Just a few months of wedding planning has taught me something: Wedding advice from anyone who got married over five years ago is somewhat irrelevant, as the internet has drastically changed the way we do things. In an age of hashtags and Pinterest (which I still mildly oppose), wedding planning for Millennials like me has become much easier — as well as more overwhelming — than it was for previous generations. While not all online tools are worthwhile, here’s a breakdown of some of the ones that I have found incredibly helpful for my wedding:
Thumbtack isn’t just useful for weddings. Any time you want to hire someone for a specific service, from CPR training to singing lessons to performing magic tricks, Thumbtack is a great place to find vendors. It’ll ask you some questions to narrow down the search, and then within hours, you should get custom quotes from interested vendors.
I found my florist using Thumbtack. As I wrote in a previous post, I wasn’t looking forward to paying the going-rate for wedding florists. Within an hour of inputting the number of bouquets I’d need, my wedding colors, flower preferences, and event information, I received an email from a vendor. The first thing you should always do when a vendor approaches you is look them up. Check out their company website and read customer reviews on Yelp and Wedding Wire. Fortunately, this particular florist was well-established and had almost perfect reviews.
It took us some back-and-forth emailing to figure out how to work within my price range. When bargaining, be blunt but appreciative. Since my florist’s initial proposal was over our budget, my response went like this:
“Thanks for the proposal! It’s still more than we would like to pay (as you can probably tell, my fiancé and I aren’t really flower people, so it’s hard for us to pay hundreds of dollars for something we can’t appreciate.). What would the cost be for cheaper bridesmaids flowers, such as baby’s breath? I can also forgo English tea roses in my bouquet, if you know another alternative. The only thing I really care about is having pale pinks and/or white flowers for the bride and white for the bridesmaids.”
Since I was talking to someone who presumably loves flowers, I was careful not to offend her by blaming myself for my lack of floral appreciation. There’s no point in upsetting someone who is willing to work with you. I let her know what I could be flexible with, in order to help lower costs. After doing some outside research, she came back to me with the perfect solution.
Even if you already have a vendor in mind, Thumbtack can still be valuable. Anthony and I were very happy with our DJ selection, but just out of curiosity, I wanted to check out the prices of other DJs. I submitted a request on Thumbtack, and within a few hours, my own DJ emailed me! He asked if I was dissatisfied with his proposal, and, if so, how he could fix it or lower the cost. His level of responsiveness and cooperation only confirmed that he was the DJ for us.
I would only recommend Jetaport to those who are also having their weddings in destination cities. Blocking hotel rooms is a lot easier in cities that no one wants to visit because they have, like, five hotels to choose from. However, Honolulu has hundreds of hotels to choose from, and even someone who loves to research as much as I do can feel overwhelmed. Jetaport makes it easier by finding you available hotels, spelling out each hotel’s blocking policy, letting you compare up to four hotels at a time, and contacting the hotel for you.
When deciding on hotels, find out which ones offer a “courtesy block”. A courtesy block means you are not responsible for a deposit or any unused rooms. Once you find a hotel you like, make sure you ask the hotel these important questions:
- How many rooms are available to block?
- When is the cutoff date for guests to book their rooms?
- How do guests book rooms with your discount?
- Can you add more rooms if you fill up the block?
- Can guests extend their stay?
- Is there a fee to deliver welcome bags to each room?
- Are there any complimentary offers, such as breakfast and parking?
To give our guests some options (and because I couldn’t really decide which one I liked most), we blocked rooms at three mid-range hotels in Waikiki.
Most couples now are using Honeyfund instead of a traditional registry. This fact gives me slight faith in humanity, as Honeyfund’s popularity indicates two trends:
- We are in an age in which couples are living together before marriage and learning if they can actually stand each other on an everyday basis before taking the big plunge. This explains why more and more couples already have their home essentials by the time they get married.
- Couples are valuing experiences over things. Studies have shown that experiences (e.g., traveling, concerts) make us happier than material objects. Millennials are infamous for opting out of owning homes and cars because they would prefer to spend their money backpacking across Europe or trying new cuisines. This is one of the few instances in which I am proud to be a stereotype.
Honeyfund allows you to create and customize a detailed honeymoon registry. Instead of giving another set of bath towels, guests can contribute to the couple’s honeymoon. Our Honeyfund will allow guests to help us pay for experiences like train rides across Japan, a couple’s massage in the Philippines, and cooking classes in South Korea.
There are dozens of stationary sites out there. So far, I’ve used Paper Source and Wedding Paper Divas, and have been pleased with both. There are roughly four times you’ll need stationary for your wedding: save-the-dates, invitations, programs, and thank-you notes. Keep an eye out for deals, as stationary companies tend to have deals every few months. The easiest way would be to add your name to their mailing list, but if you want to avoid inbox overflow, follow them on Facebook or Instagram, or just check their website every week or so. We were able to get significant discounts on both our save-the-date magnets and our address stamp because I was aware of some deals happening.
Another thing that almost all couples have today is a wedding website. As a blogger, I’m grateful for any excuse to design another website. We chose a template from The Knot and purchased our own URL so it’s easy for our guests to remember. Wedding websites are especially practical for destination weddings. Our site has advice on restaurants to try and activities to do in Hawaii, as well as details about our welcome reception and morning-after brunch. Wedding websites allow guests to RSVP online, which is a great way to avoid wasting money on response cards and extra postage.
As I wrote in my previous post, Wedding Wire is a trustworthy site for reading vendor reviews, and Google Docs is the most efficient place to store and share all your wedding plans.
If I had gotten married a decade ago, this whole planning process would be much different. It’ll be interesting to see what tools will be available for brides ten years in the future. I’m ready to be jealous.
257 days to go!