Wedding tech – either you or your fiance is on board and you’re game to optimize, centralize, and consolidate the many lists, or it’s one more thing that may feel overwhelming and fall into the “should do” pile. However, taking a step back, I think it’s important to remember that no one wants to another piece of technology to learn if the outcome doesn’t deliver in making our lives easier, or at the very least— simplifying our to-do list. (Both hands are up over here.)
In my personal opinion, any wedding tech options ought to hit these four things:
1. Simple. Please for the love of all things good, please make it simple. To use, to navigate, to manipulate.
2. Be a place that can answer as many of the guests questions in one spot — travel information, venue location, and this should all be mobile / desktop friendly.
3. In the perfect unicorn future, wedding tech would also combine both the couple’s planning / to-do / budget (back-end), as well as the guests questions / experience (front end).
4. Pleasing to the eye. See: Apple. We’ll do a lot of things if it ‘s nice and easy and intuitive to look at and navigate.
Most of my research has resulted in finding the many to-do list apps, and some of the wedding website-turned-app versions, but the latter have been pretty slim on what those include other than the basic: About Us, Wedding Ceremony Location Info, Hotel / Travel Info, Registry options. I definitely feel that there’s a lot of space to flesh this starting point out into a more robust experience for both the couples planning and the guests attending.
All of this considered, I dove into building out my Guidebook App and here’s my first impression.
MY BUILDING EXPERIENCE
First off – I’m a big fan of direct, simple instructions. So it’s important that any new wedding tech I use gives me clear, step-by-step directions through exactly what I need to do. And so far, Guidebook does exactly that. They let you build apps for all kinds of things, but I got started with their pre-loaded wedding template. From there, you fill out a few simple things: date, location, a brief intro (perfect for an intro paragraph to your future guests), and two photos– one that will serve as your background and one that will be your app icon – perfect opportunity to reuse your new couple monogram design. [Here’s the quick version I put together in my own testing round.]
Once you get through that step, you’ll get into the app building! On the left side you see the features, middle a preview of the app, and the right side is a progress bar.
As for the features, the wedding template comes with the following pre-populated categories:
2. The Big Day
3. Our Story
5. Wedding Party
9. Photo Album
And you can always check out the other features and add them to your app. I added:
18. Safety & Emergency
The next post(s) will dive into each of these categories in a little more detail, because I’m really excited about how this allows us to consolidate 95% of the necessary information that guests inevitably need, or ask about, while also allowing the connection and community building, as well as the social (photo/video/etc) sharing to happen all under one roof. I’ll also be noting the areas or questions I found confusing and the workarounds that the folks at Guidebook gave me as a solution. In the meantime, here are a couple of points that pop out immediately to me that hit some important notes:
1. DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS:
The apps have a fairly straightforward design framework, where you have the option to input photos of the location of events on the schedule, as well as your overall cover image, etc. However, what got me even more excited (graphic design nerd alert) is that all of the features, like “schedule” or “venue,” give you the option to upload and incorporate your own icons – which gives the overall visual experience a more personalized touch. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Just google “icons” or whatever image or visual you’re thinking about — for example, my “maps” section I went and found a stylized compass that I uploaded and scaled. Doing this gave me the idea to start incorporating black and white line drawings for each item. Additionally, there are a ton of free options on the internet for other kinds of icons, so if this is up your alley – it’ll be a blast. Or you can stick with the original icons they provide, it’s up to you.
This is a big one as we are seeing a lot of clients preferring to keep their information off the public domain. There’s an option to allow your event to be searchable, be password protected, or by invitation only. I can see a lot of our clients preferring the latter two, and you could easily put the URL and password on your save-the-dates or send out personalized emails w/ the invite link.
Because communication is such a fundamental and critical part of our planning process as well as guest experience (and hey, life in general), I love how they’ve incorporated a couple of different ways to facilitate this. A “Quick Info” option is perfect for things like wifi passwords or transportation updates. Group messaging for the entire wedding would be wonderful in building rapport and community, especially if you’re hosting a destination wedding. Guest check-in on the app, direct guest-to-guest messaging, and finally specialized locations to house important “Announcements” and “Safety & Emergency” information all serve to consolidate various communications into one place, as well as disseminate any critical information to everyone in one go. Could you imagine how many fewer text messages would be flying on the wedding weekend?
4. REGISTRY / RSVP:
With these two options, you can add links to your registry or rsvp site and the app will then pull from websites so your guests can visit the sites right from the app. Simplifying the inevitable questions of “where are you registered? How do I find it? Which name is it under?” questions that end up coming, no matter how many times you tell your people otherwise. It’s. All. There. Under one roof! RSVPs, while depending on an outside source / link to facilitate this, it’s easy to implement and I like to recommend RSVPify. (https://rsvpify.com)
There are so many variations out there right now, however, I haven’t seen a product like this that consolidates so many things under one roof. While websites can run from anywhere from $20 and up, Guidebook’s pricing is simple and up front: you pay $5 per guest that downloads your app. Not cheap, but for the headaches it saves, may be worth it depending on how you and your guests actively use technology.
Overall, I’m in the middle of the techie spectrum: I’m someone who understands technology but often gets overwhelmed, mainly because I like to customize things to a level that gets monumental too quickly. On quick glance, Guidebook’s framework is really straightforward, but also seems to give you opportunities to really make this your own. I’ve previewed my Dream Miami Wedding Weekend and am definitely excited to share with you the finished product as well as the extra tips and tricks along the way to make it custom to you.
Stay tuned for the next chapter, where I start to rationalize a trip back to Miami in order to put this to the test! Cue uploading photos, instant messaging …. all in the name of research, right?
I may actually use this app while I’m in Miami … just because I love having all the addresses and locations of my fav spots all in one place. Not to mention uploading photos, and instant messaging…
I should probably get my Miami-summer-heat- appropriate clothing wrangled pronto.