2014 marks a special year for me. It's the year I get married. It's been 18 months since we got engaged and the countdown is well and truly on ahead of the summer wedding.
It might not surprise you to hear that I've enjoyed planning every aspect of our nuptials - from the big decisions like venue, band and finding the dress, right down to the fine little details that'll help make the day personal to us.
As a project manager by day, I've enlisted my usual protocols when it comes to being a wedding planner by night. I have the hardback wedding organiser (complete with little pocket sleeves for storing notes and receipts - of course), a spreadsheet listing our wedding guests, addresses and the seating plan and, don't judge me, but I'm also considering creating a Gantt chart and itinerary for the wedding morning to ensure it all goes to plan.
I've enjoyed the traditional aspect of wedding planning - browsing bridal boutiques to try on gowns and sitting with my feet up flicking through wedding mags with a glass of wine, but I've especially loved making full use of the social media platforms available to help me on my way.
Here's what I've been using on social media:
We decided to have a fairly last minute engagement party so rather than designing formal invites, collating addresses and paying a small fortune for stamps, we decided to do what all the cool kids are doing these days and set-up a private Facebook event. It's a nifty little tool for adding the usual date/time/venue details, uploading a pic and tracking RSVPs. Simples!
If you're a bride-to-be and you're not on Pinterest I suggest you set up an account NOW. I created a board aptly named 'the big day' and it's brilliant for wedding inspiration, searching ideas and, more importantly, storing all the images that you love in one place to refer back to. This proved most beneficial when meeting the florist, cake maker and makeup artist. I made sure to search and 'pin' ideas the night before to show them on my iPad. This made both our lives a little easier, which is never a bad thing. Disclaimer: By introducing you to Pinterest, I do not accept responsibility for trebling the price of your wedding.
Twitter wedding list
I have a wedding list setup on Twitter to filter through the noise and have a stream of wedding updates from specific accounts including my dress designer, photographer, wedding mags and Glasgow Girls wedding guide (brides-to-be, get following, you will not regret it).
I've also set up a 'What's App' group (text messaging service) for my bridesmaids and my mum for us to have random conversations about dress fittings, hair trials and general wedding chit chat. I was secretly hoping it would mean they would share the hen do plans with me, but I'm still working on that one...
Review digital footprints before you book
When I started planning the wedding, I realised very quickly that it's an industry that survives on word of mouth - positive word of mouth that is! We all know that companies add a few extra zeroes onto the price tag when they hear the word "wedding", so it's important to listen to the brides that have been there and done it to find out more about costs, quality, service etc.
Before booking things, have a nosy on Google to browse portfolios, check reviews and read forums. It'll put your mind at ease, and maybe save you a few bob in the process.
And finally, to keep track of the number of days left until the big day, I'd recommend downloading a countdown app. There are a few free options out there for both iPhone and Android and then it's just a matter of watching the days fly past (148 and counting for us).
Right, I'd best get back to that to-do list…