Planning a wedding is right up there with moving and job hunting as one of the most stressful things you’ll do in life. I would know. I’m getting married in 10 days.
Both sites – and the many, many other mostly free wedding planning platforms out there – aim to help you organize a smooth event by including a picture gallery, guest list manager, link to where you are registered, your love story and information on the event itself.
Joy does all that, but also incorporates an assistant to help you navigate, provides customizable designs, an app for updating info and tools for handling the real life event such as the ability for guests to upload their photos as they take them and share on a big screen during the reception.
Joy co-founder Vishal Joshi got married nearly a decade ago when wedding sites weren’t really a thing just yet. The idea for Joy came to him while he was working at Microsoft. His friend (and now co-founder) Michael Bach’s sister was getting married and vented her frustration at the process. Then they roped in Kaiwalya Kher (who was at Adobe at the time) to help them and soon started thinking of the site as a social connection platform for all your guests.
“We can actually send a push notification to your entire guest list the day that you are getting married,” Joshi told TechCrunch.
That would be helpful. Getting people to RSVP has been a challenge and if you’ve ever planned a big event you’ll know vendors want to know how many guests you’re going to have so they can provide enough food and drink and have enough staff on hand to handle it all. Sending out a push notification to those who have not RSVP’d or to remind all those coming to the event when and where to go, parking info and all that would be fantastic and something TheKnot.com doesn’t do.
Guest list management also isn’t easy on any of the platforms I’ve tested and is one thing Joshi says is actually a very complicated problem. He says he’s intensely focused on fixing that issue on his own platform in the next month and a half.
“The space you are talking about it has been an impossible problem for everybody,” said Joshi. He told me his system will use something similar to Slack’s magic link to sign in and handle the guest list.
TheKnot.com handles the list by giving you a choice to lock or leave the guest list manager open. if you don’t lock the system anyone can invite themselves to any event, even if they are not on your guest list and just came upon your site. Obviously, that’s a nightmare for any bride and groom who don’t want randoms just showing up to private events where not every guest was asked to participate.
However, the problem becomes more complicated when you lock your invite system on the site. That forces everyone to RSVP using their first and last name exactly as you typed it on their invitation. But that proved to be confusing to many of my parents’ older friends. People tried to do all sorts of things like add their name with their spouse’s name, use their nickname, add them and their kids all on one RSVP, not hyphenate their name when they usually do hyphenate. The whole thing so far has proved to be a mess and we’ve had to send step-by-step instructions or add people manually.
So hopefully Joy figures that one out.
It won’t order the flowers, tailor your dress, get the right bartending service or handle reception management for you like an IRL wedding planner might, but after trying it out I can say the UI is slick, the live slideshow is a nice touch and Joshi joked that his platform is a bit like an intelligent bridesmaid telling you to bring an umbrella if it’s going to rain.
“Joy understands the context,” Joshi said. “You will not see her but she’ll be there.”