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Weddings on the Web:Using the Internet to Help Plan Your Wedding
Wendell Fleming

So the two of you have decided to take your relationship to the next level--marriage. Congratulations! You###ve talked to your parents to share the joyous news, and they are thrilled for you. They actually like him, particularly when they think back to that first boyfriend you brought home from school! There is relief and excitement all around. Now what? Marriage is one thing, on which you can focus later, but a wedding—where do you start?

Perhaps you have already contacted the church, temple, hotel or resort where you plan on tying the knot. Perhaps you have even set a date. Now how do you figure out all the other logistical issues such as where to find your wedding dress, which florist to use, and how to register for wedding gifts? Planning a wedding is generally considered one of the most stressful experiences in a person###s life; there is so much to research, plan, communicate, order and organize. Where do you turn?

WELCOME TO THE WEB! Luckily, the Internet has come to the rescue of engaged couples in the nineties. There is a plethora of information out there to assist you in the wedding planning process; you just have to know how to access it. Before you go any further with the planning of your wedding, check out some of the sites listed below that are guaranteed to simplify your life (or at least the next few months of it).

Planning the Event

There are already hundreds of wedding-related sites on the web. There is information on how to plan a wedding abroad (Hawaii, Europe or the Caribbean) at atlantis.traduzioni (http://www.penteres.it/atlantis/english.htm). There are interesting sites that provide guidelines for writing your own vows, wedding and marriage quotes, an Apache wedding prayer, and other related items. There is even a site, "And the Bride Wore...," which mocks the strange headgear, ridiculous gowns and flower abuse observed at weddings. It###s like the "Glamour Don###t" site for brides. Check it out for some comic relief.

Most sites offer directories of wedding vendors to help you find the florist, caterer, photographer, limousine company and other service providers in your area. A good site to access providers is Wedreg.com (http://www.wedreg.com/), offering a directory of over 60,000 of these vendors, as well as a wedding planning service called Wedserv (http://www.wedserv.com/). Wedserv provides free planning and communication tools designed to help engaged couples organize their weddings on their desktop. The founders, two guys from Michigan State Business School, saw software as a vehicle to draw men into the wedding planning process. I think they are on to something. The wedding planning software helps you to remember all the little details that go into planning a truly memorable event. After all, it is one of the biggest and most important events of your lives; you want to do it right.

Most of the wedding sites can also give you tips on proper wedding etiquette, such as "Do I need to invite the attendants### parents?" or "Can I still wear white if it is a second marriage?" and other burning questions. The sheer variety of questions that will arise could stagger otherwise knowledgeable people, or at least those without access to resources such as those provided via the Internet.

Registry Process

There are two options for registering for wedding gifts. The time-honored, traditional approach is to go in person to all the stores at which you wish to register, look at hundreds of china and crystal patterns, kitchenware, linens, etc. and manually sign up for those you wish to receive as wedding gifts. At some point in this process, your future husband grows extremely weary and cranky and plops down across the aisle in the audiovisual department to watch college football, noting with disgust that you have become rather mercenary about this wedding gift business. Then you inform your bridesmaids and parents where you are registered. But what about people who live across the country and don###t have access to the stores at which you registered?

Wedreg.com (http://www.wedreg.com/) makes the entire registry process fun and stress-free, allowing you to register for gifts on-line with a growing list of retailers, including some Colorado-based stores such as Peppercorn of Boulder, International Villa, and The Flyfisher. You can decide in the comfort of your own home which items pictured you wish to register for, and guests can purchase your gifts online as well. Best of all, the service is free. Thousands of engaged couples have already availed themselves of this revolutionary new service, and as this company adds more stores, the value will clearly increase.

Honeymoon and Travel Planning

Although planning the honeymoon has traditionally been the groom###s domain, he shouldn###t be the one to have all the fun, should he? There are a multitude of travel sites on-line such as Expedia.com (http://www.expedia.com/) or Travelocity.com (http://www.travelocity.com/). You can do some initial research before you visit your travel agent, or just book the whole trip online.

A word to the wise: no wedding can be flawless, and you don###t really want it to be. Despite all the planning and preparation, it may not all go strictly according to plan; that###s what will make it memorable. Take it from me. I got married sixteen years ago in a tent in my parents### yard in Cleveland, Ohio. It rained without let-up for four straight days before the wedding, and water was coursing through the tent (set on a slight incline) as we arrived for the reception. My brothers and father scrambled to spread hay over the mud, but by the time dinner was served, the mud was ankle deep. Those fuddy-duddies who didn###t want to get down and dirty left, and the rest of us partied until the wee hours. I hiked my dress up and danced my heart out in the mud. Over sixteen years later, people still tell us it was the most outrageously fun wedding they###ve ever been to. So plan all you can, but when the time comes, just enjoy every moment and don###t sweat the glitches. They are what will make it unique.

Wendell Fleming is a writer, attorney, mother of three boys, and a wife (still!). She can be reached at wendell@dnvr.uswest.net. She is writing on behalf of The Wedding Registries Directory at http://www.wedreg.com, the first full-service bridal registry on the internet. For more information about The Wedding Registries Directory or their parent company, Internet Gift Registries, Inc., please contact Stephen Cunningham at stevec@igrcorp.com

wendell@dnvr.uswest.net. She is writing on behalf of The Wedding Registries Directory at http://www.wedreg.com, the first full-service bridal registry on the internet. For more information about The Wedding Registries Directory or their parent company, Internet Gift Registries, Inc., please contact Stephen Cunningham at stevec@igrcorp.com