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Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Use the Internet to Plan Your Wedding

Use the Internet to Plan Your Wedding

By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
When I met my wife in 1996, it was a curiosity that we met on the internet. It was the days of dial up. There wasn’t even a DSL in sight.
It was so unusual to meet and marry someone you originally started talking with on the internet that the TV show 20/20 asked if they could video our wedding for broadcast to go along with a story about the growing trend. I was already so nervous and stressed out about all that goes along with planning and being in a wedding that I thought having news cameras around might just push me over the edge (I also didn’t want Barbara Walters to try to make me cry for the camera).  So, we declined the invitation.
Now many of us get our news on the internet and 14 years later, we see Chelsea Clinton getting married. The entire world can witness all the planning and thought that went into her multimillion dollar affair. I’m sure the stress was incredible.
There is one point of irony that I should bring up. Before I went into the computer field, I was a wedding photographer. I have personally photographed over 700 weddings. I don’t think there is a single flavor of religious or secular wedding I haven’t been to. I have attended weddings anywhere from 4 people to a thousand. Some weddings cost just a few hundred dollars to pull off while others cost so much that parents have mortgaged their homes.
There was one thing in common, however, and that was almost all of them lacked any kind of coordination. Since I was always the most experienced at any wedding I have been to, I was the one who had to tell the groom which side to stand on, when the bride should walk down the aisle, how to assemble a receiving line, and how much time each thing should take. I even wrote articles for photography magazines about all the funny things that happened during the weddings I photographed. There has never been a wedding I attended where everything went right. More things go wrong than right, in my experience. You have to have a sense of humor.
Another commonality I’ve found about weddings is that it is next to impossible for couples to find the time to plan the wedding. In times past, you had to do everything in person. How do two working people find time to do such things? Now it’s much easier because we have the internet. I will show you how to save days of your planning, save money, and possibly save your marriage. I will also point you in the right direction so you won’t make the common mistakes many couples make.
Weddings are so important to our culture that in the US, they make up 1% of our GDP. There are very few industries that come even close to making up that much of our economy.
There are several major points that make a modern wedding work: The ceremony location, the reception, invitations, food, flowers, cake, dress, tuxedos, photographer, videographer, honeymoon, engagement party, limousine, and music for the wedding and reception. There are a million little details that go along with these, and some extras that aren’t even major categories.
I suggest you start with a wedding planner. You really don’t want to wait for a photographer to show you what to do next on your wedding day. When I photographed weddings, I didn’t know what the couple was trying to accomplish because I hadn’t followed them from the beginning to the end of the preparations.
The following link will take you to two pages of local wedding planners:
One catch to the planner is that many times they have agreements made with local companies to do all of the services listed above. If you choose the easy route by going with what the planner suggests, then you may end up paying more because the planner gets a cut for everyone you sign up. The good news is that you’ll likely get a vetted company, and it will be more of a one stop shop. But if pinching pennies is for you, then just say that you’ll be searching for the best deal and that the planner should assist you in that endeavor.
For wedding etiquette, here is a link that tells you all you need to know. I especially like the parts about who pays for what:
The good news about etiquette is that they are not all hard and fast rules. You can break etiquette if circumstances just don’t work out the way you had hoped. Don’t stress about it, just adjust.
For reception halls in your area you can go here:
The largest cost of any wedding is the reception. Many couples save money by having the ceremony at the same location as the reception. It also cuts down on travel. If you do decide to have a more traditional church wedding and separate reception, then try not to have it more than 20 minutes away. People from out of town really hate that. You can also solve your food questions here. They may push you into a cake they recommend, but I’ve found that to be a large mark up item and a disappointment in quality. Go taste the cakes yourself before signing up.
A great place to find out about different vendors and Portland wedding styles would be to visit a Portland Wedding Blog. Here is one you can check out:
Rather than just rely on blogs, you should also look at forums. Forums are where many people ask and answer questions about everything they are interested in. A blog is one person’s opinion on what’s happening. They both have their merits, however.
A forum from multiple people is more advantageous so you know you’re getting some unbiased opinions. The wink and handshake agreements between vendors are very strong in this business. Remember, we are talking about billions of dollars changing hands, so you have to assume that if you hear it from a vendor, rather than a customer, it should be considered suspect. Sign up at this site to hear what people are actually saying about vendors and weddings in our area:
That should get you started using the internet to narrow down to some smart choices for your special day. Don’t use the internet to choose all of your purchases. Ultimately, you’ll want to go onsite to check many of these vendors out. But instead of doing this for months and spending lots of hours away from work and family, you can now do it in days with less time off.
If you have any questions in this area I would be happy to help.
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Published Monday, August 02, 2010 11:37 AM by Mallory