How to Get Mailing Addresses from Friends and Family in the Digital Age

Back when I was doing my Save the Dates I used Google Doc’s to get addresses from the people on my guest list. I used the “Form” feature to set this up. Here is how you do it:

You go to Google Docs (docs.google.com), sign in to your Gmail account, go to “Create New”, and select Form. Then type up questions you would like to be answered using their template. You can get fancy by selecting a theme. I chose a marine theme with red and blue fishes. Next you add the emails addresses of who you would like the form to be sent to. The questions are embedded into an email that is really easy to fill out.

I asked only very, very basic information. Actually three questions to be exact: 1.) Name, 2.) Current Address, and 3.) Phone Number. The best part about it is that when people fill out the form, Google automatically translates their answers into a spreadsheet. It is super cool and easy!

Image from digitallydiscontent.com

I used their answers as my initial guest list. I modified their responses to include everyone in the household, some people included their children and wives but not all of them.

I color coded any of thing that needed attention–like to check their latest girlfriend’s name or the crazy spelling of their children on Facebook. Surprisingly I Facebook-stalked quite a bit and it was really the easiest and fastest way to get this info! You’d be surprised at how long an email question can be answered by Facebooking them.

Once I had our invite list up-to-date I had to add the parents contacts. This would be a completely different task, with its own set of challenges…but more on this later.

How did you get and organize your guest list addresses? Were you surprised that you didn’t know your closest friends and family members’ mailing address?

Style Me Pretty Does Google Docs

Do I love Google Docs? Yes! Do I love Style Me Pretty? Yes! Why are these two things related? Well, because Style Me Pretty has collaborated with Google to put together a number of wedding templates to help you with your planning.

Need a spreadsheet to help you manage your budget? Coordinate your music selections? Track your invites? Now you got it covered! With the great design of Style Me Pretty–and their expertise with weddings–what could be better? I am not sure when these came into existence but it is brand new to me! Originally I was using TheKnot.com to track my budget and attendees but now with their new design I am entirely a Google Doc girl.

If you missed my post on how to use Google Docs to elevate your planning click here! There is nothing better than getting help (for free) with this crazy wedding stuff!

Wedding Mapper

Image from Weddex.com.

Have you checked out WeddingMapper.com yet? It is really a neat site. My favorite part is the Create Your Own Wedding Map. It provides you with a customizable and interactive wedding map. You can add locations of your wedding ceremony and reception. This is how: Give your map a title (like you and your groom’s name), add a new location (add the url and a description), select an icon that fits the location (a symbol for a church, restaurant, bar, beach, airport, hotel, etc), then add this place to your very own map.

When finished you just hover your mouse over the wedding map, click on an icon and all that information pops up! You can zoom in, get the address, get directions, or go directly to the location’s website. If you wanted to you could even print it and add it to your Welcome Bags — it is fantastic. I have embedded my own wedding map into my wedding website to help my guests navigate to the different places on the island.

Building a Wedding Website

Early on I decided that I wanted to make a wedding website. For two main reasons: 1. I knew that I wanted to share a lot of information with my guests. Most of this could be found easily on the web (and primarily on the web). 2. This information could be provided to them quickly. Much earlier than when we would eventually send out our invitations.

Image from eWedding.com.

I started looking at the free websites provided by the big wedding sites, primarily TheKnot.com and Brides.com. But I just was not happy with their free designs, because, well, they looked cheap. I wanted a website that people could go to that didn’t look any different than any other website. I especially didn’t want it to look cheaper than any other website they would go to.

Next I looked at the website companies that catered to weddings. Eventually I decided to go with a provider that supplied a easy to use template for me to customize and load in my info. At first it was a hard decision. The decision to fork over some cash even though I technically could do the work myself. But I decide to go with the template instead of making a site from scratch because it would be just so much easier.

These were the items that were important to me: a custom domain name, option to place a password on the site to restrict viewers, ability to add music, option to post images, and it had to have a nice, pretty theme (something classy).

I decided on eWedding.com. I loaded all my material using their free trial at first, not realizing that the free trial was actually their most lavish package. So when I eventually decided to go with them, I purchased their lowest priced package and — poof — a lot of my content disappeared. I became disappointed. But it all worked out. I had to tweak some pages, but in the end I had all the features I really wanted for the cheaper price, with just a little extra work. At $4.00 a month it isn’t free, but it isn’t going to stop me in my tracks.

I figured that the website would be used by the more tech savvy guests and not even all of them would go to it. So it wouldn’t be used by more than half the guests. But if it would help to get everyone on board with the mini-destination wedding, it would be worth it. And some of the younger guests could help the older people using it or just sharing info that they might see on it. In my mind if it helps just one guests in their travels (emotionally, picking a hotel, deciding to come!) then it is worth it! Sometimes you don’t need fancy, but you need something that meets your standards. Then you could make it a bit more you, and have fun with it!

Google Docs – Greatest Invention for an Organized Bride

I do everything using Google Docs. It is just the coolest. Why purchase Microsoft Office when it comes for free on Google? Need to make a presentation? Google Docs. Need to make a survey? Google Docs. Need to write a paper? Google Docs. Need to make a spreadsheet? Yep, Google Docs.

Google Docs.

As a NYC bride with a California wedding I have been in debt to Google Docs for a while now. These projects are mostly related to my organization. Who doesn’t love to be organized. Most of the time people — like me — aren’t because it takes up too much time. But with Google Docs it is too easy. And in one instance too easy by erasing the need for me to do any data entry. Yes, that is why I like it!

When I first got engaged I set up a special email address that I wanted to use for all wedding related correspondences. This got set up a little late so some people contact me at my general email address so things did get a little muddled. But my idea was that I could do all my wedding stuff using this wedding email. I could sign up for junk mail. Talk to people without having them know my long term email address, personal info, etc.

Next, I used the “more” section on the Google toolbar and went to “Documents.” This is where all items are stored–and on Google’s server so they are always backed up just in case my computer dies. Just “Create a New” Spreadsheet, Document, Form, or Presentation. You can share these by either emailing a link to people to access them or “inviting” them to view it on Google. You can also select if you want them to be authors and collaborate or just view!

Some things I have made using Google Docs:

1. Slide show presentations by wedding theme. This was great in my super early planning stage. I created one for my Santa Barbara hometown wedding, one for my Catalina Island wedding, one with a blue beach theme, a late summer orange and pink theme, an early summer pastel theme.  They are great! Just hit “play” and view your ideas like a little movie. And send it to people to get their opinions!

2. Address questionnaire. Just set up a Form with basic information that you will need when addressing your save the dates and invitations. Once you email the form to your contact group, Google will automatically translate their responses into a spreadsheet. You will never lose an address again! P.S. I color code my spreadsheet so I know who I have and have not sent invitations to too!

3. Spreadsheets. These come in handy at lots of different times from creating specific to-do lists, more elaborate guest lists (I exported mine from The Knot so I could include more personalized info).

4. Word documents. I have a wedding time line that I copied from a bridal magazine, and made more customized with my arts and crafts projects (when I should begin and should end).
Hope this helps you, Boho Brides. Technology is fun when it makes your life easier!