I stumbled across Google Weddings whilst doing some blog hopping (I think I found on article on planning tools). At first I found it quite funny that Google has a section on weddings – they have their fingers in so many pies! But then I looked more closely…
Google weddings offer websites for brides and grooms, photo editing and email announcement templates. But the thing that steals the limelight for me are the planning templates! Oh the planning templates!
These weren’t created by Google in fact, but by Michelle Rago and Style Me Pretty. It’s basically an awesome spreadsheet with several tabs; tabs for your guest list, for your budget, to dos, venue options, seating chart, music list, videographer, everything!
Each tab includes instructions on what to complete, most have little calculations for you to work out your total catering costs for 60 guests at £50 per head and so on. All references to money are in $ but even if you’re not accustomed to Google Docs, as long as you some knowledge of using Microsoft Excel, you will find it super easy to change that dollar sign to your country’s currency.
The budget estimator has been a huge help so far, it helps me to see where I can save money and challenges me to get everything at a lower price than I’ve budgeted for. Of course it also seems quite scary to see that total going up and up, but I think that’s a good reality check to have early on. It makes me rethink spending £100s on Etsy when I should be saving to pay for the reception venue.
I have to say that I am not very good with money. I’m not bad, I don’t have debt; no overdrafts, no credit cards. I have a mortgage and student loans from the UK government (the means no interest) but they are very manageable. However, I’m no good at saving. I just never learned to save. As soon as I was able to earn my own money I was able to buy the Doc Martens I always wanted, and that’s how I’ve always lived. I earned the money, then I spent it. Lots of treats, lots of lovely things, but never outside of my means.
Budgeting is something I’ve never done before but I think it is long over due for me. I need to get some savings behind me, a safeguard for my future. Hopefully, our wedding will kickstart this new approach to money. Fingers crossed!
Now onto the venue tab. Gosh, wedding venues have been a huge headache so far! Not only are they, what I would consider to be, extortionate amounts of money in order to host a wedding but then there is the family politics (more on this another time).
I have an ideal venue in my mind, but I haven’t been able to find it in the local area. However, I have found something pretty damn close at what looks to be a low price. I have found venues that are incredibly beautiful for what has seemed like ridiculously high prices. I have also found venues that perfectly satisfy the ultimate DIY vintage bride within me.
Needless to say, the venue hunt is still on. But what I have found is that when I actually get those prices down in a spreadsheet and compare the venues properly my perceptions are turned on their head. The venue that is pretty damn close to my ideal is an average to high price compared to others. The incredibly beautiful venue is actually one of the lowest in price. The venue that satisies my inner DIY vintage bride is an excellent price but the logistics of it need a lot of thought (i.e. hiring just a venue means we have no bar, no one to clear plates, and more).
My advice to any other bride or party planner out there is not just to look at the price per head, consider what is included in that price. One venue I’ve found has a really low price per head (yay!) but is almost twice the price of other venues when it comes to room hire (boo!). The venue that I initially scrapped in my mind because of its £50 per head price tag actually includes bucks fizz, wine and champers for each guest with that, plus the room hire is free!
Google Weddings’ doc templates have really surprised me, and got me very organised straight away. It is an excellent tool; I would recommend them to anyone planning a wedding, whether you are first time bride or seasoned wedding planner. The only trouble is… I’ve done all this planning already without even starting on the wedding planning books that I’ve bought! Haha