Tara married Dom at Valleyside Barn in August 2023. She was a super-organised bride-to-be with lots of spreadsheets and even set up her own wedding guest website, detailing everything about their wedding for their family and friends. She was kind enough to provide some top tips for couples starting their wedding planning journey!
How did you manage to keep on top of everything when planning for your wedding?
The key for me was to be as organised as possible from early on. I love a list, and I love spreadsheets so that’s a big bonus! I started off by creating a Google Drive folder and housing everything I needed in there, from ideas to invoices. This was my one-stop shop for all wedding information. I also used Trello which is an online tool allowing you to manage tasks and lists as well as the ability to move items from “To Do” to “Doing” and then “Complete”. When planning, I also used a master budget spreadsheet in order to make sure I budgeted correctly and managed our money carefully. Weddings can be hugely expensive, so this was one of the main things to break down and keep on top of. Generally, I dedicated around 30 minutes at the end of every day to review everything, respond to e-mails and action any tasks.
You set up a wedding guest website – what made you decide to do this?
I’d seen this from a couple of other weddings I had attended and I found it very useful to be able to have something to refer back to as a guest. I also work for a software company, so it felt quick and natural to digitise certain parts of the wedding planning for ease. I also wanted a platform to be able to track guests RSVP’s and the site I found also allowed me to do this which was invaluable.
How did you research how to set it up?
Honestly, a quick Google search led me to loads of different platforms. I looked at a couple of features and reviews and chose the one I liked. Ultimately, I needed to create an account to see if the platform I chose would be right for me, luckily I chose well the first time. It is a platform called – WithJoy.
Did it cost any money and how long did it take to create?
I didn’t have to pay for it. There are some paid platforms out there, but I didn’t really want to and for the site I chose it didn’t seem necessary either. To actually set up the website, it took a couple of hours and then I spent more time perfecting the FAQs section for guests. The largest amount of time was spent on uploading my entire guest list to the platform and using the guest list management area. I used this feature to manage day and evening guests, track RSVPs (which could be done through our website) and also review any dietary requirements. This bit was a god send and probably more useful to me than an actual webpage!
What information did you include?
We included a full itinerary of the day, some FAQs, information on the wedding party, travel details and recommended accommodation. We also hosted our gift list there, where people could claim items to purchase. It also linked to my PayPal account, so if anyone wanted to send money before the wedding, they could.
What was the feedback from your guests?
I think most people found it fairly easy to use, for me, whenever anyone asked me anything about the wedding I just sent them the link to the website. It made responding to the random questions about taxis, accommodation and gifts very easy to manage and removed some of the more time-consuming tasks.
What happens to the website after the wedding?
At the moment it’s still live! If you’re interested you can find it here – https://withjoy.com/tara-and-dom. I think it probably gets removed after a period of inactivity, or you can take it down yourself.
What advice would you give to couples considering setting up a dedicated wedding website?
Do the initial research to ensure that it can handle everything you need it to. Even if it’s just a simple webpage. Secondly, make sure there aren’t any hidden charges on the website and go for ones that have good reviews. Most platforms will have example sites that you can copy, and they provide you with a customisable template, so don’t be put off by the idea that you will have to do anything technical.
Any other top tips about wedding planning or the wedding day itself?
Plan ahead and keep on top of things. Break it down into small segments and don’t leave anything until the last minute. For our wedding, we actually finished early on the set-up day, which meant we could go to the pub! The idea of last-minute bits late at night just wasn’t for me. Get an army of reliable people to help you with the setup and breakdown of the day if you can, they are the ones that will be able to make your life stress-free. The day itself goes by so quickly, so don’t get caught up in the minor details, enjoy it, savour it, as it really is the best day of your life!
A huge thank you to Tara for imparting this very valuable knowledge on setting up a wedding guest website! You can see the photos from Tara & Dom’s wedding day in our Real Life weddings section.