I absolutely love the Muppets. In fact, when I was a kid I used to pretend that Scooter was my boyfriend and we were going to get married. (Don’t tell Scooter, but I think I’ve traded up.)
But I digress. The reason I brought up the muppets was to show a great example of collaboration, something my wedding has a lot of since I am trying to involve family (and friends) as much as possible. And since I am planning a midwest wedding from California, I have the extra challenge of long-distance collaboration. Even if you are planning a local affair, there are a few tools we are using which you might find useful as well!
1. Google Docs: This is a free web-based service offered by google that allows users to create, edit and share documents online. The documents are secure and accessible by only those that you grant access to. And, you don’t need a gmail account to use google docs….although, you do need to set up a google account to store / create your own documents. After you set up your account, you can “invite” people to view or edit documents and they do NOT need gmail OR google accounts. (Confusing? Trust me, it sounds more confusing than it is.) The best thing about google docs? It is a REAL-TIME collaboration system. That means, I can log-in at the same time as my sister, and we can both edit a document simultaneously.
I’ll give you an example of this real-time stuff: This past Sunday, Mr.A and I were working on our guest list. Instead of crowding around one computer to look at the guest list spreadsheet and arguing about who gets to “drive” the mouse and keyboard, we were each sitting at our own desks viewing the same spreadsheet on google docs. Mr.A made changes to his guests on the list while I made changes to mine: brilliant!
But wait! There’s more! (lol) Google docs has a AWESOME and FREE suite of wedding planning templates, created by Style Me Pretty. You can find these tools (and a cool video explaining their use) here. Once you start using these templates, you can save them online and they will be accessible anywhere! You can also download them to your computer hard drive as excel files.
2. Dropbox: I know quite a few people who have recently drunk the “dropbox koolaid”. Dropbox is a easy file sharing service but unlike google docs it does NOT allow you to create or edit things online. You simply share files.
So, why use it? Well, dropbox may only do file sharing but it does that really, REALLY well. It is a seamless and fast process. Here is how it works:
“Put your files into your Dropbox on one computer, and they’ll be instantly available on any of your other computers that also have Dropbox installed (Windows, Mac, and Linux too!). Because copies of your files are stored on Dropbox’s secure servers, you can also access them from any computer or mobile device using the Dropbox website.”
And, let me give you an example of dropbox in use: Remember the DIY tutorial from earlier this week? My sister Alyssa took all the photos for the tutorial. Instead of emailing all of the photos to me or going through the (relatively) slow process of uploading them to google docs or flickr, she simply dragged the files into her “family” dropbox folder on her desktop. The files were instantly added to the online “family” dropbox folder and available for me to use.
3. Wallwisher: I *just* found out about this tool, but I can already envision a bunch of uses for it. Basically, wallwisher.com is an online bulletin board maker that uses a “post-it note” system of note taking. No registration is required to use the system, although if you do register you can set a wall to be “private”. But enough of me “talking”- try it out for yourself! Click on the photo below to go to wallwisher.
3. Facebook: I know, some people be hating on the facebook. I’m not one of them. 😉 To see how I use FB as a collaboration tool, let me show you a few of my recent posts:
For those non-Wisco folks, ‘Rock n’ Roll To Go’ is a popular DJ company in Wisconsin. And while I had searched the web for reviews of the company, I really didn’t find any helpful feedback. Posting a request for info on FB was soo helpful- not only did I get good reviews, but I got those reviews from people I know and trust. (BTW, less you think I didn’t get thattt much feedback, I also received a few private FB messages that you can’t see above.)
There you have it! Those are just three of the tools I am using for this wedding planning nonsense. Have you ever used the tools I mentioned? What other tools do you find useful in your planning?