The days of leisurely planning are long gone.
Few brides can afford to stroll from bridal boutique to bridal boutique.
Most of us have to sneak our wedding planning into those tiny slivers
of free time between work, play, food, and sleep. Lucky for us, however,
there's one friend who will never let us down:...

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The days of leisurely planning are long gone.
Few brides can afford to stroll from bridal boutique to bridal boutique.
Most of us have to sneak our wedding planning into those tiny slivers
of free time between work, play, food, and sleep. Lucky for us, however,
there's one friend who will never let us down: the Internet.

From venues to videographers, from bouquets to boutonnieres, Christa Terry has put together a treasure trove of resources that give you the freedom to plan a wedding from anywhere, at any time, using your computer. This guide is much more than a list of links, though. Christa Terry also shows the bride-to-be:

  • Where to find wedding software and downloadable worksheets that do more than just calculate costs
  • Why creating a personal wedding website is one of the best gifts she can give her guests
  • When to order invitations, favors, and, yes, even gowns to avoid crunch-time stress
  • How to keep the MOB (mother of the bride) and the MOG (mother of the groom) happy...and still speaking to each other!

With all the choices out there, planning a wedding has never been more complicated. Let iDo be your guide to simplifying your wedding with just a click of the mouse. Have the wedding of your dreams...all you lose is the stress.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416578543
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 6/10/2008
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 9.06 (w) x 7.42 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Christa Terry is the editor of the popular nuptial fashion, wedding etiquette, and bridal accessory website, Manolo for the Brides at Christa lives, works, and spends inordinate amounts of time thinking about other people's weddings in Beverly, Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Lunch Hour Wedding Planning

Congratulations! You're engaged! And it's no secret that engagements are a stressful period in the lives of couples. After saying, "I will," but before saying, "I do," every newly engaged couple experiences one single moment of sudden and perfect clarity of mind. During this revelatory period, they realize that in the few seconds it took to slip a ring on a finger, they inadvertently agreed to plan a hugely elaborate party for 150 or so relatives, friends, acquaintances, and, in some cases, strangers. No, wait, make that 200 — Mom has demanded that her flock of high school girlfriends be invited, and Dad says everyone should be allowed to bring a date.

No wonder so many future husbands and wives contemplate running off to Vegas.

In the not-so-distant past, newly engaged women and their parents were responsible for planning the entirety of the future wedding. This meant they had to do a nasty thing called "legwork." To gather dress, tux, floral, favor, cake, and catering ideas, they were forced to first phone for catalogs and then wait until they arrived via mail.

After browsing these thick tomes of nuptial niceties, mothers and daughters (and, less frequently, fiancés and fathers) had to hoof it from vendor to vendor, often with a gaggle of female relatives in tow. In extreme cases, brides-to-be guilty of nothing more than indecision were subject to endless, boring sales pitches, usually given by salespeople more interested in profits than true love.

Now, some future brides still do have endless hours at their disposal to stroll leisurely from boutique to boutique. And some future grooms think nothing of whiling away hours inspecting ceremony sites and interviewing reception hall managers. But no doubt these people exist in tax brackets so high they can't even see the rest of us. Lucky them.

Here's a quick reality check: The majority of modern bridesand grooms-to-be spend their days working and, in their off hours, have plenty of errands and obligations to fill their agendas. They're getting married in towns and cities hundreds or thousands of miles from where they actually live. And their best pals, moms, and siblings reside nowhere near either of those places, making it almost impossible for anyone involved to casually jet off to meet with bakers, caterers, or DJs. That's why more and more engaged couples faced with the prospect of sneaking wedding planning into the gaps between work and play and food and sleep are turning to the one friend they know will never let them down: the Internet.

Let's face it. Most of us are pretty adept at navigating the virtual world. We socialize, schmooze, and share our journals online. We shop without ever changing out of our pajamas.

Yet while more than three quarters of all engaged couples fire up their web browsers when planning their weddings, only a little more than 10 percent ever buy or reserve headpieces, cakes, shoes, centerpieces, or other wedding gear on the net. Why? Maybe people don't feel comfortable putting their matrimonial happiness in the hands of the postal service. They may also crave the security of knowing who they're dealing with when dropping mad cash on stuff they'll only ever use once. But a friendly face is no guarantee of quality. And since online sellers who deal in cake toppers, freeze-dried rose petals, and other nuptial knickknacks are in it to make a buck just like a brick-and-mortar retailer, they have as much riding on a customer's happiness.

So why research and buy on the Internet? Because being able to plan your wedding during your lunch hour is awesome. More time online means less time spent wandering the streets of your town trying to track down elusive bakeries, less time wasted trying to make bridal salon employees understand that, yes, you really want black bridesmaid dresses, and less time avoiding the puppy-dog stares of bad eighties hair bands desperately looking for work.

That means more time to snuggle with your honey, more time to nurture those new familial relationships, more time to relax, and more time to simply enjoy being someone's future spouse.

Saying "I Do" with iDo

This book serves two purposes. Its pages are filled with easy-to-use matrimonial info that will introduce you to the wide (and wacky) world of weddings, and it also contains tons of tips and tricks that will show you how easily you can plan a wedding using the Internet as your primary — or only — tool. Impossible, you say? Get real. Just about everything you need to orchestrate picture-perfect nuptials can be found online.

With a little forethought, you, too, can use the Internet to take the stress out of wedding planning. Seriously. There is no reason whatsoever that getting engaged should sentence otherwise rational people to months or even years of pounding the pavement in search of products and services that are right there on the net for all to see. Being engaged should be fun! You should be able to look back on this period of your life without gritting your teeth.

Leah, A. J., and Jeanette — three wired brides who share their experiences in sidebars scattered throughout this book — wanted no part of the prenuptial hassle so many people assume is unavoidable. Instead of stressing out, they and their geeky grooms typed in a few keywords and were good to go. All right, maybe it wasn't quite that easy. But by turning to their computers first instead of immediately running full speed into the offices of their local wedding retailers, they saved some cash and found almost everything they needed with a minimum of fuss.

Leah, a graphic designer from North Carolina, met Will, a programmer from Massachusetts, at a party populated by people who previously knew each other only through the collaborative writing site Once she and her web-savvy beau were engaged, Leah fired up her browser and started collecting wedding ideas: "Since I could check out things online in a few seconds at work, I could take care of tasks like looking up the wording for my invitations or finding the perfect shoes incrementally over the course of a few days, as opposed to spending hours on the phone."

Without the Internet, Leah maintains, the wedding planning process would have felt like a full-time job. Because she and Will were responsible for coordinating the comings and goings of a large number of out-of-town relatives, guests, and attendants, they needed some way of ensuring that all the essential information was easy for everyone to access.

"Both our parents — mine in Alabama, his in Massachusetts — and our entire wedding party lived far away, so getting a consensus on some wedding plans required us to be able to contact them all at the same time with our questions and concerns. E-mail and our wedding website were invaluable in this regard."

Leah's main regret? That she couldn't find a web-based retailer selling her perfect gown.

While A. J. and her husband Matt didn't meet through online acquaintances, the Internet did play a big role in their courtship.

They planned their first date over AOL Instant Messenger and kept love alive via e-mail when Matt spent an extended period of time in France. In fact, before he proposed, A. J. was already scouring online jewelry stores looking for the perfect ring. And when Matt popped the question, A. J. put her own spin on the wedding planning process by turning to the web for ideas and then taking those ideas to brick-and-mortar vendors.

"I found my reception venue online, as well as my dress and bridesmaid dresses. I decided on my color and theme ideas after coming across pictures of stuff I liked that was similar to what I already had in mind. But I mainly used the web to do price comparisons, because I am more comfortable with person-to-person contact. Still, I spent a lot of time researching flowers, decorations, and hairstyles online."

Throughout the planning process, A. J. and Matt used Yahoo! Notepad to keep track of wedding-related purchases, ideas, and vendor information.

Jeanette and Chris's romance got its start in an online chat room, which was fortuitous, considering that they lived more than two thousand miles away from one another. A long engagement meant that they spent quite a few years avoiding the wedding planning process altogether. When they finally buckled down and got started, the Internet was the first resource Jeanette turned to.

"Unlike most little girls, I didn't have my wedding planned from the moment I turned five. I didn't have any ideas. And I needed to get some, fast. As for bridal magazines, the more I looked, the more I found that most of them were focused on what is 'in fashion.' But I wasn't interested in the latest trends. Part of my problem was that I was planning a wedding that didn't follow the traditional patterns of events. I needed to figure out what I had to do, what I wanted to do, and what I could skip without offending anyone."

Jeanette believes that her wedding would never have gotten off the ground without the Internet. Being able to search and shop and plan online allowed her to devote bits and pieces of time to her wedding searches, as opposed to whole days or weekends.

"The thing I valued the most about having Internet resources available to me during my lunch hour or at four in the morning or whenever was that I didn't have to make my wedding my whole life. I could continue to work and relax and have fun, because I knew that when I needed to, I could get a whole lot done in just a few hours."

Using This Book

Right now you're probably freakin' excited. You may even be turning on your laptop as you read this sentence. But there are some things you should know before you get started. First, this book doesn't acknowledge the existence of the mythical beasts known as bridezillas and groomzillas. Planning a wedding is usually stressful and can set even the most saintly person's teeth on edge. It's perfectly natural to feel a little frenetic when you're dealing with an industry that thinks a six-month lead time constitutes serious lag. When you feel as if your wedding is driving you out of your mind, take a break and remember that, with luck, you'll never have to do this again.

Secondly, wedding planning is, or at least should be, at twoperson procedure. Matrimony itself is the joining of a man and a woman (or two men or two women, depending on your preferences), so there really should be two people shouldering the prep work. Men and women may not always possess the same aptitudes, but very few aspects of the wedding planning process are firmly gender specific. You'll see the words "bride" and "groom" a lot in this book, but feel free to gender-bend as necessary.

Finally, family members can be an invaluable gift to those harried individuals navigating the often tricky road from engagement to happily wedded life. The stereotype of the meddling future mother-in-law (or the envious sister or bitter brother) is only as real as you allow it to be. A little understanding (coupled with a lot of forgiveness and just a touch of strategic apathy) can go a long way toward keeping family harmony intact.

In conclusion, this book doesn't contain any bride bashing, groom bashing, family bashing, or any other kind of bashing. It does not make grooms-to-be look like twits or categorize all mothers-in-law as screeching harpies. Yes, there are pushy parents and angry siblings and jealous best friends, but that's no reason to make assumptions. Vendor bashing? Well, there's going to be some of that...the WIC is huge and sharklike, after all.

At the end of each chapter, you'll find all the recommended URLs for its topic organized into a simple list. Ready to start clicking?

All right, let's plan your wedding!

Copyright © 2008 by Christa Terry

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Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: LUNCH-HOUR WEDDING PLANNING discusses the myriad ways the explosion of online wedding retailers has changed the way women—and men— participate in the wedding planning process, why those not using online tools to plan their weddings are missing out, how planning online can save relationships, popular wedding stereotypes (think bridezilla or the evil mother-in-law), and the experiences of three wired brides who, in each chapter, will share the tips and tricks they used when planning their weddings.

CHAPTER TWO: THE BASICS explains the fundamentals of traditional Western nuptials and where to go for information regarding other cultural traditions, why timeliness is such an important part of planning a wedding, and what brides- and grooms-to-be can and can’t do with the Internet, while highlighting the major players in the world of wedding web sites, the best and most useful downloadable wedding checklists and calendars, and the go-to sites for couples who are still shopping for an engagement ring.

CHAPTER THREE: A SITE TO REMEMBER outlines the reasons why every engaged couple needs a personal wedding web site to supplement paper announcements, spread ceremony and reception details, track RSVPs, keep their vendor list up-to-date, and shine some light on the wedding party, while pointing brides- and grooms-to-be toward those companies that provide free and for-pay personalized and customizable wedding web sites.

CHAPTER FOUR: MATRIMONIAL VIPS discusses the traditional duties undertaken by family members, maids of honor, best men, bridesmaids, and groomsmen; ways couples can involve step-children, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and more in the ceremony and reception; fun sites that first time bridal party participants can visit to bone up on their nuptial knowledge; and keeping all the wedding VIPs in the loop using an e-mail list or group blog.

CHAPTER FIVE: YOUR WEDDING, YOUR WAY helps brides- and grooms-to-be find easy-to-navigate online resources that show examples of everything from table settings to cakes to gowns; decide on color schemes and themes that show off their individual tastes; organize their wedding day wish lists using simple desktop folder layouts or their Internet browser bookmarks; create and stick to a thoughtful budget—even when it means compromising; and deal with the influx of wedding spam and too-good-to-be true offers that invariably flood both mail boxes and e-mail inboxes.

CHAPTER SIX: FOR RICHER OR FOR POORER outlines who traditionally pays for what, easy methods of creating a flexible wedding budget using the spreadsheet programs on almost every computer, the pros and cons of a variety of online budgeting tools and worksheets, ways brides- and grooms-to-be can get what they want without breaking the bank using eBay and other auction sites, and simple cost-cutting tips and tricks that can save budget-conscious couples a lot of headaches.

CHAPTER SEVEN: WITH THIS CLICK shows brides- and grooms-to-be how to maximize their online shopping time and minimize the money they spend using structured keyword searches, discount retailers, and consignment sites, while also highlighting some of the best comprehensive online wedding gear stores and methods couples can use to protect themselves from scammers by virtually guaranteeing that they are in a position to obtain a refund.

CHAPTER EIGHT: DON’T LEAVE THEM GUESSING shows couples the registry faux pas they should avoid and outlines the many online registry options available to today’s couples, including traditional registries, charitable registries, honeymoon registries, mortgage registries, male-oriented registries, money registries, and create-a-gift registries that allow multiple guests to contribute to one large gift like a honeymoon or house.

CHAPTER NINE: FASHION, FOR LADIES explains why nearly every bridal salon and designer wants to make it hard for brides-to-be and their bridesmaids to buy online and how they can thwart these efforts to save a bundle when purchasing gowns and dresses; highlights some of the best sites for researching and buying gorgeous wedding gowns, beautiful bridesmaid and flower girl dresses, un-matronly mother-of-the-bride dresses, and perfect accessories; and helps brides find the right fit before committing to a dress, choose a seamstress for alteration, and, most importantly, cope when mail-order gown emergencies occur.

CHAPTER TEN: FASHION, FOR THE GENTS discusses the basics of formalwear for men from collars to cuffs, the best online resources for guys who want to know more about the wide variety of men’s wedding fashions, dressing the ring bearer, how to outfit the father of the bride, and the go-to sites for grooms-to-be as well as their attendants.

CHAPTER ELEVEN: THE BIGGEST PARTY YOU’LL EVER HOST shows couples how they can use their budgets, personalities, and their computers to determine the appropriate reception size and type; points them toward the sites with the best explanations of the ins and outs of daytime, afternoon, evening, and destination weddings; outlines the questions they should ask prospective reception site hosts; and reminds stressed out brides- and grooms-to-be that planning a party for 200 people can be a lot like planning a party for 20 people.

CHAPTER TWELVE: THAT’S GOOD EATIN’ outlines the best menu planning web sites and how to use them, the art of building a memorable menu from scratch, methods of finding a great caterer effortlessly using online reviews and the major wedding web sites, questions to ask potential caterers, the benefits of the buffet, online planning resources that deal specifically with food and drink budgets, how to gauge the formality of a meal, and the real story behind confusing catering contracts.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT helps couples decide the size, type, and style of cake they will serve by pointing them toward sites chock full of mouth-watering examples; design, bake, and decorate their own cake using easy-to-follow online tutorials; choose between traditional cakes, cupcakes, and other deserts; find cool and unique cake toppers that are sure to impress guests; and cut through hard-to-swallow baker’s contracts.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: PICTURE (AND VIDEO) PERFECT guides couples to eye-opening sites that allow photographers’ and videographers’ previous clients to give glowing reviews or to lodge their grievances, outlines the questions brides- and grooms-to-be need to ask photographers and videographers, helps couples compose lists of must-have shots and scenes, and clarifies the main points of indistinct photographer and videographer contracts.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN: PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC discusses the pros and cons of wedding bands versus wedding DJs, finding the perfect songs for father-daughter and mother-son dances using web sites that feature audio samples, saving money and expressing individuality with an MP3 player, speakers, and a homemade playlist; how brides- and grooms-to-be can unravel complicated band and DJ contracts; and the songs that should never be played at any wedding, ever.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: SAY IT WITH FLOWERS explains the meaning behind the blooms and features online resources for floral novices; clarifies the oftentimes confusing terminology used by florists to describe everything from bouquets to boutonnières; points couples toward sites that can help them design and build their own floral arrangements; discusses the pros and cons of faux and dried flowers; and helps brides- and grooms-to-be understand the ins and outs of florist contracts.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: PAPER GOODS highlights some of the best online paper goods vendors and explains the traditional wedding correspondence etiquette rules that modern couples may not know, how save-the-date cards can safeguard relationships (particularly for those having destination weddings), which online services let couples create and send personalized save-the-date postcards with the click of a mouse, the basics of invitation formatting and design, and why (real, not virtual) thank you cards are so important.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: FOUR WHEELS AND A DREAM aids brides- and grooms-to-be as they research the most popular forms of wedding day transportation, examine cars and limos inside and out from the comfort of their desk chairs, wade through sometimes conflicting limousine company reviews, book their car online, and, finally, tip the driver.

CHAPTER NINETEEN: WADING THROUGH THE LEGALESE helps couples get past the jargon in order to determine exactly what they will need to do to obtain a marriage license, find the best online resources that explain marriage license requirements by state, understand pre-nuptial agreements, wade through the complicated steps of the post-marital name change, and switch snail-mail addresses effortlessly on the Internet.

CHAPTER TWENTY: THINGS TO REMEMBER ALONG THE WAY reminds brides- and grooms-to-be that no matter how much the wedding preparations threaten to take over their lives, they should always try to find a little time to pamper themselves and each other, and highlights sites that offer relief from pre-wedding jitters.

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN transports couples to the week before the wedding and outlines all of the last-minute details that need to be taken care of (via e-mail, when possible), including confirming all reservations, submitting guest counts, picking up gowns and tuxes, creating emergency kits for the bride and groom, reminding bridal party members of their wedding day duties, holding the rehearsal and dinner, mailing “thank you” gifts to parents, and packing for the honeymoon.

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