This post is part of our semi-regular How To Series.
As regular readers know, Jay and I are engaged to be married and I am the project manager for this exciting event. Planning our wedding has given me an opportunity to find creative ways to get organized and save money. For both of those reasons, Google Documents are my essential allies in wedding planning.
Above is the finished example of the kind of free, nice looking online RSVP that you can create using a Google Form. Below I will show you how to create one step by step.
1) In order to create a Google form you first need a free Google account. If you use Gmail for email, you already have a Google account. If not, just start at http://www.google.com, click “sign in” and then “sign up”.
2) To start the form, sign into your Google Account and go to the Google Documents home page (click on “documents” on the upper task bar). Once in Google Documents, click on the red “Create” button, and then click on “Form”. That will bring you to the screen shown below.
3) An online RSVP is basically an online form or survey. You will need to think ahead of time about what you want to ask your invitees and how you want to ask it. Typical questions to include, “Will you be able to attend”, “Name of guests attending”, and “Do you have any severe food allergies we should be aware of?”. For each question you can choose between different types of answers, such as “text” or “checkboxes”. I used checkboxes for guests to mark yes or no for attending (see below).
4) For each question you can also choose whether or not it will be required. Required questions will show up on your form with a red asterisk and the guest will not be able to proceed until they answer the question. Sometimes it is helpful to offer the “other” option on a multiple choice question if the question is required. This allows for any scenarios you may not have anticipated (such as yes I can come, but only for 30 minutes, or I would really like to come but will not know until the day before).
5) In order to edit a question, click on the pencil icon in the right hand corner of the question box. In order to add a new question, click on “Add item” and select the type of question you need to add. When you are done editing each question, just click “done” and it will go from highlighted to white. You can always go back and edit or delete a question after you have added it.
6) Now comes the fun part. In order to make your online RSVP nice looking, you can choose from over 60 “Themes” that are already in Google Forms. Just click on the “Theme” button, next to “Add Item”. For my RSVP I chose a very formal classic wedding theme, but they have a ton of different themes to choose from.
7) By clicking on the theme it will generate a preview of your form in that theme (shown above). If you don’t like the look, just click “cancel” and try another one. If you love it, click “apply” and it will take you back to your form editing page.
8) When you are done with creating your form, just close out the window to go back to your list of Google Documents. You will see the name of your form at the top of your list of documents. Click on the form and it will bring you to a spreadsheet like the one below.
9) The spreadsheet is the tracking document for your form. Whenever someone uses your form to RSVP, their responses will show up in this spreadsheet, including a timestamp of when they responded. This is one of the best things about Google Forms since you can quickly and easily access the RSVPs and then you can even download the spreadsheet into Microsoft Excel or another data program to manage the list and create mail merges for name tags or thank you notes.
10) In order to actually see your completed form and get the link to send out, click on “Form” and then “Go to Live Form” (from the spreadsheet screen above). This will bring you to your form online (shown below). You can then copy and paste the URL/web address for the form to send to your guests. Of course, I would recommend creating a hyperlink if you are sending the link by email (LIKE THIS) or even creating a Custom URL through a link shortening site such as bit.ly if you will be writing the link on a paper invite. If you have questions about that, please let me know in the comments.
And that’s it! This process only takes a few minutes once you get the hang of it. There are lots of additional tweaks and tips that you can use to enhance your forms, so I encourage you to experiment. It’s free and easy and if you are a bride or groom to be this may be one big step on the way to wedding Zen!