Broke-Ass Author: Megan R


Bride to be cellphone case from Etsy seller Guestbookery

Originally, we had planned to do evites but I got so much pushback from the “elders” about using that technology that I gave up the fight and went the traditional route of paper invitations. While they are gorgeous and I’m happy with how they turned out, the price tag didn’t bring me much happiness, nor did having to print out addresses (we had the option to pay to have them printed, but I’m wayyy too cheap for that route since I knew I could do it myself).

I did take a stand on the RSVP front though. After seeing the price of RSVP cards and hearing stories about all the confusion and suggestions to mark them with UV markers to know who is who when they come back with no name, I just wasn’t interested in the runaround. It sounded way too complicated when I knew there had to be a way to utilize technology to do all the work for me.  One of the first things I did to start wedding planning was to download some wedding planning spreadsheets. These were Google spreadsheets which was convenient in many ways: 1) They are electronic soI’m not lugging around a huge binder (think Ted and Lily from How I Met Your Mother); 2) Multiple people could access the spreadsheets if I give them access and; 3) Google Forms integration.

Because I knew I wanted an online RSVP setup, I looked into Google Forms. I didn’t really know much about them other than the fact that they existed. What I didn’t realize is that some wedding websites actually offer RSVP services. Since I had already created our wedding website, I didn’t really want to go this route, so the Google Forms option looked better and better. When I discovered that you can link a Google Form to a Google Spreadsheet, I knew I had hit the jackpot.

I could create all my own questions and all the answers would automatically push to the spreadsheet.

I mainly did a trial-by-error method of learning how to use Google Forms. It’s pretty self-explanatory if you’re moderately tech-savvy. I also adjusted the settings a bit to better suit my needs. For the purposes of being a good blogger, I set up an example form in a few minutes.

It’s that easy, just a few minutes!

From a Google spreadsheet, click on Tools, then select Create a form.

You will be taken to this screen where you can fill in your information and create questions.

Google Forms is awesome because you can mark certain questions as required and you can have different types of questions (multiple choice, short answer, long answer, dropdown options, etc).  My favorite thing about Forms is that you can create a “password.” This was a little tricky and I had to do some research but I really didn’t want our form to be open to just anyone.

To set a “password,” select Short answer as your question type, then click on the three dots icon at the bottom right, then select Data validation. This will generate a line that gives you the option to set an answer. You can select Text (seen in the example) or you can select Number. If you select Number, ensure that you change the second dropdown menu to “equal to.” I put this question in the first section (important) and marked it required so anyone that found the form had to put in the password before seeing any of the questions. I also changed some of the settings (the gear icon in the top right) to collect email addresses for people that RSVP, so  if we had any information we needed to disseminate before the wedding, we had a contact option for each guest that was coming.

I started our questions in section 2. By creating sections, people using the form will only see one section at a time. To put a password on the first section means they are unable to see the rest of the form without answering the password question correctly. Rather than sending out an RSVP card, the first thing our guests will see when they flip over their invitation (please let these people flip the invitation over to see what all that text is!) is:

Please RSVP at our wedding website:
Password: Password

(other wedding info)

(even more wedding info)

I made sure to put the website and password in larger font than the rest of the text.  I tried to make it as obvious as possible.

Our questions are:

  • Who are you?
  • Are you coming?
  • Great! Who is coming with you?
  • Total number of people in your party (including yourself)?
  • Will you be attending the Post-Wedding Brunch on November 2nd?
  • Does anyone have any dietary concerns we should be aware of?
  • Where will you be staying while you are in Charleston?
  • What are the dates of your trip to Charleston?
  • What is 1 song that will make your night if you hear it?
  • Are you excited?
  • What are you most excited for?
  • Do you have anything else you’d like Megan and Timo to know about your visit, their wedding, or in general?

Now that we’ve sent out invites, some reflections on the online RSVP:

I think most people are afraid of the online RSVP. They think it will be difficult. I’ve had to encourage friends who “only use their phones” by explaining that the site is mobile friendly, (yes, I did that for you, friends). In fact, I had to bully my parents into RSVPing to their first child’s wedding. SERIOUSLY? I’ve found out through the grapevine/talking to invitees that they will be coming, but they haven’t RSVPed yet, even though they have purchased plane tickets! WHAT? (This also leads to a bit of self-reflection where I have to acknowledge that I’m not like most people and for me, I would have RSVPed yes, then bought my plane ticket.)

I was hoping we’d get a majority of RSVPs from the invites we sent out within the first month or so (haahahahahahahahahahahahah, our RSVP by date is Sept 15th) so I could send out round two, with a grasp on how many people I knew were coming, but it doesn’t seem like that is going to be the case. Oh well.

Did you do something unconventional in the planning process?  How did it go?


  • 6/1

    Timelss Rings invitation from Wedding Paper Divas

    In the beginning there was a good idea, then the good idea was shared and people shunned it because the good idea was too modern and technologically forward … and that’s how we went from e-vites to paper invites. Siiiiigh. Since we originally didn’t plan on spending money on invitations, I only looked at stationery sites longingly and for ideas. I struggled with the idea of spending $2.50+ on a piece of paper that most people were going to toss in the garbage (most likely). I went through several websites looking through their invitation templates for inspiration of something I could create myself in Photoshop.

    I picked out my favorites and showed them to Timo to ask his opinion. I gave him three options, two cheap and one not cheap. Of course, he picked the expensive one to like (which was fine since it was also my favorite). Part of me was on the fence about creating our own invitations. The time commitment, finding some place to have them printed, my Photoshop limitations … I was kind of hoping he’d pick one of the cheaper options so I wouldn’t feel bad when I suckered out and said, “Why don’t we just buy these instead of me going through all this frustration?” When Timo asked how much it would be to buy the invitations we both liked and I told him almost $500 for just the invites and 10 RSVP cards, he almost fell out of his chair. Sometimes, I wonder what it’s like to be so blissfully ignorant of the wedding industry. Timo quickly became my #1 supporter for me spending my time on the computer trying to figure out how to potentially recreate something similar that we had seen online.

    One of my besties works with a graphics designer and I was able to send her screenshots of the template we liked and asked her recreate the images that I couldn’t figure out (this is probably frowned upon as it may cross ethical boundaries). Obviously it wouldn’t be exactly the same, which was fine. I also wanted to change the colors of the template to our colors. I was in the process of working with the color gradient of the rings when I received an email from Wedding Paper Divas (WPD) containing a 40% off coupon code.

    Me: Excuse me, did you say 40% off?
    WPD: Why yes, yes we did.
    Me: Squuuueeeee! #gamechanger

    I knew that even if I designed the invites myself, I would still have to pay for the paper and to have them printed. I tried to do some estimates and couldn’t really figure it out what prices for printing/paper would be and the frustration really started setting in. I had been working on the design for over a week and hadn’t even started working on the text or wording for the back. Putting everything together was frustrating and I was starting to get overwhelmed which I knew would be a delay of game in progress.

    I knew that I would definitely be printing info on the back of the invite, etiquette be damned. No way I was spending another $1+ for an enclosure card when the back of our invite could hold that information. No, we wouldn’t have that cool design, but I would be saving money and our theme (“we’re on a budget”) is way more important to me than a pretty design on the back of the invitation (that we hadn’t originally planned to send anyways).

    When I saw the coupon code, I knew I needed to talk to Timo and ask his opinion. I explained that with the discount we’d be paying between $250-$300 for everything we needed and he asked, “Is that what you would prefer to do?” Without missing a beat, I said, “Yes.” I knew that the frustration had only just started and it probably wasn’t going to be worth my stress and time to reinvent the wheel when I could just pay for a finished product. So Timo agreed that we could just buy our wedding invitations from the site. Relieved, I explained to him that we needed to light the fire under our asses to get the wording (more specifically, the translation) figured out so I could submit the order before the offer expired. Timo committed to making sure we got it done in time.

    One of the biggest expense contributions was the fact that while we needed 100-ish invites, we needed 30 in German and 70 in English. The problem with this is the more you print, the better your discount is.

    Price breakdown (for full price):

    100 cards @ $1.89 = $189
    70 cards @ $2.29 + 30 cards @ $3.59 = $268
    10 RSVP cards (for the elders) = $29.40

    We took about three days to work out the wording. Timo had to translate everything into German. I managed to submit our order the day before the code expired, much to my surprise. I figured we’d come skidding in right at the very end. With Wedding Paper Divas, you design your order in their template designer then your submitted order is assigned to a designer who works with you to further edit your invitations to your liking, if you have changes to make. Once your initial order (pre-edits) is complete, that is the price you pay, no matter how long it takes you to make revisions of your designs.

    We had to go through several rounds of revisions. I only had one almost meltdown when we got our first set of proofs back and all my carefully decided on fonts were changed and the colors were completely wacky and essentially “everything” was wrong with them and OMG why didn’t I just do this myself, I know exactly what I want, I wouldn’t be in this situation dealing with a stranger on the internet trying to decipher what “fix the spacing” “fix header sizing” etc., meant. I was so upset I called WPD and asked to speak to my designer.

    I knew our problem was that we were trying to communicate via text over the Internet and my wishes weren’t clear nor was her understanding of what I wanted. When she called me back we spoke about my goals and she was able to reset to my original design and we went from there. After the call, we were on the same page. I was able to send the designer specific color numbers for the colors we wanted and a layout template so she could see how I wanted the header, center and footer text laid out. Other than tweaks on the fonts and some wording issues, it only took about four cycles of revisions to get our invites “perfect.”

    Total paid for 100 invitations, 10 RSVP cards, and envelopes (with a 40% off code): $204.41

    You know how sometimes you know you’re forgetting something, but you can’t really figure out what it is?  Yeah, that happened, of course. Two days after I gave the final approval for the proofs and they were sent to the printer, I realized that our invites didn’t have one of the most important details about the wedding … the blurb about no children. Oops. I also made sure to add a blurb about leaving children at home on the wedding website.

    The “please no children” wording I went with: “We would love to give all our guests the opportunity to let their hair down and have a good time without having to worry about little eyes and ears, so we politely request no children at our reception.”

    Invite example:


    Buying our invitations saved me sooooo much time and frustration. Which Timo definitely appreciated. I think that wedding planning has been a good lesson for Timo and I about money vs. convenience. I struggle to pay for something I am fully capable of doing, but the reality is, I’m not as good as a professional. Period. Sometimes, DIY just isn’t worth the hassle. For me, that lesson came with our invitations.
    Regrets on ordering our invitations from a website?  NONE, but only because we had a 40% off coupon.  If we had to pay full price, I would not be saying this.

    What did you end up just spending money on to make it go away? Tell us in the comments!

  • 5/16

    As someone who has only seen episodes of Say Yes to the Dress in the time it takes for the channel to load and me to flip to the next channel, I was completely unprepared for wedding dress hunting. I was a "good" bride/friend and invited my mom and two besties to Charleston for the process.  I made appointments at 3 different bridal shops (Bridals by…

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    Within a week of selecting our venue and wedding date, I started daydreaming (and night dreaming) about save the date magnets. I wanted to send out magnets with a photo of us with our date in a cute font and the wedding website and they would be perfect and cheap and so cute!  Everyone loved the idea. But then we told the Germans about my…

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    Print available from Etsy seller WishfulPrinting The biggest expense at any wedding are the guests. They are the consumers, so the more guests you have, the more expensive your reception will be (in theory, I'm sure someone can prove me wrong about that). We are opting to have a buffet dinner at our reception and we figured to keep costs down, we need less mouths…

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  • 3/21

    Coffee Mug available from Etsy seller MeganPadovanoDesigns We made all the big decisions within the first month of planning and everyone had advice for us. I say this with love from the bottom of my heart: I didn't care what anyone said. From the "enjoy planning" to the "you need to do this first," I ignored everyone. I didn't want their advice. Guidance about how…

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    Pros-Cons Organizer Notepad available from Etsy seller KaufmanArt When we left off, I was already projecting that we would go over-budget. Womp, womp. But we were about to make some decisions that could potentially alter how much I had to sacrifice. We agreed that we'd have about 100 people come to the big day. That would keep it "small" but "big" and would help keep…

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  • 2/21

    After spending six years in the military, I'm known to apply my military training in daily life, even after getting out. For wedding planning, I liberally applied the strategic planning cycle theory. Mostly unintentionally, but once I realized what was happening, I went with it. The down side is that I begin to use military terminology around people that have no idea what I'm talking…

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