[guest post: beginning your wedding planning on the web]

May 17, 2012

As a little girl, you may recall playing dress-up in white dresses and pretending to marry your Ken doll. Getting married was as simple as slipping on a dress. Now, as a woman on the verge of this life-changing commitment, you realize how naive you once were. Between choosing a venue to picking the hors d'oeuvres you are completely overwhelmed. Fortunately, you have the benefit of planning your wedding using the web.

Online Coupons and Mobile Apps
Starting with the venue, you can score great deals from your local country club to a tropical resort often for a huge discount thanks to Living Social. Also, search for deals with Groupon to save on your honeymoon. Imagine spending your honeymoon at a five star spa resort, even though your budget is more suited for a round at a mini golf course. Deals are all over the Internet. Try to snag some dry cleaning coupons that can be used to clean the used tuxedoes you have purchased for cheap for your groomsmen and lucky hubby-to-be. They’ll never be able to smell the moth balls and cheap cologne from the previous owners!

Web-based Wedding Communities
The Knot and Bridal Tweet are two social networking sites dedicated to those with minds like you -- brides to be. One site, The Knot, includes the Ask Carley Q+A where you can learn all about the dos and don’ts of the “I Do.” Wedding ceremonies are constantly changing and evolving. For instance, when your parents got married it was most likely not common to have food or music at the rehearsal; weddings were just simpler functions. The Ask Carley Q+A also keeps you up to date on wedding faux pas and evolutions. For instance, you may have no idea how common it is for wedding couples to have mix-sex attendants. Nowadays more brides and grooms are having their siblings or close friends included in the wedding party despite their sex. This totally makes sense, and it makes bachelor/ette party planning easier.
Bridal Tweet is less like the Twitter it sounds like, and more like a wedding information station. You can find videos and photos of real weddings that you can “borrow” from for your own event. However, the real prize is being able to find a local DJ. For instance, living in the Midwest, finding a professional wedding entertainer is harder than finding someone to act like a mime for a backyard barbecue. Fortunately, you can find a music entertainer that specializes in weddings even in Iowa, thanks to Bridal Tweet, which can save you lots of time and headache.

Social Sharing Sites
So, one of the best ways to save money (which is a high priority) without sacrificing in your personal style is to do as much of the wedding yourself. Make the invitations? Check. Bake the groom’s cake? Got it covered. The key to your confidence is the visually arranged social sites: WeddingGawker and Pinterest. WeddingGawker has several sister sites including CraftGawker and FoodGawker, but they all have a common theme. Bloggers post images that are linked to their blogs that give DIY ideas for projects. On WeddingGawker, you can discover wedding ideas from all over the world. Now, you can even contemplate eloping to Norway!
On Pinterest, you can create a pin board for your wedding that has a picture of your wedding dress and engagement ring to share with your wedding party and friends. Put up some images of ideas for bridesmaid dresses to share with your wedding party. You’ll also be able to find some cool ideas for serving homemade cocktails, as well as some adorable photograph setups. Imagine having DIY funky props for your guests to hold during the impromptu photo booths. Both inexpensive and entertaining, don’t expect to have a single guest complain when it’s time to take family photos!
Using the Web to plan a wedding can be a lifesaver. You can take your wedding plans into your own hands. Borrow some terrific ideas and themes from other wedding parties. Get inspired from weddings all over the world. Most importantly, transform your big day into something you can truly call your own.

Jessica is interested weddings and event planning. She enjoys integrating her love of design and styling into memorable events for friends and family.