Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Handiest Wedding Tool Yet

Months ago, when I started collecting addresses for our save-the-dates, I was stumped. I could call, text, e-mail and delegate to gather everyone's addresses but this seemed like it would take forever and be a hassle to those helping me collect.

Instead, I heeded Mrs. Fondue's advice and created a Google document that would collect everyone's addresses for me. My little robot, if you will.

To be fair, I'm not going to list Mrs. Fondue's steps again, as she so efficiently describes them, but I will let you in on a few tweaks that helped me in the long run.

How it works: you create the document following Mrs. Fondue's steps. It sends it out to your guests inboxes. They fill it out and their responses file, automatically, into your spreadsheet.

1) Be prepared to do a little bit of hunting and gathering. In order to make this Google Doc work, you'll need all of your guests e-mail addresses. I did this by texting, e-mailing friends and family, and using Facebook. Seems like as much work as asking for mailing addresses, right? Wrong. Most likely you already have a lot of your guests' e-mail addresses and this way, you'll have a bunch of their information stored in one place. It comes in handy down the road, believe me.

2) I tried to use the questions that Mrs. Fondue used for her guests as a jumping off point (that's right, you decide what to ask them for when creating the questionnaire). Here are the questions we asked (the starred questions are the ones we required them to answer):

-*Your Name (The name of the person filling out this form; please list your first and last name)

-Significant Other's Name (The name of your spouse or significant other; please list his or her first and last name)

-Children's Names (Names of your children who still live at your house; please list first and last names)

-*Address Line 1

-Address Line 2



-*Zip Code

-*Phone Number

-*E-mail Address (I know, we just e-mailed you! But we want to keep all of your info in one place.)

-Planning to Move? (If yes, please enter your new address and when it will be valid. Not sure when or where? We'll be sending stuff out in January and July of 2009. Let us know when to check in with you--we'll do so before mailing anything)


3) Of the above, we got all of the information we needed. Some left off their last names, listed their dogs as their children (so cute!), and wrote "LOL" after "significant other." Hey, people had fun with it! I even got a few comments about what a great idea it was to use that system.

4) While only three of our guests utilized the "Planning to Move" question, it was a huge help. Some opted to have their invitations sent to their parents' abodes while others signified to check in with them in a specific month as they didn't know where or when they'd be moving.

5) We got adorable notes in our Comments/Questions section. Things like "Crazy kids," "Awesome," and "Let's party like the Red Sox just won the SERIES." This was a playful nudge at Mr. CB who is a Yankees fan.

6) When you send your form out, you want to make sure you don't go to "Share" --> "Invite People." That will give them access to your form. Instead, head to "Form" --> "Send Form."

7) This wasn't foolproof. A few of our guests tried to enter their info numerous times to no avail. A couple weeks after I sent the form out, I e-mailed the remaining guests to find out if they'd received it. No one minded the reminder. : )

8) In the end, you get a pretty little spreadsheet like this:

I've come back to it time and time again, to e-mail guests about airfare sales I see or to ask if they've moved yet. To put together a guest list for my bridal shower--the bridesmaids appreciated not having to chase down addresses.

So, I guess my title rings true. This is the handiest wedding tool out there (that I've come across at least). Have a better one? Please share!!

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