21st century weddings still share quite a few things in common with weddings of yesteryear. Brides still wear white. Brides and grooms still pummel each other with wedding cake. Best men are still making fools of themselves with awkward, R-rated speeches. And bridesmaids still have to wear dresses of eggplant, or ecru, or lemongrass, or some other color de jour, which will never again see the light of day after the wedding.
However, when it comes to wedding technology and wedding software tools, things have changed dramatically, and today’s couples have a big leg up with all the options available to them. Here are just a few technological innovations that brides and grooms (or brides and brides, or grooms and grooms) can take advantage of to help them plan, manage and/or celebrate their wedding.
Mobile phone applications
The first wave of iPhone apps and other mobile phone applications have arrived, many of which involve keeping track of guest lists, staying in touch with guests and locating vendors. Although much of this functionality is available on various Web sites, it is convenient to be able to take it with you, so it’s best to seek out those applications that integrate with other online wedding software suites and applications that enable you to more easily enter in information (a computer keyboard still beats the heck out of a handheld keyboard any day of the week).
Online photo galleries
Photo sharing sites like Flickr, Photobucket and Shutterfly all allow you to store and share digital photos, and you can use these sites to create galleries for every wedding-related event, including your engagement party, bridal shower(s), bridesmaids’ luncheon, bachelor and bachelorette parties, rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, post-wedding brunch and, of course, your honeymoon. However, you can also invite your friends to share their photos of these events as well as any photos of you and your paramour before you were engaged. Although some embarrassing and awkward photos may come to light, this is a great way to relive those memories of your dating relationship and to involve your friends in your wedding preparations.
Wedding software has been around for a good decade now. The early wedding planning software was mainly PC-based, and you usually bought it in a box in a store and loaded it on your computer. Now there’s Web-based wedding planner software so you don’t have to download or maintain anything, and there’s lots of free wedding software available that is fantastic. The best online wedding software enables you to manage your guest list, budget, task calendar, RSVPs, gifts, thank yous and every detail for every wedding related event. My Wedding Workbook is an excellent choice for online wedding software, and many other popular Web sites offer some level wedding calculators and worksheets.
The wedding website is becoming more and more popular with engaged couples, and for good reason. First, they are a great way to communicate with guests regarding items like reception and ceremony directions, travel instructions, registry information and other details. Second, a wedding website lets you share your story with your guests and friends. Third, if you provide contact information or a form on your site, you can use it as a handy way for your guests to communicate with you.
There are many services you can use to create a wedding website – some are fee-based and some are free of charge – and many of them offer fairly easy-to-use interfaces so that you don’t have to know anything about Web programming to create your site. However, be aware that many free wedding websites will possibly share your information with wedding vendors as well as put you on their marketing email lists. If you don’t want to receive messages from vendors as well as marketing emails from the wedding web site provider, you should read the fine print before signing up and consider a fee-based site if you want an uncluttered inbox.
Brides are also now blogging more than ever, and bridal blogs are great places to browse for great ideas when it comes to wedding attire, wedding floral arrangements, photography poses and settings, wedding ceremony and reception venues and other great tips about planning a wedding. Blogs like Wedding Bee and Style Me Pretty are great places to start in finding ideas, and these blogs will also direct you to other blogs where you can browse.
If you want to create your own blog to document your long journey to the aisle, WordPress, Blogger, Live Journal and Typepad are all blogging services you can use to start your blog, and many of them are free of charge. In addition, their interfaces are fairly straightforward and you don’t need to know anything about Web design or development to create a blog or use one (ditto for most wedding website builders).