As the world becomes more connected, technology has increasingly become a part of everyday life. The wedding industry is no exception to this with engaged couples seamlessly integrating technology into the wedding planning process ranging from wedding venue search right through to sharing photos of the big day . Destination couples are especially tech-oriented, as planning from a distance is no longer a chore, thanks to the Internet.
We spoke to Laura & Espen who went digital to plan their destination wedding in Kenya and found out exactly how they utilised the internet’s endless options to co-ordinate their guests from all over the world to join them for their special day.
The Invites –
Our guests came from all corners of the world so traditional methods of sending invitations in the mail or in person was not possible. We sent out e-invites to all our guests using Mailchimp which allowed us to track who had received the invites and manage the RSVPs. It also gave us the insight as to who had not received the invites which prompted us to follow these up with personal contact, this was especially relevant for our older guests and gave us reassurance that all our guests had been contacted.
Mailchimp allowed us to create our own design for the e-invites which was great fun to do together and set the scene for the style of the wedding as a whole! They were fairly basic with information, the main aim was to direct our guests to our wedding website – built on Squarespace, as this was where we had all the accommodation, ceremony details and other practical logistics.
The Website –
As over half of the guests were travelling from Europe and the Americas we felt we needed an online platform that allowed us to input all of the practical details people needed in one place but it also allowed us to give all our guests insight into our story of how we met and our lives together so far. The website was really simple to set up and allowed us to include photos to give it a personal touch which was important for us.
We decided to get married in Nairobi as this is where Laura grew up, we knew this would be a long trip for many of our guests so we wanted to make it a trip of a lifetime and Laura was really passionate about showing off the beauty of Kenya as a holiday destination. We had a group safari planned before the wedding and a trip to a serviced villa in the enchanting Lamu archipelago after the wedding, so we needed a really practical way of sharing plans, travel advice, accommodation options and information to all guests and to help them with logistics and travel arrangements to make it as easy and stress free as possible.
The website allowed guests to opt in to safari and beach holiday plans as they wished and to have all that information online to access when they were ready to plan their travels was the beauty of this platform!!
Many of our guests complimented us on the website as it was so easy to navigate and we had very few follow up questions so it really did make the planning process a lot less stress free!
Whatsapp & Social –
As security can be a concern for first time travellers to the region we ensured all guests were aware of good Uber drivers and created Whatsapp groups to share taxi numbers and ensure all airport pick-up and drop-offs were coordinated. This proved very successful and reassured our guests that plans were in place for them when arriving at the airport.
Whatsapp and social media was also great way for our friends and families to connect with each other both whilst there at the time and also afterwards as great friendships were formed! Instagram was also a great way for everyone to document and share photos of the wedding and the safari and beach holiday!
Honeymoon Fund –
For gifts we set up a personalised site on Honeyfund.com so guests didn’t have to travel with gifts and could contribute to our honeymoon budget. Instead of using the money for our honeymoon we made a donation to Hand in Hand for Syria. We had travelled so much in the process of the weddings it was a little excessive to go on a honeymoon too!
The Honeyfund.com was easy to setup – but it did make the whole gesture of gift giving very impersonal. It was hugely practical in terms of currency differences and handling money more simply through paypal but we did feel that it removed the personal element.
From the initial planning to the big day itself, technology has made the destination wedding adventure even more of a personal experience. Taking away the stress and uncertainty from the couple themselves and also supporting the guests planning the trip, we can only assume there are going to be more and more options available to the newly engaged couples out there planning their special day!