Our Headache-Free Address Collection Method, Plus a Free Google Sheets Template
Lordt. One of the least-exciting tasks on your wedding planning to-do list is just getting ahold of everyone’s mailing addresses so you can send them your save the dates and invites. Gone are the days of everyone keeping a thoroughly-updated physical address book, which makes this whole process a little more labor-intensive. But you’ll be surprised: while it’s 2019, and many apps and websites exist to do this work for you, some of those analog methods might be a better option. If my natal chart (Gemini sun, but heavy on the Capricorn) has anything to say here, it’s that there’s a lot of calming value in keeping this task simple and organized.
After reading up on all the various apps and websites and tips, we ultimately recommend using Google Sheets. First off, if you get a small team of trusted folks to help you with this task (as we recommend), everyone will see live updates to the spreadsheet, making sure you’re not doubling up on work. Secondly, you’ll end up with a neat and organized spreadsheet which can be sent to a printer or calligrapher (if it’s not you doing the envelope addressing yourself). Here’s our well-researched step-by-step guide to getting all those addresses using Google Sheets:
1. Divide and Conquer
Divide up your guest list and assign the segments to different responsible parties: you, your partner, your father, someone in your wedding party, etc. For example, ask a parent to be responsible for collecting addresses of their immediate and extended family, plus their friends; then, have a bridal party member collect addresses of all of the high school friends you want to invite. Dividing the labor will make all of this much more efficient and less stressful on one person.
Since I’ve already gone ahead and made the spreadsheet for the sake of creating this screenshot, I might as well share the template with you, dear reader. Open the link, then click File > Make a Copy to create your own, editable spreadsheet.
To set up your own file in Google Sheets, start your spreadsheet with titled columns. Consider the information you need; you may also want to include a column for pronouns, titles, or email addresses. Now, double click on “Sheet1” on the tab at the bottom of the page and rename it to assign it to someone. Then, click on the arrow to the right of the tab’s new label, and choose Duplicate. Rename this new tab as well to assign it to a different person. Now, when someone acquires an address from a guest, they can add it to their assigned tab, and the formatting will be consistent across all tabs.
2. Fill In What You Know
You probably already have a lot of the information you need at your fingertips. Start by filling in the addresses in your tab with what you already have on hand (memorized addresses, ones you have buried in emails somewhere, etc.). The next step is one of the most efficient ways to collect the bulk of your addresses: reach out to recently-married family or friends. They have probably collected a bunch of the addresses you need in their own spreadsheet which they can simply send to you. Also, if you have access to your parents’ Rolodex from the 1980s that they continue to keep updated through 2019 for some reason, jump on that too. You’ll save so much time with this step!
Now type up a quick message that you can copy/paste in separate messages to guests. You might want to think about when you’ll be sending invitations or save the dates out: some people might be in the middle of a move. Something like “Hey, I’m collecting addresses so I can send out save the dates! Send me yours?” is short and sweet enough for most people. If you have guests who rent or move around a lot you might cover your bases and add “I'm planning to send these out toward the end of July, so let me know if you expect to have a change of address before then!'' A text or email is best for this step.
In Google Sheets, you may want to keep track of who you have asked, in the event you don’t get to all of them in one go. You can change the color of a cell to green (for example) once you’ve asked; anyone not in green hasn’t been asked yet.
What about all those cool apps and websites that are supposed to do this for you?
This blog post wouldn’t be complete without a shoutout to all the apps that exist out there for exactly this purpose. Folks have had great success using Google Forms, Typeform, Postable, and Zola. But the reality is that people are more likely to simply text you back their address really quickly than they are to click on a link and fill out a form. They tend to procrastinate if there is a second step beyond typing their address, and you have to follow up with them by text at some future point anyway. Texting/email and Google Sheets really does seem to be the most efficient way to handle this process right now.
From one person with probably an unhealthy amount of Capricorn in her natal chart to y’all, I hope this has been helpful. I’ll just be over here making spreadsheets about spreadsheets and wishing you an organized and efficient wedding planning process!