The post is soooo 2008! Couples in search of inexpensive, modern and hassle-free invitation options for their wedding should look to Mailchimp for a new way to do it. I did my whole wedding guestlist through Mailchimp and will now give you a step-by-step guide on how you can too.
Top tip: it’s worth getting a premium Mailchimp account (up to $30 per month depending on your list size but no contract) so that Mailchimp doesn’t brand everything up for you.
Steps to creating your wedding invitations using Mailchimp
Step 1: Create a guestlist
If you’re having everyone arrive at the same time then you’ll only need one list. If you’re inviting different people for the ceremony, the reception, the evening etc then we’ll create more later but for now just create one list.
To do this click ‘lists > create list > create list’ then you’ll be on the list set up page. Call it something like ‘wedding invitation list’. If you’re having different arrival times then call it ‘wedding invitation list 1pm onwards’ or something to differentiate it.
In the ‘default “from” name’ field write your names, i.e.” Jodie & Ben”, “Sian & Ryan”, etc. In the ‘default “from” email’ field you’ll need to use a real email address. Have the default subject something like “Sian and Ryan are getting married!” You can always change this later.
In the “remind people how they got on your list’ field, I used ‘you are receiving this email because we like you’, but feel free to add your own here! People will only see this message if they click the ‘why am I receiving this?’ link at the bottom of all Mailchimp emails. In reality, no one will actually see it.
Next, fill out your address. Under ‘notifications’, select not to receive any. You won’t need to as you’ll be adding people to this list yourself. Under ’email format’ leave the box unchecked.
Click save and your list is ready!
Step 2: add guests
Locate the list you just created on the list homepage, then click on the small downward arrow and click ‘import’ (pictured). You’ll then be able to copy and paste your list from Excel, or just select contacts from your address book.
What we did: created an Excel spreadsheet with the following columns: First name, last name, email address, arrival time. Not everyone had an email address, for example children went under their families. For families who will all be on the same invitation, fill out their first name as ‘Michael, Pat & Harriet’ and fill out their last name as normal and their email address of one person in the party.
If everyone is arriving at the same time then add everyone to this list. If not, just add the first batch of people.
You’ll then need to repeat steps 1 and 2 for every arrival time. For example, we had:
List 1: wedding invitation list – ceremony
List 2: wedding invitation list – 2pm onwards
and you may even have
List 3: wedding invitation list – 7pm onwards
Step 3: the invitations
Next you’ll need to go to ‘campaigns’ and click ‘create campaign’. Then click ‘regular ol’ campaign’. You will be asked which list you wish to send it to. Select the ‘wedding invitation list’ (or if you have more than one depending on arrival time, just select the first one). Click ‘send to entire list’, then ‘next step:setup’
Name your campaign ‘wedding invitation’ or add ‘1pm onwards’ etc if it’s the first of a few. The rest of the fields should have been carried through.
Under ‘tracking’ you’ll want ‘track opens’ and ‘track HTML clicks’ ticked, leave the rest unchecked.
Under ‘social media’, you won’t want to ‘auto tweet your campaign’ or ‘allow Facebook comments’!
Under ‘more options’ ensure ‘authenticate campaign’ is ticked.
Click ‘next step: design’. I used the ’email designer’ to create the invitations, so click ‘start designing’. Next you are prompted to select a template. I used ‘1 column – banded’. Click select on this.
If you’ve used Mailchimp before then this process will be easy. If not, just work through it one by one. To give you an idea of what you can create, here’s an image of before and after:
The background colour has been changed.
Two ‘content blocks’ of pictures have been added, and a landscape image of lots of different ones has been put in each.
The text has been changed to ‘georgia – italics’, centred and changed to dark grey.
I’ve added in two ‘buttons’ (available to drag and drop under the ‘content’ menu.) and called them ‘yes, I’d love to be there’ or ‘sorry, I can’t come’. These are essentially your RSVP buttons, which we’ll create links for shortly.
I’ve added in all the initial information required. We will let your guests know timings, sleeping arrangements, gifts, etc very shortly.
This part may seem daunting but Mailchimp is very user-friendly, so keep playing around with it or seek guidance here if you need help.
Once you’re happy with your design, click through to ‘plain text’ and select ‘copy text from html’. Then select ‘save and exit to campaigns’.
If requiring more than one invitation for different arrival times, once you’re on the campaign dashboard click on the dropdown next to the invitation you just created and select ‘replicate’. Then just change the title of the campaign and the list it goes to, and of course the arrival time on the actual message. All the graphics and colours will still be the same. Easy!
Step 4: More lists!
The ‘yes’ and ‘no’ buttons on your invitations will take people to different web pages where they will RSVP. So far you’ve created the lists which you’re going to add people to yourself. Now we need to create the ones that people add themselves to, i.e. the RSVP lists.
Eventually, you’ll need a ‘yes I can come’ list for each of your ‘wedding invitation’ lists. This is so that people get the correct information depending on what time they will be arriving, and you won’t offend anyone. The ‘no I can’t come’ list is straightforward, there’s only one.
Follow the instructions in step 1 if you get stuck, but remember to call it the ‘RSVP’ list.
By the end, your ‘list’ page on Mailchimp will look something like the image below, but for now we only want you to create one RSVP list.
Go to your RSVP list screen (which looks like this):
Then select ‘signup forms’, and ‘general forms’. This will be the screen that people see when they click ‘yes I can come’. With some playing around of the Mailchimp features on the right, you can add the fields you want to add and add in the right text, with links if required.
Then go to from ‘build it’ to ‘design it’ to change the colours. Mailchimp offers support and video guidance on designing them here.
By the time we had finished ours looked like this at the top of the page: (I’ve blanked things out for privacy (and so you don’t turn up!), but you get the idea!)
…and this at the bottom of the page:
You’ll see we’ve asked people to add the number of people attending, the name of the lead booker (probably the person whose email address the invitation went to) and then for an email address and dietary requirements. You could even add here things like ‘which song would you like the DJ to play’, etc!
Once you’re happy with your RSVP signup form you’ll need to make sure the other sign up forms are correct. The most important one is ‘final welcome email’. Make sure ‘send a final welcome email’ is selected. This is where we wrote at the top ‘Details of the day – please print if a paper copy is required’. We also put details of gifts if people wanted to buy them. Once people fill out their details on the first RSVP form they will be send a confirmation email ‘confirm you want to confirm your RSVP by clicking here’ and then they will receive the final welcome email.
Now… for the important part. Go back to your list page, click on the dropdown menu for the RSVP list you’ve just created and click ‘replicate list’. You can then rename your lists (e.g. like pictured). Replicating them like this means that all the design and information for the sign up pages and final welcome emails will be replicated so you won’t have to do it all over again. Bear in mind that the ‘RSVP no’ list ‘sign up page’ and ‘final welcome emails’ will require different information (they may not need to know the breakdown of the day or about sleeping arrangements), and they will need to fill out different fields (e.g. no need for ‘dietary requirements’.)
Step 5: connecting it all up
When you’re designing the signup forms for each RSVP list you will notice that there’s a link for the form given. This will look something like this (pictured):
Take this link for each form and copy and paste them (you might want to do it in a word document to save confusion), write down the names of each list and the corresponding link.
Remember those ‘buttons’ we created on the invitations? Well… each ‘no I can’t come’ button will need a link to the ‘RSVP no – signup form’, and each ‘yes I can come’ button will need a link to the corresponding ‘RSVP – yes – signup form’.
Send a test email out to your own email address before sending (option available on each campaign) so you can check that the journey a wedding guest goes on will make sense!
I hope you have found this walk-through useful. Using Mailchimp to create your wedding invitations and compile RSVPs will make the process as easy as possible!
After you’ve clicked ‘send’ just lie back and think of the money you’ve saved on printing, envelopes and stamps!
Please add any comments below. If you have struggled with any step or can add something which will make this process easier for anyone else following them then please do say! I run a social media agency so I was always inclined to make Mailchimp wedding invitations!