Indian brides are inundated with information, ads, products, ideas, inspiration, Pinterest mania and just stuff on websites, and you’re always looking for Indian wedding resources. It’s hard to retain information and know what’s useful. And it’s so annoying when you get an irrelevant ad – hey, why I am getting a Verizon FIOS ad right now?! I don’t care about cable while I’m planning my wedding! Sometimes it’s hard to filter through all of that stuff to get what you actually need. Most of us have an idea of a maybe a handful of sites that could actually be helpful, but I’ll break down some handy resources from places you might not expect – places Indian Brides might forget to look.
1) Etsy is my hands down favorite place to purchase unique items like signs, bridesmaid gifts, etc. But there are many items you can find on Etsy that you wouldn’t expect – like bridal jewelry and even wholesale items (like candy bags). And yes, Pinterest and Etsy go hand in hand sometimes because those fun ideas from Pinterest get you to Etsy. But beyond that, you can purchase so much more than you think. The key is to use the filters when you’re searching (as much as you can use the filters). The downside of Etsy is the same as Pinterest. When you get sucked in, you get really sucked in. The search filtering function could be a little better so you might find yourself looking for longer than you’d hoped for. Etsy has a separate wedding section, which is a good place to start for anything. Check out the Resources page for find a list of great finds on Etsy.
2) Wedding Gawker – I love love LOVE this site! It’s the next best thing after Pinterest – the site combines the best of Pinterest (or a friendlier, less intimidating version of Pinterest) with a Google search, and a bit of other wedding sites you’ve seen for inspiration. What I love about it is that you can search to see what’s trending by time period – do you care what’s trending this past holiday season, or of all time? If you already know what you’re looking for, you can filter by categories (like jewelry, photography, or DIY). Or, you can look at the most “gawked” at or most favorited to see what other brides are tagging. Wedding Gawker appeals to the bride who’s all about trends, the bride who knows what she’s looking for, and the bride who just needs an idea or two.
Plus, it contains a lot of content and photos related to Indian weddings. Although there isn’t as much as Pinterest that comes up when you search “indian wedding,” all of the results are very very unique – I guarantee you’ll find some new, different ideas for your wedding, and especially for your photos. Searching specific terms like “mandap” or “mehndi” brings up many results too. Just go check it out already!
3) Everything Google – Ok, obviously everyone and their mother uses Google. But I’m talking about the smart way of using Google. First, I’ll caveat this by saying I can’t live without Gmail. So for me, I’m biased towards Google products. Even if you don’t use Gmail (not sure why you would use anything else?!), the Google suite of products are perfect to stay organized for Indian wedding planning.
Google Drive is similar to Dropbox, where you can store files, and share files. Google Docs (similar to Microsoft Word and Excel) allows you to modify the documents and share them in real time. You can create a master document (with tabs) and then share that with your fiancee and anyone else who’s helping to plan the wedding. I couldn’t live without Google docs & Google Drive for our wedding planning – it’s so easy to use and you can use it for so many parts of planning.
Gmail is a great place to create a new joint email address where guests and vendors can contact you and your fiancee. Afraid it might get annoying to check two emails? No worries – you can have emails sent to your joint address get forwarded to your main gmail address. Plus, you can send emails from your joint address within your primary email account. The best part is that you can easily filter emails (obviously with its own colored label) and it’ll make finding and sorting wedding planning emails that much easier. Seriously you have no excuses now NOT to create one!
4) You don’t think of eBay when you’re out searching for Indian wedding stuff. But like Etsy, you can find some unexpected items here. Indian [costume] jewelry is a great example. If you’re interested in looking for Indian wedding jewelry, try searching with a few different keywords like “Indian costume jewelry,” “kundan indian jewelry set” or “indian bridal jewelry.” I recommend using the filters on the left side of the page. Personally, I filter for sellers within North America, and then select your price range, and select “Buy it Now” (unless you have the patience to bid on an auction-priced item.” You can easily see the sellers reviews from other buyers – look at them before purchasing! Also look at the lead time for delivery. Usually, if they’re shipping from the US, the lead times aren’t bad (about a week or so). I’ve personally had good luck finding a really unique gem jewelry set on eBay. The caveat is that there will always be different merchandise on there at any given time, and you could be taking a gamble sometimes (depending on the return policy). That said, it’s still a great place to find those hidden gems (among other things).
5) Closeout stores are my favorite for hidden finds. The best part about these stores (like Big Lots, Dollar Stores, and many local versions of these stores) is that you never know what you’re going to find. I found many items that were previously sold at Target discounted to almost a fraction of the original price. Frames, candle holders, trays, vases, statues and more. These stores are fun to get ideas from, they’re fun even after you’ve done some initial inspiration research. Don’t be afraid to take some printouts (images you’ve gathered) to get some ideas while you’re shopping. Indian wedding planning can be FUN – the fun challenge is making it you (the wedding couple) and incorporating unique touches along the way.
6) Online RSVP sites should be your new best friend! Ok, I get it if you want to keep it old school and send pre-stamped envelopes with RSVP cards in them. If it works for you, go with it. For me, I wanted an easy option where I don’t have to manually create and check the RSVP list of who sent their cards back. I also didn’t want guests changing numbers or names on the cards. We did give guests an option to call (for those not comfortable with RSVPing online). There are a bunch of really handy sites to make your life easier with RSVPs. Some of them to check out:
- Wedding Wire – I found Wedding Wire pretty easy to use. I was able to put an RSVP page on our wedding website so guests could RSVP from a central spot, and I was notified by email when guests RSVP’d. It helped me keep tabs on RSVPs without having to go back to the site all the time.
- RSVPify – Free tool where you can lead guests to their site, or even embed the tool on your own wedding website
- AnRSVP – Free tool allows guests to RSVP directly from the site. Can add additional questions while guests are RSVPing (like song requests, food preferences, etc).
- RSVP me now – Simple, no frills site that simply collects your RSVPs.
- Appy Couple – Fee based – the site offers many different features, that allows guests to come to one place to find information as well as RSVP.
7) VistaPrint – After many of the big planning decisions are made, the smaller (but equally important) decisions need to be made. To have menus or not to have? To send formal bridal shower invitations or Evites? Using stationery is a perfect way to make your wedding unique and personalized, but not everyone chooses to use it. If you’re interested in these personal touches, VistaPrint is a great place to get customized Ceremony programs, Save the dates, Menus, Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party Invitations, Stickers on Wedding Favors, Welcome/Gift Bag tags and even Thank you cards. Check out our post on creating a monogram logo before moving forward with stationery. That way, even if you decide on a basic design, you can still upload your monogram logo to make each piece unique. VistaPrint has many pre-made templates, or you can even customize your own. Google a coupon code before making any purchases!
8) Online Reception Table Layout Sites are the newest craze. I admit I prefer the manual method of printing out strips and tables on paper to figure out table seating, but this might be a more streamlined method.
- Wedding Wire has a free, easy to use tool, especially if you’re already managing your guest list within their site
- Wedding Mapper has a free, basic version but you can still establish the room dimensions and table sizes to fit your needs
- Top Table Planner – this newer tool offers a free trial (but the least expensive premium version is $20 for 6 months) and it’s a little more comprehensive in terms of technology and the overall layout of the site (it also has an app version). You can share your plan with vendors and modify it based on table sizes.
9) When it comes to DIYing stationery, Microsoft Office is your friend [Office is my friend in everyday life]. Vistaprint is great for mass printing (like programs and menus) but when you only need a few copies of something (like a custom cocktail menu), Microsoft Word and Powerpoint are your friend. If you’re using a custom monogram logo, you can easily make it in powerpoint or word. Then, add elements like borders, lines and fun fonts to customize your stationery.
Ideas of what to make in Microsoft Office:
- Wedding Itinerary
- Guest book sign
- Place Card sign
- Food labels
- Custom Cocktail Menu sign (check out our post on creating a cocktail menu)
- Menus (if doing one per table)
10) “Old School” Wedding Sites – With the influx of many wedding inspiration blogs and sites – full of inspiration, real wedding photos and what not, it’s really easy to go down a path of getting sucked into those sites but not actually getting anything in return (like executable ideas!). It’s easy to look at these newer sites that offer “infotainment.” Many brides overlook the classic, dare I say “original” websites like The Knot, Wedding Wire, and Martha Stewart Weddings because of all of the other options. Sometimes many of these sites are annoying to go through, with their distracting advertising and information overload. But, take a step back and see what these sites have to offer. It could be what you’re looking for. For me, I was surprised at how many tools Wedding Wire offered. Even though it has its quirks, I found the site more helpful than not. My only advice here is to be cautious of how much time you spend on any of these sites!
For more helpful tools, visit the Resources page.
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