By Shawn McGowan, JobsInME.com
In the 15-month journey to my wedding, I've learned a few things. It's a wonderfully exciting time, but it can turn maddening on a dime when mixed with busy work schedules.
My column typically covers finding a job via technology and new media, but this month I'm sharing some online tools that were essential to planning our big day. They kept us connected and on-task, despite our frenzied career lives, and proved that social media can make life better.
It's easy to use and the to-do system kept me focused and meeting deadlines. I created a wedding calendar that we both shared and added items to, telling us where we had to be and when. If there was ever a question like, "When are we meeting with the photographer again?" out came our iPhones to check our wedding schedule via the Calengoo app. A lifesaver.
Dropbox allowed us to share vital paperwork and collaborate on vows, guest lists, budget and other things by using a shared folder synced via the cloud to our phones, work, home computers, and any other terminal with internet capability. I especially liked on-screen notification that a document had been updated by my fiancée so I could immediately verify the changes.
My crafty fiancée was able to pour over thousands of DIY ideas, hair-dos, dresses, and party favors by browsing others' pinboards (bundles of articles and photos collected by other users), liking or repining them to boards of her own to serve as a brainstorming birdcage full of ideas for every stage of the event. We found a lot of ways to cut costs and discovered fun, creative projects to personalize our wedding here. I highly recommend Pinterest.
Our planning and research for every aspect of our wedding was conducted online. Usually, we "divided and conquered," researching our own assignments and reporting back on what we'd found. We did this by sharing carefully tagged wedding bookmarks across our Delicious accounts constantly. Together, we have created a local library of web links to every venue, caterer, hotel, attire vendor, and photographer in our area.
I wanted to create an online hub where we could keep our attendees "in the know" as easily as possible. After deciding to use a designated service and not a self-created blog, I did some research and unearthed Wedding Window. Our personalized home site was equipped with pictures, music, and information about our wedding, including why we decided to get married in the first place. We could also post directions, maps and hotel rates. We had no RSVPs coming back to us via snail mail. Instead, Wedding Windows' backend tracked online RSVPs and reported final numbers to us. From front to back, this service had more than we imagined.
These tools enabled us to plan and share our wedding with ease, making our pre-wedding days sane and balanced. Wish us luck!
As a Social Media Marketing Coordinator, Shawn McGowan's passion for brand transparency and over 10 years of sales/customer service experience make him aptly suited for the job. A native of East Millinocket, Maine, Shawn grew up at the foot of Mount Katahdin and graduated from the University of Maine Presque Isle with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). When not writing, editing or immersing himself in the world of social media, he can be found enjoying the outdoors, art, music, tech, humor, Portland's amazing food scene, and all things nerdy. You can reach Shawn at smcgowan (at) JobsInME.com and Twitter.com/shonymac.