It was a short, bumpy road.
by The Husband
The CEO and I were engaged one year ago today, on Bastille Day of 2012 (July 14th), and decided we’d marry in the fall, in the lovely town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. November 10, as it happens. So in the best of circumstances, we had a hair less than 4 months to make it happen; as of this writing, that’s 8 months ago.
Neither of us had been married before, so though we had been to plenty of weddings, we didn’t really know what we were getting into, except in theory. Which is a fascinating thing about weddings: You think you know, but you don’t, and that’s common to every single first-time marriage out there. But it’s the nature of weddings.
We did the usual – read everything we could, both on- and offline, talked to people, signed up for trials of various sites and apps, and got down to it. We had a site up in a few days (fortunately for us we have a Web development company) and emailed out save-the-dates. Within 2 or 3 weeks we’d found a fabulous hotel with a world-class chef – the deal included a planner as well as rooms at the hotel. Everything seemed to be going swimmingly, and we started the contract negotiations with the hotel.
The Sierra Nevada is owned by the Orient-Express British hotel chain, which we figured would be in our favor. Wrong. What it meant was that every decision needed to be vetted by London, so each time we asked a question we had to wait several days to a week for an answer. After 3 weeks of this (and other issues) we said screw it, and moved on. So we asked my mom to be our planner.
You can see where this is going.
To make a long story short, we transferred mom to the Flower Girl Wardrobe Department, and opted to do it ourselves with the help of a planner (who actually was excited by the prospect of a local wedding – most of her clients were out-of-towners – AND her first ever African wedding since my now-wife is Nigerian).
So here we were, less than 3 months out with little done, full-time jobs, and a destination wedding to plan.
As I mentioned before, we’d sampled a number of wedding planning sites and apps, and were pretty discouraged. The ones we actually liked were the ones that did only one thing. But with everything on our plates, we didn’t want to be using 16 different apps to manage things, especially if it meant having to re-enter our guests info in half of them.
Fortunately for us, we build this kind of thing for a living, so we just started building things as we needed them, how we wanted them.
We never had any thought to develop it beyond what we needed for our own wedding. And we’re glad of it – you can’t plan for that kind of product.
First we built a way to manage all of the parties we were thinking about inviting. Like, Queen Elizabeth + retinue, that sort of thing. Auntie Adeyemi + 16. Then we built ways to plan each of the events, and who would be invited to each, where they would sit and what they’d eat. When people would fly in, what B & B’s they would stay at, and so on. We pretty well built out everything we needed because that’s what we wanted – ONE place for EVERYTHING.
And it worked like a charm. We were able to print out guest lists and seating charts for the caterer, manage everybody’s travel details, send mass emails and even thank-you letters. We had an amazingly stress-free, incredible, joyous wedding in no small part because we knew everything was covered, and afterwards we flew off into the sunset for a honeymoon we’ll always cherish the memory of.
It was a month or so after we returned and had sent out all of our thank you notes, that we realized how much the system we’d built had simplified our wedding planning, and how easy everything had been (family drama aside, of course – what would a wedding be without family drama? But you can read about THAT at the Thriving Bride blog). It was then we decided to bring our creation to a waiting world. And we can’t wait to see what happens with our little startup baby!