My wedding is officially less than 5 months away. I think I’m supposed to be hyperventilating or something? So far, that’s not the case! I needed wedding resources that were going to make my life way easier, and planning a lot more fun! I had a lot of cool tools to help me get “the big day” on the right track, and as I peruse the various groups I am a part of, I was surprised to see how many of these cool things are flying under the radar.
Where I see a void, I try to fill it!
Here are some of my favorite resources that helped keep me (or people I know), sittin’ pretty while wedding planning!
Things I didn’t realize I needed to think about? Hotel blocks! But, I was so excited to get the opportunity to find discounted room rates and extra perks for my guests, especially with the added bonus of having dedicated phone contacts/websites for our guests to book the special rates ahead of time!
Kleinfeld Weddings Hotel Block Concierge Services: Stephanie, if you’re reading this, you’re an angel! Kleinfeld Blocks is a really amazing service, with two FREE tiers of service. Both tiers give you access to discounted rates and perks for hotels in your area where your event is, but with the Premier option (still free!) you have a concierge that asks you some questions about locations, amentities, etc and does all the inquiring on your behalf? THEN?! They present them to you in a spreadsheet with all the info you need to make a decision and book a room block. You eliminate a lot of phone calls, emails and negotiating! Thanks to Stephanie, we booked room blocks at two local hotels for our guests with significant savings not just on the rooms, but discounts on the parking and even free breakfast buffets at one of the hotels! The quality of service is second-to-none, and the efficiency eliminated so many headaches for me! Thanks to the Hotel Blocks Premier tier, we even got cool bridal upgrades like bigger rooms, a free night for X amount of nights booked, and we were able to provide our loyalty info on the contract to get points for the rooms, too! Stephanie even coordinated down to making sure our custom group info and booking websites were all set up before she wished us luck! Can’t say enough about this amazing FREE service!
Brit & Co. Wedding Planning and Decor Articles The staff over at this bustling DIY blog have all kinds of inspiration and DIY projects to get your creative juices flowing! They’re always up on the latest trends, and offer free/affordable online classes, too!
Finding a site where I could do as much as possible in one place was important to me. One of my favorite things about Zola, which I opted to use, is that they have a really cool Facebook community to share and celebrate with other brides! However, they aren’t the only ones in the game! I also embedded some IG posts from them, so that you can follow them there for more inspiration!
Zola Wedding Registry and Website: Zola has been a lifesaver for me. It’s sleek, user-friendly, and keeps pretty much everything I need in one place. It’s got a checklist that starts from the moment you enter your wedding date, and also allows you to create a link to send to guests or post on social media to add their info to your guest list. From your guest list, you can allocate who is attending which wedding events, create a spreadsheet for your stationer/invite website, AND you can create your FREE wedding website and registry, too. Everything, all in one place. They also recently started selling paper/invites, so you can even do that from the same place and get suites that match your wedding website!
Easy, helpful, and dare I say, fun to use! I really love that the registry option allows you to ask for things like AirBNB gift cards, airline gift cards, or experiences. For couples like us who have lived together for awhile and have most of the home goods we need, it’s a nice way to invite people to be a part of our honeymoon celebration, short of inviting them to come along! I also love that you can make bigger items “group gifts” that people can contribute towards, in the event they can’t or don’t want to spend as much to buy the item in total. Use my referral link to get $50 to use towards items on your registry when you create one!
The Knot: The Knot has a lot more to offer in the way of vendors, and still has resources like the planning checklists and wedding websites. I haven’t personally opted to use it for my wedding (maybe next time? LOL), but they’re one of the top authorities in the wedding world for a reason!
Wedding Wire: Another well-known resource, Wedding Wire has your standard planning tools (and ones for things like seating charts), and a registry, website, and they offer vendors, dresses, and other specialties for your big day!
I’m not super concerned about seating charts, because I’m feeding people tacos and margaritas, I have a killer DJ, and a churro truck is making an appearance. If you’re worried about where you’re sitting…you’re planning on sitting. If you’re planning on sitting, you should have done my seating chart for me! Nonetheless, seating charts are helpful in making sure you keep people comfortable, near people they’re familiar with, and away from people that will cause issues.
AllSeated.com: One of my fave new discoveries! It takes a few minutes of playing around to figure it out, but once you do, it’ll be your new best friend! AllSeated allows you to load your venue (with many of them already in the system), and add tables, bars, and anything else you can think of to simulate your venue for your event! I pulled up my venue and used the 2D view to add all my elements and the 3D view to get an idea of how it’ll look in reality! I was super impressed with the accuracy-down to the measurements of tables and furniture, and being able to add different seating charts (i.e. one for the ceremony and one for the reception), and using different areas of the venue (mine has a chapel, as well as an upper and lower terrace area). Best of all, like all the seating chart resources here, it’s FREE.
Style Me Pretty: If you’re more of an excel/google sheet type person, or you want something you can mark up with a pen, this is more your speed! This spreadsheet style seating chart has some detailed instructions, and can be edited to subtract or add more tables to your hearts content!
Wedding Wire: With a host of resources available (see above), one of the best has got to be the Seating Chart tool! You can create your floorplan, make your plans, and then even share your list easily and digitally!
My Post on Dresses for All Sizes and Budgets! I know, I know. I linked to my own post. But the thing is, the leg work is done for you! 10 retailers with dresses at almost every price point, and all of them are size inclusive…something for size 00-30 (and up)!
Anomalie Custom Gowns: You’re tired of hearing how much I love Anomalie. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve helped me create my dream wedding gown, for a fraction of the price of any retail gown I even liked! For every woman. Every size. Every budget (well, they start at $1000, but still). They’re the coolest option if you’re down to design your own stunner and keep it unique!
Rent your dress with Rent the Runway: An excellent option for those who want to spend less, and look expensive! Tons of beautiful designer dresses and gowns, and they send you two sizes! It’s a 4-day rental you can easily ship back with a pre-paid label (in the USA), and they have seriously expanded their extended sizes, too! It’s a great resource for that cute “Little White Dress” for your bridal shower, bridal party, or rehearsal dinner, too! Get $30 off your first rental with my referral link!
One of my favorite parts of planning this wedding has been the little custom details to make things extra special and unique! Sure, the custom dress is cool. But I’m tooooo extra for that to be enough!
Custom Jacket Art from Lux Wedding Co.: I kept seeing the most beautiful custom jackets across Pinterest. Cute denim and leather options to swoon over made it clear: I HAD to have one. I went to my fave FB groups and IG stories to ask for recommendations, and Lux Wedding Co. had the most reviews! They just recently launched their website, where they upcycle jackets with beautiful custom artwork. They can also paint your jacket if you mail it in to them! I ordered the one I had my eye on and had it shipped to them directly. The customer service is phenomenal, the artwork in my proof they sent me was better than I could have ever imagined, and the turnaround times (about 3 weeks from receipt to my door, currently) and affordability are so impressive! I will be getting one for Sean, too, and can’t wait to commission more goodies from them! Also, I think it’s awesome that this Michigan-based sister duo started such an amazing business! The concept of upcycling jackets is so cool (and I would have used one of those if they’d have had the color/size I needed), and they are so good at what they do!!!! SUPPORT FEMALE OWNED BUSINESSES (feminist rant over)!
Made-to-Order Wedding Shoes from Jimmy Choo: When you use the “Make Your Own” option on the site, you can customize the type of shoe, the heel height, the color, the fabric, and even add a little gold or ice blue plate on the bottom with a personalized date or initials! If you were already splurging on designer shoes, this is a great option! My fave part of this is I can re-wear the shoes every anniversary-or just because!
Custom Cups and Napkins from ForYourParty.com: I thought since we have a more laid back dinner option of tacos, it would be cool to get some fancier linen-like napkins, and found some really cool customizable ones with our menu on them in a rose gold foil from For Your Party! They also have awesome frosted plastic cups, stadium style cups and all different kinds of personalized items to class up a casual gathering of any kind!!
Custom Clutch/Beach Bag from Island to Eastside: I’ll be carrying one of these beaded beauties for years to come, but especially with my custom shoes to complement them! You can add text to the front, and inside the flap with your special date, new last name, etc! They also have options to batch order for your bridal party, or other special groups and events! They’re affordable, especially when you consider the $300 you’re dropping on a Kate Spade bag anyways.
Money is so annoying. I want more to do more, but the more I have to pay for things the more overwhelmed I become. This is compounded in wedding planning when you consider I’m paying part of the money up front, and then have to make sure I am paying installments in the meantime or arranging to deliver large sums to people on “the big day.” Budget worksheets have really helped me take a good look at what we are spending, and where. My spreadsheet has also been great for when we meet with parents (who have been BEYOND generous) and let them know where their contributions are going, or where we could use assistance. I like people to see that I care about their help, and use it to its fullest capability! Here are some of the best ones I have found, and they’re all FREE.
Some of the best ideas and advice I got were from other brides and vendors in Facebook groups! There are two that really helped me:
Something Borrowed, Something New (this is a group geared primarily towards California weddings, but inspiration nonetheless)
Whew! I know it’s a lot of info, but I’m hoping that its info you’ll find useful as you navigate the wedding process! Knowing half of these things existed before it was my turn to plan a wedding made a huge difference, and I am so excited to pass that knowledge on! What resources changed the game for you? And if you’re not planning a big event yet, what special things are you hoping to find? Tell me all about it in the comments!
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