Life can’t stop when it comes time to plan your wedding day. Instead, the extra tasks—phone calls, venue visits, taste tasting and dress shopping—have to fit in with the million other day-to-day jobs already on your plate. Some things (like tasting) are still best done the old-fashioned way, but many items can be crossed off from the comfort of home. Here’s how:
1. Take advantage of online planning tools.
Many websites such as The Knot and My Wedding offer free tools that keep track of everything from weekly to-dos to budgeting to the guest list. Instead of carrying scraps of paper or a packed binder, store the deets in an online database. It’ll be available everywhere you go and won’t ever get misplaced or accidentally covered in coffee.
2. Photo inspiration is everywhere.
The availability of inspiration online is both a blessing and a curse—it can be overwhelming to be faced with thousands of Mason jar arrangements (funny ’cause it’s true). Start by creating a series of Pinterest boards where you can gather snaps of everything you love categorized by theme. You’ll be able to streamline ideas that go together (a cotton candy machine fits in at a circus-themed wedding, but might be out of place at a minimalist all-white affair). Choose the theme that can fulfill as many of your dreams as possible. If you’ve already nailed down the colour palette, create boards by topic, i.e. flowers, table settings, bridesmaid dresses, etc.
3. Narrow down vendors.
Before booking venue tours, compare locations online. Most cities have comprehensive guides (such as The Perfect Wedding Guide in Toronto) with directories of banquet halls, chapels, gardens and hotels. Most of the time you can take a virtual tour from home to get a feel for each place. Once you’ve narrowed down a list, email to request quotes and find out restrictions on catering and bar service. Some places will be out of budget or won’t offer all of the services that you require. All of this preliminary research will ultimately help save time, because you won’t have to visit as many locations in person to find the perfect spot. Same goes for other vendors such as florists, bakeries, makeup artists, DJs and photographers.
4. Order invites.
Many couples order invitations online without ever setting foot in a shop. Whether you choose to go paperless to save money and trees, or choose a pre-made template that you love, the process is often speedy and hassle free. Precious Invitations, for example, has dozens of templates to choose from with customizable colours, paper and sizing. Invites take one month to prepare but, for a fee, can be ready within a week. Flare.com managing editor Alicia Cox Thomson ordered her wedding invites off Etsy, hassle free. In most online transactions, the designer sends a proof to be approved before printing, making errors nearly impossible.
5. Pick the dress.
While some women dream of trying on gowns surrounded by loved ones lofting champagne, others dread the thought of dress shopping. If you fall into the latter camp, choosing a dress online might be the perfect escape. True, you can’t try it on before ordering, but you have many more options than are available in any one store. Etsy has many gorgeous handmade dresses, while BHLDN—the sister bridal store to Anthropologie, located in Chicago and Houston—has retro styles ranging from $600 to $4,000.
6. Build a website.
A wedding website that contains all of the details of the big day is useful for any couple, especially if you’re planning a destination wedding or have a lot of out-of-town guests. Wedding Jojo and Wedding Window, among many other sites, offer free and premium websites that you can personalize. The site will act as a place to house all wedding info—including schedules, maps, registry, hotel suggestions and a place for guests to RSVP. That way, if a guest loses the invite, she can look up the details online lickety-split.