I loved planning my wedding, but even more than that, I love helping other people to plan their weddings and providing you with the tools to do so.
As you’ve identified in the title, this list does not include Pinterest. Of course, it can be a wonderful tool, but as you use Pinterest to find inspiration, please, please keep in mind where many of those images come from. The majority of the pin-worthy wedding inspiration that you come across (certainly the most impressive of it) actually come from what the wedding industry calls a “styled shoot”. A styled shoot is essentially advertising, where talented wedding vendors collaborate (florist, photographer, stylist, dress designer, make-up artist, etc) to create perfectly styled images that can be used on their respective blogs, in advertising, magazines, and on Pinterest!
Those curated shoots has neither been created for a wedding of 100+ guests, nor has anyone actually had to pay for them… This is why Pinterest can be a little misleading, and it’s also why it’s not on this list.
1. An unexpected and totally untapped tool to plan your wedding… Instagram!
This one may come as a surprise, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it identified as a tool to plan your wedding, but to find/assess a wedding venue, head to Instagram.
If you have no idea where to start, use the hashtag search function, e.g. #aucklandwedding #nzwedding #waihekewedding #fijiwedding
Once you’ve identified a couple of venues, find their Instagram accounts, browse their hashtags, e.g. #mudbrickvineyard, #gracehill #ascensionestate
Look at all the photos tagged with them, and see if there’s a “place” registered there to browse too.
Finally, and this brings me onto my second best tool to plan your wedding… if a photographer has tagged wedding photos there, head to their website to see the full set.
2. Google knows everything
Once you’ve identified a couple of potential venues, take to Google Search to find out more. For example, if you google “The Tree Church” and “Wedding Photographer”, the second link is to The Official Photographers’ website (our photographers!) where you can see an entire album of wedding photos there.
This is an ideal way to find your wedding photographer, as working with photographers who are familiar with the wedding venue is of huge value. Even if you know your wedding photographers already, you can draw a lot of inspiration from others’ wedding photos, style and theme, by using Google search terms.
3. Facebook groups
A couple of notes on Facebook groups here, and it may not be just what you were thinking. There are many Facebook groups that discuss planning (e.g. 2017-2018 Brides Wedding Planning), where you can share inspiration, ask for help and get advice.
Depending on the average age of your guests, and whether you’ve been able to keep your parents off Facebook, creating a private Facebook group can be incredibly useful to communicate with your guests.
We started a Facebook group and managed to have over 60 of our 75 guests connected there. We advised of traffic delays en route, asked if anyone had room in their vehicles for another stranded guest, and let them know when we had to change the rehearsal dinner location due to weather. Following the wedding, all of our guests could make friends easily too, and the next of our friends’ weddings will actually include new friends that they made at our wedding.
Oh, and speaking of Facebook… watch ‘What not to announce during your engagement’.
4. Writing it all down – keeping a wedding diary and organiser
I kept a diary of my proposal, engagement party, hens parties and the big day itself (and everything in between). It not only helped me to gather my thoughts, and often vent my frustrations, but it kept me really on track and organised. What I didn’t anticipate though, was how useful these thoughts would be later – when it came to writing our vows and my wedding speech (one of the hardest things about wedding planning!) I turned back to the diary and drew inspiration from the planning process, as well as other notes I’d made along the way.
Now it’s a keepsake of my engagement. For this reason, I recently created the little white book wedding organiser and diary – be sure to check it out.
While I was rather busy planning my own wedding last year, and didn’t have a lot of time to plan other people’s, now I’m so desperate to help plan people’s weddings that I’m making friends with brides-to-be on planes (yes, really). Ask many newlyweds and they’ll say the same – the year after your own wedding, you miss fussing over florals and talking incessantly about the big day.
If one of your friends (or colleagues, or distant acquaintances) are newlywed, chances are they’ll love to help, whether it’s sharing their wedding budget or talking about their honeymoon – newlyweds are an untapped tool!
Head to the wedding planning page for an index of other useful content – I hope She Said Yes will act as another very useful tool for you!