This past weekend, my husband and I celebrated being married for three months! I also attended one of my close friend’s wedding! Both these events brought back so many memories of wedding planning and dealing with all the details!

Anum & Hussain WeddingA few months ago, I wrote a post called Confessions of a Pakistani Bride. The reason I wrote that post was because I wanted to remember the emotions I was feeling then, and share my thoughts on Project Wedding! As stressful as wedding planning was, in hindsight, I truly enjoyed the planning part, and kind of miss it now!

I enjoyed browsing Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration, DIY projects, and creating my own versions of it. It was something that woke up my Type A personality but also fueled my creativity. All my spreadsheets, documents, inspiration boards, conversations etc. I am sure my friends and family are relieved that I have stopped boring them with conversations about my wedding vision and stresses. But in all honesty, I miss it! It was an experience and it taught me a lot about myself. It also pushed me out of my comfort zone, delegating work, making phone calls, and standing up for what I wanted. I was glad that overall the multiple events during our wedding weekend went off without a hitch! There were a few hiccups here and there but nothing was major that would classify as “ruining” our weekend, so I am thankful for that!

What I found most useful was to have resources on hand to get things done! Our wedding was a typical Southeast Asian wedding with multiple days leading up to the actual wedding day, and a post-wedding brunch. The grand total was SIX events over the course of four days! Phew! I am thankful that my family and friends were crazy enough to sacrifice sleep for us. Thankfully, it fell on a long weekend, so the crew had at least one day of on the weekend.

The wedding weekend was a blur, but the months and weeks leading up to it were more organized chaos. I lived by my checklists and spreadsheets. There were documents for everything: guest lists, timelines, ceremonies, things we needed to bring to the venues, things we needed to buy, who was responsible for what, when they needed to be done.

I wanted to highlight some resources that helped keep my sanity and not turn into BRIDEZILLA! 🙂

1. Wedding Website – Appy Couple
Mehndi (1)We used Appy Couple to design our wedding website. Having a wedding website is not essential. It’s definitely a nice to have. We (and by we, I mean I) wanted a wedding website, because I wanted to consolidate information and not have people bogged down with trying to figure out the details. We had so many out of town guests, and I wanted them to have the information they needed on their phone.

We put up our save the dates, compiled our guest lists on this website. We did splurge for Appy Luxury because there was a theme only available on the luxury site that I wanted. Plus we wanted a custom domain. Other popular choices include The Knot and Wedding Wire.

What we used it for

  • Putting up save the dates
  • Event Details, RSVP options, dress code
  • Travel and Hotel booking options
  • Maps for out of town guests of the city
  • Photo Gallery

What we loved:

  • Multiple events support: We had the ability to track multiple events on with Appy Couple and create new pages for each event. Then we were able to add the event to a particular guest and actually log their RSVP response. As a result, it was easy to keep track of the big events (reception where everyone was invited) vs. one of the pre-wedding ceremonies to which only  close family and friends were invited.
  • Guest notes: For each of the events, we could add a form through which we could track dietary restrictions, and ask any questions we wanted. I know many couple ask about song preferences, meal selections, so it’s easy to have all this information in one place.
  • Export files: We could export the files as .csv and play around with them. Yes, I love spreadsheets but managing 400+ guest names is not an easy task. Exporting this meant that we able to quickly glance at which guests had responded from each side and who we still needed to chase for responses.
  • Email Templates: If you’re fortunate enough that your guestlist actually uses and provides you with emails, then this is a great way to communicate with your guests!
  • Mobile app: There is a app available which allows access to the dashboard and ability to update guest RSVPs – this came in handy especially at the end!
  • Customer support: I found that Appy Couple’s support team was very responsive! I reached out to them multiple times to resolve issues or ask how to handle certain tasks, and my queries received quick responses.indian wedding

What we didn’t like:

  • Learning curve: took me a while to learn how to customize items on specific pages adding buttons etc. I don’t think I’m technologically challenged, but the website and app were not as intuitive as I would have liked. Our wedding planning timeframe was over a year, so for us, investing this time was useful. However, I could see this being a turn-off for some couples.
  • Private pages: Although you bought the domain, you couldn’t make certain pages private. You could have events that were private, but it wasn’t possible to customize a web page link that was only available to whom you had given the link. Each page had to be accessible on the menu.
  • Not All-in one: the Knot and Wedding Wire are popular as they are one-stop shop with checklists integrated into the platform. Appy Couple doesn’t offer this capability, however, the Knot and Wedding Wire checklists and timelines fell short for our needs, because they didn’t cater to multiple events, and it was a headache to customize the checklists for so many headaches. I opted to use Google Sheets anyways, so it wasn’t really a deal breaker for me.

2. Designing on Canva

We used Canva to design items for several uses: save the dates, evite for more informal events, reminder emails, signs to put up at the events, menus at the reception.

We had a few informal events where we didn’t give out details as part of the wedding invitations. These were smaller events, for close family and friends only. We designed those invitation on Canva, using their super useful but customizable templates, downloaded them as a picture, and sent them off.

save the dateWhat we used it for:

  • Save the date
  • Invitations for informal events leading up to the wedding
  • Reminder to RSVP
  • Reception Menus
  • Signs for the candy bar at the reception

What we loved:

  • Easy to use: It is a web based platform, you can do as little or as much with your design as possible, and it is very intuitive to use.
  • Mobile App: It also has a mobile app, which was super helpful if I wasn’t in front of the computer.
  • Professional looking: it all looks like you paid someone to design all these. We tried to stick with a few colors so any communication that went out used the same color schemes and looks. (yes, I was a stickler for branding).
  • Templates: There are so many templates that you can use, and just change the text and pictures if you want or use them as is. They also have a decent collection of stock photos that will fit your needs.
  • Customizable: Whether you choose to start from scratch or use a template, Canva makes it easy to change the colors of specific elements to fit your design. There are lots of free images and designs available on the website. You can also upload your own, or use some of their premium photos!

What we didn’t like:

  • Nothing? I don’t think there’s anything I didn’t like about Canva! For a free website I couldn’t ask for more! Some elements are only available for premium users, but there’s enough free stuff on there, I didn’t need the premium elements

3. Amazon
candy bar 1Of course, I would be remised if I didn’t include Amazon on this list! I made full use of my Prime membership this year. We were already so pressed for time tthere was no way I could be bothered to go out and buy things. Usually I would browse Amazon late at night (after an evening of Pinterest browsing) put in an order, and voila it would be at my door in two days (give or take). We purchased so many items on Amazon, from little things like coffee cups, cutlery, décor, tulle, to backdrop holder.

What we used them for:

  • Coffee cup holders
  • Décor for the home
  • Backdrop stand

What we loved:

  • Amazon Prime: many items are available on same-day or 2-day delivery, it was one less thing to worry about!

What we didn’t like:

  • Not always cost-efficient: Not sure if this is a Canadian only problem, but you have to know how much certain items cost. Many sellers on Amazon will mark up their prices, and they can have huge premiums – might end up paying more for the convenience that you might think, so don’t blindly purchase things on Amazon.

4.Google Sheets & Google Docs

Planner - girlyI am a planner and an accountant, so spreadsheets are second nature to me! I have a spreadsheet for every aspect of my life, so it’s no surprise that I had a wedding planning spreadsheet. There were lots of tabs, from budget tracking, to a task list, shopping list, to timelines for each event, and responsibilities.

Google Sheets was my savior! The best part is that you can share this seamlessly, with anyone who needs it – maid of honor, parents, fiancé etc. and when they make any changes, it updates in real time!

What we used them for:

  • Budgets
  • Timeline Tracking
  • Tracking Ideas
  • Task Tracking

What we loved:

  • Living, Breathing document: Okay, so no one really ever talks about their spreadsheets with this much passion. But this was a living breathing document. We had comments going back and forth, I had instructions, or notes that were made as I met with vendors at the end. It was a great to have one place to document EVERYTHING!
  • Sharing: I gave many of my vendors, bridal party, and close family access to the final wedding timeline. I color coded items so that the bridal party knew what to look at, vendors knew what to look at etc. This meant that I wasn’t answering questions on the last day and made my life a lot easier!
  • Syncing: You can use this across your laptop, phone, etc. which meant I always had access to this! You can bet I was spending more time with my spreadsheets at the end, than my now-husband

What I didn’t like:

  • Hmm, Nothing…apparently Google was my savior!

5. Google Keep

accounting invoicesI’m a planner snob! I always find an issue with productivity apps, whether they are I still haven’t found the best to-do list, productivity planner out there that makes me super happy. I am someone who has tried almost all the (free) apps out there, but Google Keep comes close to checking off all the boxes. I started using this for all aspects of my life, work, wedding, home, social life etc.

What we used it for:

  • Short term task tracking on virtual post-its
  • Taking notes – a lot of times friends coworkers would recommend vendors or ideas, and it was great to take notes of these.

What I liked:

  • Flexible Interface: what I like is that it looks like lots of post-it notes, that you can label, pin, color code (mine were pink for wedding), and have check boxes, or free form note taking.
  • Sync: I would sync this across my devices, Mac, iPhone, work laptop, because you’re ALWAYS planning! I continue to use it now, for everything else because of how useful it was during the wedding
  • Completed items: So what I like about Google Keep is that the completed items are not just ticked off, but with a line through! It’s not the same feeling as striking off an item of my paper to-do list, but oh-so very close!
  • Reminders: You can set reminders for specific items! It’s a great way to keep track of items that you need to follow up on at the end!

What we didn’t like:

  • Widget: Okay, I know I’m being picky, but I don’t like that it doesn’t sync with the reminders on my iPhone. I have to go into the app to find out what I set reminders for on my notes.

6. Pinterest

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 10.00.28 AMAs if you didn’t already know, Pinterest can be your best friend. Pinterest is a great tool for inspiration. There is no shortage of ideas out there, color themes, decor, DIY projects and Pinterest is a place where all these ideas get consolidated! I love that Pinterest helps you organize your vision. I started with board about Wedding Décor, outfits, Make up and hair. Slowly I started short listing ideas and saved pins from my own boards to these shortlisted boards. Then I had boards for each event, which helped me show friends, family, vendors my vision. Word of caution: Pinterest can be a time suck. Use this cautiously, I used Pinterest a lot in the beginning to sort out my thoughts, and then slowly had to wean myself off it, as it was all about execution rather than strategy at the end.

What we used it for:

  • Inspiration boards  – Color schemes, Invitations, Décor, clothes, make up & hair, Wedding favors.
  • Shortlisting ideas – my Pinterest strategy was to dump everything I liked on boards categorized as: Décor, clothes, makeup & hair, DIY projects. This slowly became harder to navigate as I had a clearer idea of what I wanted to , so I then created boards for specific events, that helped me shortlist my vision.

What I liked:

  • No shortage of ideas – everything on the internet is on Pinterest it seems which is great because I just kept browsing and pinning
  • Sharing boards: I love that you can collaborate and share the boards with whoever you want to share your ideas

What I didn’t like:

  • Addictive: Okay, I know that’s the point of Pinterest. It’s easy to get lost in the pins. After a while I realized that I kept pinning new ideas, and had to force myself to stop, and take a look and shortlisted ideas.  Make sure you’re not constantly looking at new ideas, if you see something you love, stick with it!

Honorable Mentions:

7. Paper mart

Anum & Hussain WeddingI loved this vendor for lots of items that we used for many events. Their prices and selection were hard to beat!

What I used it for:

  • Candy Bar boxes
  • Tulle for décor at home
  • Hanging garlands
  • Welcome bags for out of town guests – We simply wrote the wedding hashtag on the bags to personalize them and stuffed them with useful things for the weekend: maps, snacks, mints, hand sanitizer, etc.

8. Instagramhashtag insta

  • I used Instagram to follow vendors so that I could take a look at their portfolios, photographers, videographers, make up & hair artists, florists,
  • I also used the Collections feature on Instagram to save posts that fit certain categories, like hair and makeup inspiration, wedding cakes, etc. The Collections work similar to Pinterest, but it is harder to share. Each image you want to send to someone else has to be sent, unlike Pinterest, where you can actually collaborate on boards.
  • Also, Instagram is really optimized on your mobile devices, so it’s harder to stay organized with it when you’re on your laptop.

9. Wedding Wire

Although I didn’t use wedding wire to actually track the milestones of the wedding (and used Google Sheets), I did use it to research vendors. They have a good selection of vendors (at least for Toronto), and the reviews that other users write from their experiences was super helpful . What I didn’t like was that the vendor pages are hard to navigate and search. You can’t really search for vendors, you can only filter for them. So if I hear of a vendor from a friend, it’s harder to find what others are saying about them.

Are there any apps or resources you have that helped made your wedding journey easier?

black and white board business car
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