Wedding Guest RSVPs… it’s all a bit chaotic isn’t it? Some go missing, some don’t reply. What to do? Well here’s an amazing solution, it’s called “Be Our Guest” and it’s an amazing App from our friends over in Dublin. This is going to blow your mind!
Listen to Laura & Colin on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…
Laura Cavanagh & Colin Vaughan, Be Our Guest App
James [00:00:05] Hi guys. Thank you so much for joining me.
Colin [00:00:08] Pleasure to be here.
Laura [00:00:10] Glad to be here.
James [00:00:11] Awesome, welcome, a massive welcome to Wedding Espresso. So you guys are Laura Cavanagh and Colin Vaughan and you’ve created an awesome Wedding App, which I really, really want to talk to you about. Now it’s called “Be Our Guest” and the topic I really want to discuss today is
“Goodbye Missing Wedding Guests RSVPs”. Because I think it’s something that plagues brides and grooms everywhere.
It must be all over the world. You know you send out the RSVPs and you don’t hear back from people, and it drives people nuts. So I think not only are you kind of really challenging that, and you’ve created something that’s going to kind of really, really change the dynamic there. But also I love the fact that it plugs into the idea of eco friendly weddings. Which is something that we’ve been looking at in great detail recently. I think there are a lot of people who are becoming more and more concerned about the planet and the environment and they’re looking for ways to reduce where possible. So do you want to give me an overview about the App, all the features and what it does and how it works?
Laura [00:01:19] Sure.
Colin [00:01:21] You go ahead.
It’s a paperless digital experience for every stage in the wedding journey.
So it’s a digital platform where a couple get their own app, which they can then use to customise an app which each guest receives.
James [00:01:39] OK.
Laura [00:01:40] How it works is the couple download the app and they add their guests. They can import their guests from the CSV file or they can add them individually.
James [00:01:50] Right.
Laura [00:01:50] And they can manage their guests and put them into groups as well. Then personalise the experience of different guests based on the group.
They send their guests an invitation, a save the date via email.
And that’s linked to the theme that the couple chooses. So it looks like a save the date. The guest then uses that email with the link to download the app. They have their own secure log in. Their information, the guest information and the couple information is all encrypted. So it’s all kept secure.
James [00:02:25] Cool!
Laura [00:02:25] And the guest can then look at information on the wedding such as a wedding countdown letting them know the date and the time. And a blog by the couple as well called their couple’s story.
James [00:02:39] Wow love it, right!
Laura [00:02:41] A microblog about their experiences during the wedding journey. And then they can RSVP. So the guests can go in and they have an RSVP card for everyone in their party. The idea behind that is if there is a family and they might not all say be tech savvy. They might not all want to use a smartphone. But they can have one RSVP group together. So they can all RSVP from the same instance of the app on the same phone.
It also lets people know how many invitations are out as well, how many people are invited to the wedding. Whether like you know children are invited or so on.
James [00:03:18] OK yeah.
Laura [00:03:18] So when the guest gets the app the couple are notified immediately with a push notification. And then when they RSVP through the app the couple are again notified. The RSVP process itself is very simple. So the guest gets the RSVP card screen. They can enter any dietary needs they want and then they just click a button to send it. And if they want to change it in the future, they can go in and they can edit it. And again the couple are updated, so they can have more relevant information. So later on, if there’s like say, you know, if there’s a change to dietary needs or someone decides that they’re going after all and they didn’t think they could go, then they can just let everybody know.
Laura [00:04:03] And then in terms of the other features that we have, just for the whole kind of wedding experience. We have things like a gift list. We have suggestions. Things like accommodation and transport suggestions and information, just on stuff like parking and transport to the wedding.
And then we also have suggestions like suggest a song, or like a couple hash tag, or like a signature cocktail.
Things like that kind of personalised things.
James [00:04:38] Really nice!
Laura [00:04:38] And then we have the other part of it then is that our themes are all based on our own artwork. So we want to kind of have a digital experience for people but we didn’t want them to feel like they’re missing out. I think the thing about wedding stationery that everybody loves is the fact that someone has sat down and actually painted a picture.
James [00:05:01] Completely yes it’s all in the design and the bespoke customisation. Yeah
Laura [00:05:06] Exactly. And so we actually do our own and in-house art. We actually draw and paint. We paint acrylic and watercolours. So we decided we may as well combine those skills. So what we do is we take our own artwork and we take digital copy of that and we turn that into our themes. And we’ll also be offering bespoke designs as well for people. So they can have that kind of wedding stationery sort of experience. That sense that someone has sat down and made this. You know with sort of the digital kind of element of it. Is there anything I’ve left out there?
Colin [00:05:46] No I mean it is a product that’s kind of constantly evolving. You know new features coming in.
We’ve got plenty of features lined up for the future.
There’ll be things like chat sharing, photo sharing, video sharing. Just within the group, their wedding party group, and all that. And we’ve got lots of games which we are going to be introduced into the app as well. So we have a lot of features that we’re constantly working on. So constantly improving. So I suppose it’s like a journey really for us as well. Like the bride and groom, or the couple getting married like, you know kind of where we’re constantly updating and constantly improving. So I mean it did originally come from the idea of trying to replace paper invitation medium. And basically from a green eco friendly environment point of view. But we have kind of gone on from there to kind of offer a lot more than just stationery in our product.
James [00:06:40] You go for it Laura.
Laura [00:06:42] Just one thing I remembered when you’re going through the list is events. That’s one thing we do. And it’s kind of designed around all weddings, but especially for destination weddings.
The couple can list different wedding events
and for each event they can list a venue and they can also specify a particular guest group. So when the guests get their list of events, they can see each event on a full map screen and they can see the event details. But they’ll only see the events that they’re invited to. So you know, they can kind of tailor that to everyone.
James [00:07:14] Brilliant. So you can have a more intimate event for close family members without upsetting everybody. So guys my head’s spinning. It’s brilliant. It’s just so, so intense. I think
if you said to anybody oh you know we have like a wedding planning app or something, they’re expecting kind of like a layer of excitement.
But you’ve gone so many layers deeper. You’ve thought of everything. I’m really, really, really impressed. I’m really excited about it. So how did it all come about. I know you mentioned that you know you wanted to sort of create this eco option. That was where it started with the paperless idea. Were there any other inspirations for it? Did you get any other ideas from anywhere else?
Colin [00:07:54] It was actually just kind of talking to friends and say family and people who got married in the past, and it was like you touched on earlier about the missing invitations and RSVPs. Laura’s been married and she had that kind of problem where people up to the day of the wedding, she still didn’t know if they were going or not. So we were trying to marry two things you know in kind of in terms of trying to reduce wastage basically. And also have people kind of control their experience of getting invitations and the RSVPS all done and sorted before the actual wedding day. So that’s kind of the genesis of where it came from.
Laura [00:08:32] I think the idea I suppose to reduce stress as much as possible. And especially I think there’s a lot of stress around RSVPs because there is that sense of waiting and you’re not really yourself when you’re waiting. And especially because you may also have RSVPs that go missing. So you have a miscommunication very easily.
Invitations can go missing as well. And then there’s also the seating plan and all that.
Because another feature we have is the seating plan. It’s going to be released in October. But our idea is that basically you can share it with the venue in real time. So if someone does actually change their dietary requirements, the seating will update to say that and the venue will see it. Because I think that’s one of the most stressful parts, is trying to get organised, you’re trying to give your seating plan to the venue. And then you might have five cancellations.
James [00:09:25] Yes absolutely!
Laura [00:09:25] And then someone has forgotten to say that they have some dietary needs as well, or they’ve just found out as well if they have an allergy. And they’ve only just found out about it. So there’s going to be changes. And so I think it’s those last minute changes that really up the stress levels. Because you know, you already have enough to do.
James [00:09:44] Absolutely!
Laura [00:09:45] Without having this! So anything we can do to make it easier, that’s kind of like our goal is I suppose
to be eco friendly as possible, really reduce paper.
And then also just to give this kind of tip to reduce stress levels. And then just to give the shared experience as well. So that’s what we’re with the ceremony screen as well to replace paper ceremony leaflets. And we’re going to be bringing in, as Colin was saying, the games and things like that. So the couple can release games at a scheduled time, so their guests might be playing a game let’s say between the ceremony and reception. At that time you know where there’s kind of a need.
James [00:10:25] Yes, absolutely.
Laura [00:10:26] We’re thinking that that might be a great time for them to release some games. And it could be things like, we’re hoping to make some personalised quizzes about the couple. And then jigsaws with like a photograph and everybody has to solve the jigsaw. And then a treasure hunt as well, like an augmented reality treasure hunt. So there will be stuff for families as well.
Yes. The whole guest experience, that’s also what we’re looking at.
James [00:10:53] I really love that concept because I think one of the hardest things to get right at a wedding is that kind of ice breaking. You know you have the ceremony everybody is excited, you fly into the drinks reception, and everybody’s just kind of like suddenly thrust together, and it’s like right now what? And I think you know having that shared experience, I really think you guys are staring into the future and you’re bringing this forward into the present. Weddings as well I think, they’re getting so much more complicated. Our son has a few allergies which you know we’ve discovered as we’ve gone along. And I guess we’ve just been to a wedding, our friend’s wedding. And it might have been really handy to be able to inform them, you know, as we go, and keep that kind of constant communication going which I think is really what you’ve done. You’ve hit the nail on the head, you’ve got this flow where nobody needs to get on the phone all the time and have all these different conversations. You know someone might phone you, someone might email you, someone might write you a letter. And you’re kind of putting it all in one basket and making it really easy for people to navigate what’s becoming even more complicated.
Colin [00:11:59] That’s quite true and I think you found out
when you were planning your wedding everyone was using a different kind of medium.
People are contacting you on the run and if you’re out and about someone rings you, you might forget to write down what they said. And that sort of thing. So it’s all contained in one place, you can’t go wrong there. As Laura said also it’s for people who aren’t tech savvy or who don’t use smart phones, you can kind of piggy back on someone else’s invitation and kind of use theirs. We also have an option if people really want to have kind of paper stationery still, so you might have 5 or 10 invites that can go out that are matched to the theme that you use on the app. There’s still that. So I suppose for us, we’d like to see everybody using the app, but we still have to transition and we realise not everyone’s going to want to or be comfortable using a smartphone. So we have that option there as well.
Laura [00:12:56] That’s about everything, yes.
James [00:12:59] Yeah I think the response I can kind of anticipate when presented with this is an option, the couple are going to be sitting there together and saying “well have you thought of…” And you guys you’d be saying “Yep”. You’ve really got it. You’ve really got it buttoned down.
Absolutely love it. So if people want more information, where do they go and how much does it cost?
What are the options? How does it work?
Laura [00:13:25] OK so what we’re doing at the moment we decided we had to look at different options in terms of costs, and we decided we would go for an upfront fee. Just because there are free alternatives out there in terms of like say apps, and websites. And I think with software some people are kind of… I think the ideas are changing, in terms of software being free versus software sort of being something that people pay upfront for. And I think that’s one of the challenges for us, is kind of being part of that movement. Because I think with free software you’re always wondering what’s the cost.
James [00:14:03] Sure OK, yes!
Laura [00:14:03] And how are they making their money? Because every company needs to make money. So I think one of the things with free software is sometimes is that the money is coming from your data, your information.
James [00:14:14] OK. Right.
Laura [00:14:15] Like say a couple information and guest information. So that’s a question that comes up for us quite a lot. So we don’t make anything other than our fee to use the app, we don’t make any money at all from like couple information or guest information.
We don’t promote any partners to couples or any paid partners or anything like that.
James [00:14:37] So there’s no advertising on the app at all?
Laura [00:14:39] No nothing anything at all.
James [00:14:41] Brilliant!
Laura [00:14:42] So we had a talk about it and we said for us, that felt like the most ethical path to go down, because it’s honest. You know what you’re getting you know. And so at the moment we’re charging two hundred and fifty euros for the first package. That includes most of the functionality we have at the moment.
Colin [00:15:03] Would be anything in that package!
Laura [00:15:04] That’s right. We’re also launching a monthly fee as well.
And the idea would be that it would be over a period of time.
It’s twenty five euros a month, for a year. And at the end of the year you don’t have to pay a monthly fee anymore.
James [00:15:22] Okay. So it’s like a hire-purchase kind of deal. Yeah.
Colin [00:15:26] Exactly yes.
James [00:15:26] Awesome!
Colin [00:15:28] That compares well. We did a bit of research and I’m not sure what it’s like for the UK. But on average here people spend three hundred and seventy euro on wedding stationery.
James [00:15:38] And upwards!
Colin [00:15:41] That’s the average so it compares favourably to what you’re saying there. Plus we have all those extra features as well.
And I suppose the big thing for us is that it’s changing hearts and minds really.
Using say a digital platform rather than a paper platform, which is the traditional route most people go down. So that’s going to be the toughest thing for us is kind of convincing people this could replace it like, you know. And it’s a process so we’re certainly still going through it.
James [00:16:07] I think though, I think you guys have a definite marketplace. I think there are so many brides and grooms now, looking to go eco friendly. I’m still a massive fan of paper stationery. I’m always going to be, but I guess I would definitely be either considering this as a total replacement, or at least a side by side. Like you said, you could send out some invites, and then use the app for everything else. You know I’d tick all the boxes. I think it’s very, very competitively priced. I think it’s fantastic for what you get. And I just think you know brides and grooms, they’re going to see this and they’re going to want it. And that’s your marketplace isn’t it? Getting that message out there, it’s going to happen.
Colin [00:16:49] That’s right. And the feedback we’ve got so far is very positive. We’ve been to a couple of wedding shows and just talked to different people at different stages of their wedding. From newly engaged to people who might be going to get married in a few months time. And everyone is saying what a great idea it was, and I mean it’s received good feedback, and it’s been in the press over here as well, talking about it.
And we’ve had a couple of phone interviews, and Laura’s been on the radio as well.
So we’re gaining some traction and the big thing for us is because there’s only two of us in the company, is trying to get all the features I suppose ready for the app, but also promoted at the same time. So we’re doing a bit of everything. But I mean it’s an exciting journey for us as well, and we’re really happy with where we’re at at the moment.
Laura [00:17:34] Yeah definitely. We love developing the new features and having a wish list of what we want to do. I think we have about a years worth of work to do. So for us that’s great, just to be able to build something and see it in action, is really, really fulfilling for us as well. And then we’re pretty passionate about the eco friendliness. So it’s great for us to be able to contribute to that. Do something that will help people make that choice. You know especially without kind of losing say the artwork and stuff. If they can have that, they can have eco friendly, but also have the design.
Yes, something that aesthetically pleasing as well.
Laura [00:18:13] Amazing guys! We’re almost running out of time here, but just before we go. Where do brides and grooms need to go for more information to find out about the app?
Colin [00:18:22] The Website is beourguest.app. And just type that into Google and you should be able to find it. All the information is on there, and there’s a link to download the app, if you want to download it and try it out forehand. It’s on both Android and iOS. So basically both stores have it, so you can try to it out. And email us at firstname.lastname@example.org If you want ask any questions or anything like that. We’ll be very happy to chat with anybody.
Laura [00:18:49] And anyone who comes to the website as well
we have a chat facility there, so we can have a chat with you there as well.
James [00:18:56] Great. I always think it’s kind of special when you get to talk to the creators. I think that’s a really nice thing. I’m glad you’re so open to it. It’s really, really great to hear.
Colin [00:19:06] It’s great. I’m on the phone chatting away on email, text. It’s really good for us to get feedback and kind of hear different ideas. Oh that’s a great idea. We’ll put that in next. So it’s kind of customer feedback as well from couples getting married. Things we might not have thought about ourselves and they come up with them, and it’s really rewarding actually engaging that way and getting the feedback. So we’re really, really pleased with it.
James [00:19:34] Cool. Awesome. Well thank you again guys. Really, really appreciate you jumping on with us and sharing all the information about the app.
Be Our Guest. It’s going to be huge, I reckon.
We’re going to push it obviously I love it. So thanks again for joining me. I really appreciate it. And yeah sometime maybe in the future we’ll catch up with you guys and see how it’s all going.
Colin [00:19:51] That would be brilliant. We’d love to do that again.
James [00:19:53] Awesome! All right great to speak to you both. Thanks so much.
Colin [00:19:56] Bye bye.