract in it and I've thrown a few things in there since, but I haven't found the wedding planning process to be paper intensive. 

I asked a few other brides if they had wedding planning binders and got these pictures back in response:

 Photos by friends / Used with permission

I thought I'd run down the tools I used in my wedding planning and how I stayed relatively paper free in the process.  The tools I used were from multiple websites.  I looked at a number of options and went with whatever one had the format I liked best.  When one site went down for maintenance a few weeks ago, I realized how lucky I was to be using multiple sites.  There were brides who were only using that one site and therefore lost access to their budget, guest list, and wedding websites for the duration of the outage.

1. Budget 
I managed my budget through Wedding Wire.  I liked the three-column design and how quick and easy it was to edit (and completely remove) the different elements on the page.

2. Wedding Website, Guest List, and Meal Selections
I made a site for our wedding on multiple websites before picking Project Wedding for ours.  The determining factor was the simplicity of the URL.  Our URL is just six letters followed by .projectwedding.com.  I can't tell you how many time I've seen wedding website URLs that are something like www.___.com/ourweddingwebsite/JohnSmithandJaneDoewedding. 

I also liked that their sites have pretty designs, but are pretty straightforward.  I've seen a few wedding websites with music or animation that slowed down how quickly I could get information.  Some of those sites don't play nicely with ipads, either.

Project Wedding also had an online RSVP feature that we could use to track menu selections. 

3.  Task Checklist
Like many, I started my planning by looking at The Knot's wedding checklist.  I was immediately turned off by the repetition (I think creating programs is on there in some way at least three times) and some of the fluff items on the list (enjoying your wedding day is an item on the list).  I think there were about 275 items on the list.

I wound up using Wedding Wire's checklist much more often.  There was still a little repetition, but it wasn't nearly as overwhelming as The Knot's list.

4. Gift/Thank You Note Tracker
The stores where I registered offered a gift tracker, but I opted to use the one at Wedding Wire.  None of these tools seemed great, but Wedding Wire's let me upload a spreadsheet and go from there.  Others required a bit more work to set up.

5. Inspiration
I started wedding planning just as invitations to beta test Pinterest were floating around the design blog community.  At first, I used The Knot to find inspiration, but quickly moved to Pinterest since The Knot doesn't have a very good search function and finding inspiration requires going through page upon page of images that are the size of a postage stamp.

6. Contracts
Perhaps this isn't the norm, but almost all of my vendors sent contracts by email.  The gmail account we created just for the wedding has all of those emails saved.  When we got something by mail, I scanned it and saved it to a wedding folder on my computer.  I'll probably print contracts out for Amanda Gray, our Day-of Coordinator.


When vendors have given me paper, I've tried to only take what is truly necessary from them.  At bridal shows, I only gave my contact information to vendors I knew I'd be working with, which I think helped keep the paper to a minimum (some commenters with bridal show connections didn't like that, but I didn't want to be on too many mailing lists).

Did you do most of your wedding planning online?  What tools did you find most helpful?
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