A few years’ back, receiving a digital wedding invitation was unusual. But, between an unreliable local postal system and the advance of wedding-planning tech, it’s fast become the norm. And why not, when instead of just sending out an invite to your guests, the digital planning service of your choice can also help you create a personal wedding website, get your budget in order and upload your gift registry, all in one place.
WHAT’S AVAILABLE ONLINE RIGHT NOW?
Terri-Jo Haw spoke to me three weeks ahead of her wedding. “My fiancé, Murray and I are dairy farmers,” she says. “I’m extremely technologically unadvanced, but I knew that it would be difficult to send out physical invites from the farm to our guests all over the world, and too expensive to courier
There’s an app for almost everything – and wedding planning is no different. There are countless digital tools tavailable out there to help you plan, perfect and showcase your big day, from sending out invitations and budgeting, to finding vendors, thanking guests and even displaying photos
She looked for an online option, many of which are US-based. While friends had used Paperless Post a company that offers attractive digital invitations, she wasn’t convinced. She found another option, but she struggled to make it work for her – it was too complicated. “Eventually, I Googled ‘easiest free wedding website’ or something, and Joy was the first one that came up.”
Using Joy, Leylandt found it easy to create a personalised wedding website, including a video of getting engaged, photos of the couple and all the details guests would need. Joy also offers a mobile app for planning on the go.
Other similar options include The Knot and Appy Couple. The latter is a paid option, with two once-off prices, depending on the package, that offers the ability to send save the dates and invitations and, design your own personalised wedding site with video cover pages.
Other functionality includes event scheduling, RSVPs, notifications, photo sharing and even travel planning. It also syncs with the Appy Couple app, for a seamless experience across devices. And, if your guests download the app, they will see exactly what’s on your personal site. If you’re wondering why they’d do that, the app offers all the event info in one place, plus a countdown timer, digital guestbook, event updates and a secure and private photo gallery where guests can contribute pictures – you can also choose what’s visible and also avoid having pics splashed across social media before you’re ready.
The customisable RSVP forms mean you can find out whatever you need to know from guests – whether it’s travel arrangements, menu options or song requests. Responses are available as a spreadsheet download to send to vendors and co-planners. Plus, if you’re running multiple events that don’t include all guests – for example, a “before” breakfast on the day, reserved for family members only – you can choose what is visible to each person.
IS THERE A LOCAL EQUIVALENT?
While the international services offer great benefits, they may not always meet South Africans’ exact needs. Daniel Bailey, founder of Devlabs and creator of AppyEverAfter, says: “Every country has different events that happen around a wedding. For example, in Germany there are two ceremonies: the civil ceremony and the ceremony with your friends. Plus, all the vendors are sourced on the local app, so you don’t want to be booking and paying for a photographer in Euros with the current exchange rates.”
AppyEverAfter offers similar tools as the international options – guest list, to-do list and budgeting – but it also enables users to browse through vendors across South Africa.
“You can get in touch with these vendors on the app to arrange a meeting and booking,” Bailey says. “You can message your guests directly through the app, and we’re just finalising our personal wedding websites for our users. We also allow guests to download and view their invites on the app and RSVP there. There’s a social wall that allows the guests to post comments and pictures they’ve taken – this means the bridal couple can view all the photos taken, but keep them private until they decide which ones they want to release on social media.”
Bailey says the app currently lists more than 1 000 vendors across South Africa and there’s demand to expand it to include those in neighbouring countries, too. “We’ll be looking at adding these countries in the New Year,” he says.