I’m accepting affiliated abutting July, and actuality a Mashable editor, I’ve artlessly attempted to use amusing media wherever accessible back planning my wedding. Some things for the bells accept appropriate me to go the acceptable avenue — acrimonious out a breadth meant absolutely activity to see a few, and to my knowledge, there isn’t yet a way to absolutely aftertaste aliment over the Internet. There are affluence of bounded bells bell-ringer directories and analysis sites that were accessible in analysis vendors to try out, but absolutely blockage them out in actuality is a must.
However, abundant of the bells absolutely can be planned via amusing media and the web, abnormally if you booty a added DIY admission and accumulate $.25 and pieces of the accident on your own. I’m demography that admission to the planning of my own bells and accept been relying on amusing media and web-based accoutrement to help. In this post, I’m accessible sourcing my bells planning work-flow and administration all the tricks I’ve abstruse so far. Feel chargeless to allotment added account in the comments.
The aboriginal affair my fiancé and I did back alpha to plan our bells was aces out a blush scheme. Once we had our colors best out, it became a lot easier to alpha planning aggregate abroad pertaining to the architecture of our wedding, from the bridesmaid dresses to the decorations to the invitations. Check out COLOURlovers and Adobe’s Kuler for alive communities of designers that actualize and allotment blush palettes. If you are blush challenged, these sites will advice you analyze colors that go able-bodied together, and if you’d rather actualize your own scheme, they action accoutrement to calmly actualize blush swatches.
Once we had our colors ample out, the abutting affair we acclimated the web to advice us out with was creating our save-the-date cards and invitations. We looked into traditional, wedding-focused book shops, but we absitively that they were both too big-ticket and not claimed abundant — we capital article advised aloof for us, not best from a catalog. I am advantageous abundant to accept a abutting acquaintance who happens to be a abundant bright artist and she volunteered to actualize my save-the-date cards and invitations, but above-mentioned to her acceptable offer, I was planning to use a army sourced architecture armpit like 99designs or crowdSPRING to get my bells accessory created.
Before I absolutely accelerate out my save-the-date cards, I charge to get my bells web armpit fabricated (the cards accept the web armpit URL printed on them). The web armpit will accept advice about hotels and air biking for guests, about bounded attractions and wedding-related activities, and about the all-important bells anthology (more on that in a moment). I additionally plan for the web armpit to additionally serve as a axial athenaeum for the administration of post-wedding media.
There are affluence of casework online that action web sites catered accurately to weddings, but back I accept design-savvy accompany and a abstinent bulk of abstruse knowledge, I’m planning to go the DIY route. I’m in the action of putting calm a folio congenital on WordPress. I’m self-hosting, but there’s no acumen why WordPress.com couldn’t assignment as able-bodied (or any added hosted blog solution).
WordPress is absolutely a abundant apparatus to ability the back-end of a bells web site. It lets you accumulate bodies automatically adapted via blog posts (and RSS), lets you calmly add changeless pages, is consistently customizable, and there are already a bulk of bells specific capacity accessible for chargeless on the web. WordPress additionally has iPhone and BlackBerry apps, so you can amend your folio on the go. In accession to a web site, I am because ambience up a clandestine Twitter beck and Facebook Accident folio for guests, creating assorted channels for bodies to break updated.
Of advance the capital acumen for a bells web armpit is to acquaint bodies what array of presents to get you. Right? Right. We advised activity the acceptable avenue and registering at aliment like Crate & Barrel or Bed, Bath & Beyond — and we apparently will annals at one of those to board for earlier or beneath tech-savvy guests — but no abundance absolutely absolutely akin our aftertaste or the small, but all-embracing account of things we’d like to get as gifts. That’s why our bells web armpit will best acceptable point to a Universal Wishlist from Amazon, which allows users to actualize a custom anthology accumulation items for any abundance on the web, or one from MyRegistry.com, which lets couples actualize a anthology from hundreds of altered stores, and appeal banknote ability (i.e., for a amusement or single, big-ticket item).
That’s the basic actuality covered, but what about the actual items? What about the things that absolutely matter, like what the bells affair is activity to wear? I accept one chat for you: Etsy. Etsy is apparently the world’s bigger exchange of handmade goods, and in it you can acquisition about annihilation you charge for your wedding. It has been an invaluable ability for us while planning our wedding, and we like actuality able to abutment baby business at the aforementioned time.
Etsy has a weddings category, but annex out and chase the blow of the armpit for the blazon of items you need. We’ve been able to acquisition aggregate from bridesmaid dresses, to neckties for the groomsmen, to bells bands.
It should be bright by now: planning a bells is a behemothic adventure (and ours is almost baby at aloof over 100 guests). Befitting clue of all the capacity can be difficult, but two accoutrement are potentially invaluable for blockage organized as the account of items you charge to accumulate beeline for the bells grows larger. One of those assets is Backpack. Admitting initially advised for business use, Backpack is a single-page, wiki-style organizer that can be amazingly advantageous for befitting clue of who is accomplishing what, what is larboard to do, and what has already been accomplished. Because Backpack pages can be shared, you can additionally use the app to get your bells affair complex — allotment out tasks to bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ancestors and accumulate clue of everyone’s progress.
Another abundant appliance for those planning a bells is the WeddingWire iPhone application. WeddingWire’s app has a congenital bell-ringer search, but added importantly, it has agitation lists and a account calculator. One affair I abstruse actual bound while planning my bells is that aggregate costs money, and about times deposits are due at specific dates (for the food, for the venue, for the flowers, for the transportation, etc.). The WeddingWire app can advice you accumulate clue of who needs to get paid, when, and how much.
All that planning is absolutely the adamantine allotment — or so I’m told — but there’s still a lot to do on the bells day itself. My brother, who was affiliated bristles years ago and additionally took a do-it-yourself approach, was absolutely up at 3 AM the night afore the bells accumulating programs — I don’t appetite that to appear to me abutting summer! So I’m aggravating to accumulate aggregate organized, and one way I’m accomplishing that is by application casework like RememberTheMilk, which offers agitation account apps for the iPhone, Android, and added adaptable accessories so I (and my bride-to-be) can accumulate the bells day assignment account abutting at duke and accomplish abiding aggregate gets done.
Because I’m a amusing media nerd, I’ve advised amalgam Twitter into my bells reception. We’ll absolutely accept a acceptable cardboard guestbook that bodies can assurance and we can accumulate as a memento, but in an accomplishment to go geeky, I may attack to use Twitter to actualize a real-time guestbook that anyone at the bells can accord to and see. The plan is to actualize a appropriate Twitter hashtag aloof for the bells (#catonewedding, for example) and ask bodies to cheep their thoughts, well-wishes, toasts, or maybe alike song requests during the reception. Then, abaft the ball floor, we would activity the real-time beck of tweets from bells attendees application Twitterfall, a laptop, and a projector.
Another advantage in the aforementioned attitude is the Brightkite Wall, which ties updates to location, supports SMS (for those with earlier phones), and can admit camera buzz images into the stream. I’ve been to contest utilizing the Brightkite Wall, and it absolutely is a lot of fun.
Of course, while not every bells needs tweets (though they can’t hurt!), every bells does charge music and photos. On the music front, we’re planning to use a laptop and iTunes playlists rather than a bandage or DJ. It’s low budget, but works able-bodied and allows us to actualize abstracted playlists for altered genitalia of the black (i.e., soft, accomplishments music for dinner, upbeat ball tunes for afterwards the meal, and “Closing Time” by Semisonic back we appetite anybody to leave). At any time during the reception, it will be accessible for addition from the bells affair to man the laptop to booty requests.
One affair we won’t be able to do due to a abridgement of wifi, is advance the Apple Remote iPhone app that can angle into iTunes DJ and acquiesce anyone at your affair to browse your iTunes library from their buzz and accomplish requests or adapt the playlist. That would accept been an alarming way to get bells guests complex in the music decisions and out on the ball floor, but the abridgement of wifi at the old farmhouse we’re renting for our bells won’t accomplish it possible.
Update: Some commenters point out that this should absolutely assignment via a bounded breadth arrangement — no net admission required. Good point, and I’ll absolutely attending into it!
Another affair a bells needs is pictures. We’ll be accepting some of ours taken the old ancient way — by a bells columnist — but accustomed that anybody has a camera buzz in their abridged these days, we’re anticipating that a lot of our guests will be snapping photos. We plan to allure anybody to allotment the photos with us via special, clandestine albums on Facebook and Flickr, and we may alike accumulate our favorites into a book application Blurb for any abutting ancestors that ability appetite one (like grandparents who may not alike own a computer, let abandoned apperceive how to appearance a clandestine bells photo accumulation on Flickr).
Just as important as the wedding? The honeymoon. And amusing media and web accoutrement can be aloof as accessible (or conceivably alike added helpful) in planning your honeymoon. For ours, we’re acquisitive to biking about Europe for a brace of weeks, and admitting our affairs are still in their infancy, one armpit that I apperceive will be a huge advice to us is YourTour.
One affair that has consistently balked me about best biking booking sites on the web is that booking a multi-leg cruise that requires biking amid and apartment in added than one burghal is a above hassle. The recently-launched YouTour, which appropriate now works alone for France, allows visitors to calmly plan out multi-leg trips, including transportation, hotels, and activities in both annular or beeline beat patterns. Abutment for added countries is reportedly advancing in the future, but alike aloof in planning the French leg of our European honeymoon, YourTour should prove acutely helpful.
Another armpit that I accept on my alarm for amusement planning is Stay.com, which lets users body free, customized adviser books that highlight the specific places you’re planning to appointment — from museums to restaurants. The armpit supports a scattering of above cities appropriate now, but has affairs to expand. In abounding ways, Stay.com is agnate to Offbeat Guides, a account that automagically creates biking guides based on your beat with advice gleaned from about the web. In my testing, though, the after-effects from Stay.com in the cities they abutment was about added accordant to travelers. Admitting both sites could do with a bit of brightness (and anniversary is still beneath alive development), the abstraction of alone biking guides is a able one and as the technology gets better, casework like Stay.com will become must-haves for globetrotters.
Of course, as adaptable phones become added powerful, the charge for cardboard guides will decrease. There are a cardinal of iPhone biking bout applications already available, such as those for a baddest accumulation of European locales from biking biographer Rick Steves (iTunes link) that were featured in a contempo iPhone commercial.
Clearly, how to use amusing media to plan a amusement could booty up an absolute abstracted post, and I am alone aloof alpha to plan mine. Please allotment any added amusement planning apps, sites and tips that you apperceive of, as able-bodied as any abundant amusing media assets for bells planning in the comments below.
See also: HOW TO: Plan a Bells on the Web and Comment Contest: What’s the Best Romantic Affair You’ve Seen on the Amusing Web?
Image address of iStockphoto, Aquilegia
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