Truly Engaged: Visual Wedding Planning Tools

Categories Ceremony + Reception + Resources

I’m getting married! Now what? Truly Engaged is a new blog series written by Rachel, our *newly engaged* staff writer. As she wades her way through the wedding planning process, she’ll be sharing some of the emotions, inspiration, and insight she uncovers along the way

Eek! Our wedding is two weeks away! Scary, exciting…all sorts of emotions churning through me right now. My life has been a blur of details and deadlines…oh, and on top of that: we moved! <sigh>

Because we are having our wedding within a large, public park, I’ve been trying to finalize a bunch of layout/setup details, including:

  • seating charts
  • reception layout
  • wedding processional path
  • “photo op” spots for our First Look and Wedding Party pics

Not only do these details have to be figured out, but they also have to be communicated to those who will be helping execute them.

Tedious? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

For today’s post I’m going to talk about a visual wedding planning tool I discovered that has really helped me sketch and map out these tedious, but important wedding details: Google Docs Drawings.

Yes, Google Docs has a drawing tool! It’s not just spreadsheets and text editors. Google Docs drawings has been immensely helpful for our wedding, as a way to translate our layout ideas into physical, visual representations that can be saved, printed, and shared with other wedding participants.


Why I Love Google Docs Drawing:

I can create, edit, and share my designs from any computer. 
Unlike InDesign or other  design programs (which are great programs), Google Docs can be accessed on any computer device–anywhere, anytime. This makes it super convenient for me to work on drawings whenever I have time in my busy schedule: during my lunch break at work, at home on the couch, etc.

I can invite others to view, comment, or even collaborate.
I love how I can mock up the basic design, and then have my fiance and mother help fill in the details. I can also control the settings, if I don’t want others to actually edit the designs.

For example, I mocked up the general reception layout, then I shared it with my mom, who helped fill in the actual seating arrangements, since she has been managing the guest list.

I can share my Google Drawings with non-Gmail users, too.
My fiance actually discovered this little gem! He’s been able to email our drawings to his sister, who does NOT have a Gmail account. This capability gives us the freedom to send it to virtually anyone with an email account.

I can print them for people to reference on the wedding day.
Drawings can be downloaded as a PDF, PNG, or JPG–plus, they can be printed and passed out to wedding vendors and party members. For example, our “helpers” can use one of our printouts as a visual reference as they arrange tables and set up the centerpieces and decor.

Below is one example of a Google Docs drawing I created for my wedding. I uploaded a map (photo)  of the park where our wedding will take place. I then drew symbols and lines on top of the map to indicate where key events will be taking place.

It’s not finished yet, but you can see how it looks below:


I think Google Docs drawings is really helpful for anyone who is having an outdoor wedding, or a wedding at a non-traditional venue (rustic barn, anyone?).

I’d love to hear from other brides and grooms– What visual planning tools did you use for your wedding? How did you figure out your floor plans, photo locations, etc.?


 Rachel for MagnetStreet Weddings



Truly Engaged: Adults-Only Wedding Wording

Categories Wedding Stationery

I’m getting married! Now what? Truly Engaged is a new blog series written by Rachel, our *newly engaged* staff writer. As she wades her way through the wedding planning process, she’ll be sharing some of the emotions, inspiration, and insight she uncovers along the way

Kid at wedding


How do you tell guests that their kids are NOT invited to your wedding?

This no-kid conundrum seemed to be the stickiest wording situation Tim and I came across while making our wedding invitations. I read articles and browsed forums on adult-only weddings, each with their own tips for tackling this tricky subject. However, after reading them I realized something: We aren’t having an adults- only wedding. . . we’re having an “adults-mostly” wedding!

Our exceptions to the no-kids rule:

  • Children under 1 year (nursing infants)
  • All nieces/nephews/cousins (regardless of age)
For us, the exceptions were based on both chronological age and familial hierarchy (e.g., our siblings can bring children, but our cousins and friends cannot). The “kid cutoff” was a tough decision to make, but it was a decision grounded in both practical and personal reasons.

So how do you find the right wording for an “adults mostly” (but not adults-only) wedding?

This word puzzle was perplexing—even for a writer! We knew that we wanted the Invitation wording to be the following:

We thought it might sound a little cold or exclusive to write “adults only” directly on the Invitation or RSVP Card (and besides, it wouldn’t apply to our “mostly adults” situation). We wanted to find wording that would be polite, inclusive, and friendly.

In addition to being courteous, we also wanted to be clear about who is invited (and therefore who is NOT invited). While some wording sounded too blunt, we also felt other wording sounded too subtle. Could we find the sweet spot for this sticky wording situation?

To complicate matters, the wording also needed to be flexible in order to accommodate invitees whose children ARE invited to the wedding. We couldn’t use a blanket statement such as “adults only”. We needed to come up with wording that was flexible enough to fit our “adults-mostly” wedding.


Wording Ideas for an “Adults-Only” Wedding:

#1: Putting “Adults” on the RSVP Response Line


_____ Adults accepting
_____ Adults declining


#2: Putting” Adults” at the Bottom of the Invitation

Adult reception to follow


#3: Setting a Limit to Number of Seat Reservations

We have reserved _____ seats in your honor

___ of ___ Attending
___ of ___ Declining


Wording Solution for Our “Adults-Mostly” Wedding

Ultimately, our wording solution was this:

  • writing the names of invited guests on the outer envelope
  • emphasizing who was invited on the RSVP Card by writing their names under the subheading “Invited Guests”

RSVP Card for Invitation


Although not perfect, the wording satisfied our goal of sounding polite, yet clear–while still allowing for exceptions to the no-kids rule. So how successful was this? Well, we’re still figuring that out! :)

If any RSVP Cards come back with the names of uninvited children, my mom (moms are the best!) helped come up with a general plan of how to approach the guest:

  • Acknowledge their response
  • Address the miscommunication
  • Express desire for their attendance

Hi Jane,

Thank you for the RSVP! We noticed that you added little Jack to your response. In order to keep the seating capacity below the maximum for our venue, we unfortunately are not able to invite Jack to our wedding. We apologize for the miscommunication! We hope you will still be able to join us on our wedding day. We’d love to have you there!


Did you have an “adults-mostly” wedding? I’d love to hear how you handled the wording for your Invitations and RSVP Cards!


Rachel for MagnetStreet Weddings





Truly Engaged: Finding Our Dream Mini-Honeymoon

Categories Honeymoon + Resources

I’m getting married! Now what? Truly Engaged is a new blog series written by Rachel, our *newly engaged* staff writer. As she wades her way through the wedding planning process, she’ll be sharing some of the emotions, inspiration, and insight she uncovers along the way.


The honeymoon isn’t over…it’s just getting shorter, cheaper, and closer to home.

Finding Our Dream Mini-Honeymoon - MagnetStreet Weddings


When my fiance Tim and I vacation after our wedding in September, we won’t need a passport, a plane ticket, sunscreen, or even sandals. All we’ll need are two simple things: an overnight bag and a tank of gas.

Like many modern couples, we have decided to take a “mini moon” after the wedding–which is essentially an abbreviated honeymoon that is cheaper, shorter, and closer to home. Why? Well, it’s not because we don’t love exotic locales: In fact, we met while both working in Quito, Ecuador back in 2009. Our decision to “mini moon” came from a medley of factors: time, money, work schedules, moving…

After months and months of planning the wedding, and a super busy wedding weekend, we decided that for now, less is more.

With that in mind, we used these four “less is more” factors to help decide our mini-honeymoon:


Factor 1: Less Transit = More Time

We both work full-time, which makes our vacation time finite and fleeting. The wedding itself (and all the pre-wedding planning) has already depleted much of our vacation time, leaving us with a few precious days to take for our honeymoon. However, we realized that the less time we spent traveling to our honeymoon destination, the more time we could spend actually at our honeymoon destination, relaxing and basking in newlywed bliss.

Therefore, we narrowed down our mini-honeymoon options to places that we can easily access within a few hours of driving. That way, we could squeeze the most out of each “mini-moon” minute. No wasted times for layovers, shuttle buses, or cab rides…just three hours flat and we’re there!


Factor 2: Less Travel = More Luxury

Like many couples in this economy, our money is on the tighter side–and the last thing we want to do is enter our marriage with debt or empty wallets. By  staying local, we realized we could save hundreds and hundreds of dollars. No pricey plane ticket, no settling for a “mediocre” resort because we spent all our cash on the round-trip airfare. By staying local, we could afford amd indulge in a more luxurious place. Jacuzzi, fireplace, AND floor-to-ceiling lakeside views? Yes please!


Factor 3: Less Structure = More Spontaneity

Often times when you travel afar, you fill your days with pre-planned and pre-paid activities/excursions. In contrast, our simple, local mini-moon allows our vacation to unfold organically. Without pre-paying for activities, we can simply go with the flow and take each moment as it comes. It will feel spontaneous and exciting…just like the early days of dating. And what better way to celebrate marriage than to remember the way we fell in love in the beginning.


Factor 4: Less Pressure = More Fun

There’s so much build-up and pressure to having the “perfect” wedding, followed by the “perfect” honeymoon. It’s as if you’re never going to have another vacation again! But we love travel, met while traveling, and plan to make travel a pursuit of ours throughout our life together.

By taking a mini-honeymoon, we are putting less pressure on making our honeymoon the “ultimate vacation”. Instead, we can just focus on doing what we already do best: having fun. We can just laugh, relax, and enjoy being ourselves–our married selves, that is! :)


So where did we decide to go? Well, some things are best left a surprise….but it’s along the shores of Lake Superior and we couldn’t be more excited to go on our “mini-moon” in September. :)


I’d love to hear from more couples: Are you having a “mini moon” (mini honeymoon) after your wedding? Or if you already had your mini honeymoon, where did you go? Are you glad you went the “mini moon” route?


Rachel for MagnetStreet Weddings

Tim and Rachel


Truly Engaged: Social Wedding Planning Tools

Categories Resources + Wedding Planning

I’m getting married! Now what? Truly Engaged is a new blog series written by Rachel, our *newly engaged* staff writer. As she wades her way through the wedding planning process, she’ll be sharing some of the emotions, inspiration, and insight she uncovers along the way.


With less than three months to go before the wedding (gulp!), I’ve been feverishly working on all sorts of tasks–from invitations and bridesmaids dresses to ceremony readings and centerpieces.

The more I tackle on the to-do list, the more I realize that planning a wedding is a truly a group effort. It takes the help and support of many people: my mother, my wedding party, my future in-laws, and most importantly–my wonderful and amazing partner, Tim.

To keep everyone connected and involved throughout the wedding planning process, I’ve been taking advantage of some great online wedding planning tools. Now, there are a zillion tools out there for digital and social wedding planning. However, I’ve been using three main tools online to help collect, collaborate on, and share ideas with my wedding party.


Pinterest: Shared Inspiration Boards

Most brides are very aware of Pinterest by now. Pinterest calls itself a “virtual pinboard”,  but I like to call it my own social wedding binder. Not only can I find, collect, and organize wedding inspiration via pins and boards, I can also invite my wedding party to view, comment on, and contribute to my boards.

For example, I created a Bridesmaids board with pins of dresses, shoes, and accessories. I invited my Maid of Honor to help contribute to this board, and my other bridesmaids can comment on pins, telling me what they think of various options.

My mom is even on Pinterest! I invited her to help contribute to the Reception board. I love being able to share inspiration and ideas with my wedding party, and in turn collect their input on ideas.

Note: I’m still working on getting my fiance on Pinterest…  :)


Facebook Groups: A Private, Virtual Meeting Spot

When it comes to Facebook groups, most of us think of brands and businesses. However, Facebook groups can also be set to private, so that no one else can see or have access to it–which is great for personal groups.

I have a Facebook group for my bridesmaids, and so far it’s been a great online tool for us. With our busy lives (and one bridesmaid living out-of-state), it gets hard to meet in person on a regular basis. With our Facebook group, we can post pictures, asks questions, or create a poll for everyone to vote on (ex. What color heels do you prefer to wear on the wedding day?).

And since not everyone could make it to go wedding dress shopping with me at the various shops, I uploaded photos of me trying on dresses. It was great to get their feedback and keep them involved in that “classic” wedding experience. (And since it’s private, my fiance can’t see it–very important!)


Google Docs: Collaborative Task Management

While not as visual or “pretty” as Facebook and Pinterest, Google Docs has been a great organization and planning tool for me. Google Docs is where I get down to business with the “Big Three” of wedding planning: budget, guest list, and to-do list.

Since these three are very complex and constantly need to be updated, I’ve found that Google Docs is a great online tool for managing them. And since I can share Google Docs with my fiance and mother, we can all edit and contribute to the documents (even at the same time!).

For example, if a friend recently moved and the address needs to be updated on the guest list, no problem: I can go in and change it. If my mom thinks of another to-do task to add to the list, she can add it herself. We can move things up or down on the list, depending on how priorities change from week to week. And we can add photos to the documents for reference, reminders, etc.


What about you? Do you have any social planning tools that you use to keep your wedding party connected in the planning process? I’d love to hear what works for you!



Rachel for MagnetStreet Weddings