Let’s face it, the wedding planning process is overwhelming which is probably why ‘wedding planning tips’ is one of the most popular search terms in the industry. It’s a convoluted, opaque process that causes stress for the most even keeled. One recent RSVPify customer, Alison H., recently reached out to us to encourage us to share some elements of her experience and how our product helped alleviate SOME of the stress and challenges that she faced while planning her two daughters’ weddings. We always love to share authentic stories of how RSVPify helped alleviate our user’s event planning woes so we jumped at the opportunity to interview Alison!
As you’ll soon learn, it was an awesome conversation that led to this post in which we highlight some wedding planning tips for our users to consider. Alison was emphatic that she wanted others to learn (and laugh!) from some of her own (awkward) experiences she never envisioned having when she set out to help plan her daughters’ weddings. Without further ado, here are some things to consider before you begin your own wedding planning process:
Locking Down Your Guest List: The Earlier the Better
Alison had a few general words of wisdom for anyone looking for wedding planning tips before beginning:
“The single biggest cost to your head count. I did the math after the fact and was astonished to learn that every extra body added $800 in overall costs! The importance of nailing down your Guest List can’t be understated. That was a big learning and something that RSVPify helped with.”
While the importance of solidifying your guest list may be intuitive, the cost of underestimating and/or enduring unwanted last minute additions often gets overlooked. Costs are going to pile up regardless, but having a concrete guest list early on can help mitigate the damage! Alison (and we at RSVPify) recognize that this can be easier said than done. There are a lot of unwritten rules / etiquette that you have to manage, a few of which Alison highlighted on our call:
- Do you invite adult children of your guests and
- if so, should you send them their own invitation?
- Who deserves a plus-one vs. who can handle attending the event on their own?
Vendor Management: Get Commitments and Quotes in Writing
Alison also stressed the importance of going through every single potential fee with any and all of your wedding vendors. She was very upset and taken aback when she learned that one of their vendors featured a service charge which they later found out did not include gratuity. These are the kind of expensive oversights that can pile up for a wedding. We recommend forcing your vendors to break down their quotes by line item (ask about gratuity!) so there are no surprises down the road. It sounds simple but the process of breaking out the costs and getting vendors to commit that there will be no additional unanticipated costs will mitigate unforeseen charges as they depend on referrals and can’t risk going back on their word and risk losing you as a referral. Make sure to ask about things like service charges, gratuity fees, materials costs, and any overtime clauses that could cause your bill to exceed what was forecasted.
Need some more guidance? Check this helpful list of questions to ask your vendors to help get you started!
Use RSVPify’s Guest List Management Platform to Mitigate Unwanted Guests!
Alison told us that one of her surprises was the number of people who RSVPd without being invited-it turns out that Wedding Crashers isn’t just a movie! While she used an online RSVP service, she didn’t enable a lot of the security features that prevent any unwanted additions. Upon viewing her RSVPs dashboard, she began to notice a few guests were adding plus-ones that they did not account for (or want!). Alison and her family were forced to awkwardly disinvite or reject certain guests.
“It was really uncomfortable. It was really bad in one instance as my daughter (the bride to be) was staying on the couch of one of the uninvited guests who RSVPd to the wedding and we had to inform her that she wasn’t actually invited. It was really awkward…”
Alison stresses that it’s important to set and stick to your guest list. Be clear on who is allowed a guest and who’s not and don’t assume that people will behave as they should. Use the Guest List Management features offered by RSVPify to protect yourself from unpleasant situations. We’d encourage you to check out our post on what percent of wedding guests you should anticipate accepting your wedding invitation.
On a related note, Alison strongly suggests that you start collecting your guest’s address information ASAP so that you’re not scrambling when it’s time to get your invitations out. Traditional address books are a thing of the past and even if you had a list of addresses, in this day and age it’s likely that that your guests have moved several times and that info is outdated (Note: RSVPify plans to launch an online address collection tool later in 2017!).
Don’t Forget Your Post-Wedding Responsibilities
Another point that Alison shared with us is that the events and traditions that follow the actual wedding ceremony / reception can often get overlooked. From thank you notes, to post-wedding events (e.g. after party, brunch, etc.), and even the need to facilitate (manage!?) newly formed cross-family friendships are all things that Alison believes should be on your radar. Creating an equally comprehensive list for your post-wedding to-dos can help ensure that you not only account for those costs, but will also prevent you from forgetting something! Make sure to itemize the things you’ll need to consider after the ceremony and reception (and if it’s it helpful, set yourself calendar reminders).
We’d like to thank Alison very much for her time and for being such an adamant RSVPify supporter. We hope that you enjoyed hearing a bit about her experience and find her wedding planning tips to be helpful! If you think you’ve got a story / experience that you think we and/or our readers would find helpful, leave a comment below and don’t hesitate to reach out!