You know the essential steps of planning a big event: budgeting, setting a date, etc. One step people tend to overlook, which is just as crucial: collecting addresses for the guests. It might seem like a small step, but it can be frustrating and time-consuming, especially if you keep putting it off until the end.
Most people don’t keep all their friends’ and relatives’ addresses in an address book or on their phones. Instead, they have some addresses in random documents, emails, etc.
Annoying as it is, gathering your loved ones’ addresses is not just crucial for event planning. Once you have them all together, it’ll be easier to send out birthday and holiday cards and anything else. You also won’t need to ask people for their addresses every time you arrange to meet them.
These tips apply to invitations to all official and important events, including weddings.
Get a Head Start
It’s time to get started once your guest list is finalized. While it’s tempting to wait until the last moment, it’s anything but a good idea. You also want to give your prospective guests time to get back to you. That’s why the best option is to start at least a month before you save the dates.
Make sure you’ve fully finalized the list before you ask for addresses. Anyone you ask will want to save the invite and the date of the event.
Are any relatives involved in creating the guest list? Don’t be afraid to delegate some responsibility for collecting addresses, especially for their invitees. In fact, asking loved ones for the addresses of other loved ones and friends of the family is a smart thing to do. You can also try using online tools that make the job easier. This way, you and your relatives can collaborate and add everyone’s contact details to the list, for instance, on Google Docs.
Use a People Finder
You’d be surprised how effective these affordable (and often free) services can be. They are used to search for people online and work by pulling information from vast databases. Type the person’s name, number, or city in the search bar, and it might retrieve a physical address. If not, it will yield other useful information. Eventually, it will help you find what you need.
Use Online Guest Books
Online guest books are another tool that offers an easy way to collect addresses for your wedding or another event. It will do most of the legwork. Online guest books have electronic guest lists. You’ll get a link you can send to your friends and family, where they can enter their latest details, including their addresses. They are then added directly to the online list. These tools help with collecting, but that’s far from it – your tool of choice will organize meal selection, assign tables, arrange RSVPs and let you message guests directly.
Before sending the invites out, check in again. Collecting addresses for invitations is a two-step process. First, you gather them to save the dates. Second, follow up before sending the invites out because someone might have moved in the meantime. You can skip this step if not much time has passed since you mailed your invites and save the dates. If a few months have gone by, it’s a good idea to ask if the contact info is current.
Make It Personal
While it’s not exactly rocket science to send out a mall email asking tens or hundreds of people for their addresses, it’s not the best from the perspective of etiquette. It’s only acceptable when people are in a rush. It’s best to personalize your outreach. Special events like these don’t happen all that often. If you give your planning time, as experts suggest, send personalized emails to ask people for their mailing addresses. It’s also an excellent way to catch up with family and friends, especially those you might not have talked to in some time. They will appreciate that you thought of them.
You’re also far likelier to get a fast response by asking each guest directly instead of by mass email. Some people might even mark it as spam when they see how many others it was sent to.
Email shouldn’t be the only way you reach out. You could add a note on your event site, if you have one, reminding loved ones to send their current address.
On a final note, where etiquette is concerned, don’t ask prospective guests to send their addresses on social media unless you invite all of your friends there.