How to plan your whole wedding online, Laughing Chefs caterers blog

Planning a wedding is a big deal, and can be a time-consuming process. Especially if you want to do it yourself. With full-time jobs and other time constraints, not to mention other surprises that life throws at us (Covid19 anyone?) it might happen that you are forced to go online. Luckily, in today’s day and age social distancing doesn’t mean technological distancing. We are more connected than ever, and that makes it possible for you to plan your entire wedding from the comfort of your couch (or bed). With or without a glass of wine!

Whether you have been forced by circumstances, or you just prefer working at odd hours, or the thought of doing all of this with real-life people leaves you breaking out into a cold sweat, then this is the guide you have been waiting for. Planning your wedding online has never been easier! Here are our links, tips, and must-have sites (in no specific order):

Invitations and stationery

Whether you want to send paper invites or go for the more modern digital alternative, there is a site for that. A list of stationery that you (might) need includes Save-the-dates, invitations, programs, menus, table seating chart, name cards for table placement, thanks you’s, and more. If you want to keep your save-the-dates and invitations, as well as the thank you’s digital, your options include sites such as Lily Young (also does printed stationery), My Wedding Online (they have custom-packages that includes a wedding invitation website, as well as other services such as playlist recommendations and a guest planner) and Gray Solutions who also offer Whatsapp invitations. Pistachio Designs offer the full spectrum, from table numbers to name cards, thank you cards and even wine bottle tag designs. If you are particularly creative, and a bit tech-savvy, you can design your own invites using Canva, then print them yourselves at your local printer.

Venue search

Finding and contacting the venues you love is off course an option. Any venue worth their stars should be able to send you a customised quote, as well as a document explaining their costs, added services, and more. If you are unsure off what to ask, download our Questions to ask your potential wedding venue below. There are also online services such as Our-Venue (the site gives you an estimated quote based on the info you supply, meaning you can shortlist venues even before you need to reach out to them), SA Venues, and Leading Venues (we find this website a bit non-user friendly, but still worth it to try and figure out how to navigate it). But a word of caution – most of these sites only list the bigger and more well-known venues. If you are looking for something different, those hidden gems, new venues or good-but-older ones, then it is best to make Google your friend.

The venues that we love working at:

Colour coordination

If you want a seamlessly effortless look, then choosing coordinating colours is the way to go. Saw a colour that you just loved, but not sure what the name let alone the Hex code is? Then MyPantone is your best bet. You take a photo of the colour in question, then Pantone will give you the closest colour it has together with the code. Unfortunately, this is not a free service, but one that can be very helpful. Our favourite? Coolors.co – you upload a photo that you love, and it pulls out a colour palette. You can then work out your colour scheme from there.

An example of how Coolors works

Registry for gifts

Here your options are almost endless. From bespoke small businesses to bigger ones, there is a myriad of places that you can register an online registry. If you do choose a few different online (or even brick and mortar) businesses, we would highly recommend also getting a wedding website so that you can have all the links and other info in one place. This makes it easier for your guests to actually buy what you and your partner want. A few of our favourites include YuppieChef, Bespoke, Wrapistry, and GiftTree.

Wedding website

We have already touched on this with the stationery – many of the service providers who do online invites etc. also offers wedding websites. But if you want something more specialised, we recommend Appy Couple – you pay a once-off fee and then have full use of a beautiful website. And for a local service, try Say I Do.

Bridesmaid dresses

If you are planning on having a bridal party who might be scattered across the city/country/world, then opting for an online option is basically your only option. Locally we have Gelique, who offers online shopping as well as branches across SA, and The Maiden offers custom-made dresses, made to order. For more wide-reaching options, look at Victoria’s Queen or Bonnyin.

Groom’s attire

Although a bit more tricky, not entirely impossible. EuroSuit offers an online service, and through them, you can kit out your groom as well as his entire bridal party.

Catering

Of course, you won’t be able to taste the food, but between their websites and recommendations on Google and Facebook, you will get a good idea of which caterers are worth looking into, and which to steer clear off. Contact those on your shortlist, give them your specifications and get their proposed menus as well as cost breakdown. Not sure what to ask or how to approach this? Download our Questions to ask your potential caterer here, as well as what info to give your prospective caterer for an accurate quote.

Flowers

You can get a big headstart online, then book a telephone call with your shortlist of florists to finalise the details. Should you want a table mockup, that will, unfortunately, have to be in person. But up to that point, there is no real need to see each other! Visit Floom for an online budget calculator, as well as a digital “check my date” or Bliss Floral Creations for personalised service. Other florists that you can check out include Oopsie Daisy, Jeweled Florist, and The Bloom Room.

Decor

Ginger Ray offers decor items such as bunting, candy buffet set up, guest books and more, and through SA Wedding Decor you can get almost everything, from charger plates to chairs. All of these items can be viewed online, then booked and paid for. Wedding Party is another one-stop-shop for most of your decor hiring or buying needs. Belle Doux offers stylish decor such as candelabra, linen, and more.

Budget

The all-important BUDGET. To keep track of your expenses, and reel you in money-wise, download an app to make life easier. Hitched has an easy-to-use one, as does The Knot.

The DRESS, as well as accessories

Our absolute favourite wedding dress service provider in the whole of South Africa has to be Whimsical Bridal – they have the most gorgeous dresses, at the best prices. For pre-loved dresses, have a look at Vintage Lace. And Coco Melody offers a completely online solution. Little Lace offers a wide variety of bridal accessories, including sashes, hairpins, etc.

Photographer

Again, Google will be your best friend. Choosing a photographer is such a personal and important decision. You need to pick someone whom you feel 100% comfortable with. Remember, they will be spending the whole day with you, and probably see you in a few compromising situations… If you don’t already have your dream photographer, or the venue didn’t recommend one, Google local photographers in the area where you will be getting married (remember you most likely will pay their transport). Our recommendation? Santie Korf Photography!

Wedding planning tools

There are awesome apps out there, but the ones we recommend include Hitched, Bride Control and Appy Ever After. Of course, you can also use our handy timeline (download it below). And pushed for time? Here is our guide on how to plan a wedding in 21 days flat!

Bachelorette and Kitchen tea essentials

From printed bags to personalized T-shirts, you can get most of these items online. Visit Blooming Wonderful for shirts, cake toppers, tags, and cards, or Love and Sparkles for an even greater selection. If you are looking for the perfect way to ask your closest friends or family to be part of your special day, you can order a “will you be my bridesmaid” gift box from various online shops, including A life lead simply, Pink Cosmetics, and Box Boutique.

Wow! That was a post and a half. Of course, there are a lot more we can say, but once you have done the above, you have covered most of the basics. Best of luck, and remember – enjoy the process!

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