Wedocrats Have More Fun

Have you heard there’s a new way to plan your wedding focusing on helping couples stress less and enjoy the big day? Welcome to wedocracy, the private collaborative social network, for wedding planning. We are launching our beta site in two days. Yes, that’s this Sunday, which will also be our one year wedding anniversary.

If you are an engaged couple, planner or vendor who wants to get a fabulous wedding website to show off and great online tools to collaboratively manage every detail with everyone and anyone who’s helping you plan, join!

70% RSVPs in 24 Hours!

You can’t really do anything concrete until you know how many people are confirmed for your wedding. You can’t commit to the caterer, who can’t commit to their vendors; you can’t figure out what size dance floor you might need (and therefore how much you will need to pay for it), you can’t build your seating charts the final, or close to final guest list determines so many things. SO many decisions depend on it.

Our first beta test couple to send out their electronic invites got a more than 70% RSVP rate from the parties they sent to – within 24 hours! And by response we mean, 47 of the 67 parties who received the emails (a party is multiple people, for example a family) registered on wedOcracy, AND clicked to say “Yes we will attend,” “No, we can’t,” or “Unsure” (in this case, all but one are attending, one is unsure as of today…).

We believe that’s pretty amazing, especially since getting people to RSVP is one of the biggest pain points we had as a couple.

So, we’ve got big smiles on our faces today. Just saying.

Honorary Wedocrats: Kristin Perry & Sandra Stier

They are truly the couple, or one of the two couples, of the moment, together with their co-plaintiffs Jeffrey Zarrillo and Paul Katami, for challenging the legality of Proposition 8, the reprehensible so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.” What more is there to say about this momentous federal decision that hasn’t already been said? Congratulations to the plaintiffs, and a big thanks to them for fighting the good fight so we may all benefit. Everybody must be free to marry who they love.

Honorary Wedocrats: Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt

It’s not news that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie promised not to marry until all Americans had the right to marry. We admire them for using their celebrity – as well as making huge donations to marriage equality organizations – to bring attention to the injustice of marriage laws in the United States. We consider them to be wedocrats in the sense that they believe in and have fought for gay American marriage rights when they don’t have to – they have worldwide visibility, and used it to fight for justice, putting the rights of others ahead of their own freedom to marry because they understood they were in a position to help. We salute you, Angelina and Brad, and wish you well in your own long-awaited union.

 

 

 

 

What It Means To Be An Honorary WedOcrat

We created wedOcracy as an engaged couple who wanted to give couples and their guests enjoyable and useful tools to solve a serious problem: the stress involved in wedding planning.

Why are we turning this into a public enterprise? Well, because we used the app to plan our own wedding. And trust me when I say we had our share of challenges, plenty of which would make any engaged couple feel stressed and overwhelmed.

I will write about that in another blog post. Or, if you are so eager and want to know more about our wedding journey, check out the Thriving Bride Archive, my bridal blog written during our engagement, at www.thrivingblog.com.

For now, let me just say that the hope behind our startup is to bring joy back to wedding planning. If we have the right to choose who to marry, we should also have the right (and the help) to choose joy in marrying that person.

So, in honor of launching our new website and reaching 100 followers on twitter, we are honoring wedocrats who have come before us and paved the way for us to have the wedding we wanted.

To us, a wedocrat is someone who has the courage to choose joy in planning their wedding despite the odds. And so, here’s to Mildred & Richard Loving, the first of our Honorary WedOcrats.

Mildred Jeter & Richard Loving

The Lovings earned this title because they had the courage to choose each other and their love instead of the hate and violence that surrounded them. Like us, they were an interracial couple, but they got married in 1958, when mixed marriages were illegal in their home state of Virginia. After driving to Washington, D.C. for their wedding, the Lovings were arrested and thrown in jail on their wedding night when they returned home. Despite the odds, Mildred & Richard chose love over hate and ended up taking their case all the way to the Supreme court, thus being part of the landmark case of Loving v. Virginia, which ended all laws banning interracial marriage in the United States. Thanks to them, our wedding was possible!

Who better than this to be our first Honorary Wedocrats?

Laying The Groundwork for WedOcracy

Before we even knew what it meant to us, we were planning a wedocracy. What does this mean? Well, a wedocracy is couples and guests joining together to make wedding planning fun. And that’s our app, but the philosophy behind it started when we got engaged.

On July 14th, 2012 (Bastille Day!), my now husband asked me to marry him. And, we started thinking about how we wanted to experience the planning as well as the day itself.

Early on, we established a few guidelines. If it did not add to our happiness, we would not do it. And, if it was necessary but added stress to our lives, we would figure out how we could get the most out of the experience and enjoy it.

And so we began.

The mission:

Throw an event with 130 guests from several different countries to witness and celebrate our cross-cultural extravaganza while maintaining the joy and excitement we experienced when we got engaged.

The challenge:

Blending together our mixed heritage in a way that honored our desires, the wishes of our families and our respective cultures and our desire to enjoy every moment of it.

The solution:

Whenever possible, choose joy. Actually, this was our mantra.

The strategy:

If we need help, ask for it. This meant involving our community in a way that felt helpful to us.

How it played out:

When we cancelled our ideal wedding venue due to their disorganization, we did not panic. It was disappointing and challenging, but we knew that their lack of organization would cause more stress and that we would regret the decision to stick with them, so we moved on.

Part of choosing joy was about rallying our wedding posse, which was our friends and family. We spread the word and let everyone know we were looking for a venue. And then, one night while I was talking to one of my bridesmaids, she mentioned a venue that I should consider.

I called them the next day and within a week we had a new venue.

And when my traditional African parents insisted on certain traditions, I chose the ones that felt important to me and let go of the rest. It was very meaningful for us to include that part of my background, but it was our wedding and it was important that it represented us and the traditions that had significance for us. We did not decide to do things just because they were expected or proscribed, and yet our big fat Nigerian/American/Jewish/Mexican wedding was so fun and memorable for everyone.

The thing is, it is not always easy to choose joy when planning a wedding but it is this choice that will set the tone for how things will go.

So, choose joy by asking yourself this: If I do this, will I look back and regret it. If you think you will, see if you can find the courage to do things differently. After all, while you are your mother’s daughter, it’s not your mother’s wedding.

The wedOcracy Mission

This is a call to Wedocracy – nuptials of the people, by the people, for the people.

We want nothing less than to reform the contemporary concept of what weddings have to be, and replace it with what people want it to be.

We want to empower people with the resources and tools to do just that.

Don’t get us wrong – we had our traditional nuptials. But we had them our way, and nobody else’s. Because we were the ones marrying. And, despite the odds, it was the most happy, beautiful day and evening either of us could imagine.

How We Came Up With wedOcracy and Why

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.

Part 2

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!