Bride of the Internet
Organizing the big day Organizing the big day
We've just stepped into summer, a season that's filled with wedding bells and the sound of panicked couples shrieking, "Is it too late to elope?" Have no fear! If you have a wedding to plan, let me talk you through it. I'm an expert.

In fact, as I write this, it's been seven months since I married my wife Judy. As we made plans for our wedding last November, the idea of eloping popped up several times. Yes, wedding planning can be traumatic: What type of bridal gown do you buy? How do you choose the right photographer? If you invite the cousin that you do like, must you invite that one that you don't?

Certainly, you can call upon your friends and relatives for suggestions. On the other hand, that's not always a good thing! Many brides-to-be have become addicted to Mylanta and Advil, thanks to non-stop "advice" from nosy relatives. If you want help from those who have been through this before, but you don't want the emotional baggage that may come with it, turn to the Web. From invitations to thank-you notes, it's full of tips by and for brides and grooms.

Bride The Tacky Ice Sculpture Award for sheer size goes to The Ultimate Internet Wedding Guide. It's a multi-layered chocolate wedding cake of information (pardon my drool), with articles on dozens of topics. Browse through its section on bridal showers, get "financial basics" for newlyweds, learn how to find the right price quote on a gown, and search online for a DJ in your area. What's especially useful are the community sections, where you can read comments from past and present brides on topics like "Children in the Wedding" and "Wedding Advice to Ignore." Hi, Mom!

Tied in to this site is the Ultimate Online Wedding Mall, a shopping site where you can buy gifts for your bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, and ring bearers. Friends can also find great items for your bridal shower. (Feel free to give them hints.) For even more "insider trading" from other brides, visit the Ultimate Wedding Guide's sister site,, which lists newsgroups and mailing lists for engaged and married couples alike.

Another good source of wedding gifts and articles is Wedding World. Use the online gift registry and look at its frankly huge wedding directory, with national listings for caterers, bands, ministers, tuxedo stores, and just about everything else. Similarly, the official site of Modern Bride magazine has a drop-down list of sections like honeymoon, fashion, and money and legal issues, and its personalized planning calendar will help you organize the arrangements. Most sources say you need at least 12 months to safely plan a wedding; Judy and I had everything ready within eight months. So there!

After our engagement, we did do a lot of preparation and research online. Once Judy found good choices for her gown and the bridesmaids' dresses on sites like The Knot, she got her friends' advice by sending them e-mails with the Web links. On my end, I went to Tux on the Net and other sites to learn what the well-dressed groom was wearing in the 90s. (I had a feeling that my 1981 red satin tie and ska slacks wouldn't cut it.)

The most time-consuming decision was what to have as our "first dance" song. Since Judy's shoes were designed by the Marquis de Sade, she wanted something with an easy pace, so my original idea of a tune by Madness was out of the question. After we flipped through our CD collections and lists of wedding day music, we selected Sting's rendition of "You Were Meant for Me (New York version)" from the soundtrack of The Object of My Affection. It ended up being an excellent choice. Here's to the Stingmeister! (Never choose "Every Breath You Take," however. Listen to the lyrics!)

The Web also helped us find the perfect wedding favors. Don't you hate the standard favors that just collect dust or sit in a box after the wedding? Then go to Here She Is. This company takes Hershey's chocolate bars and gives them new, personalized wrappings. Finally, a wedding favor that's yummy!

My advice to you: Don't elope. Planning a wedding is expensive, no doubt about it. When done right, though, a wedding and the reception are a blast! These sites and the ones listed below can help you plan a wedding sensibly and with little stress. (Hey, let's be frank; there's no way to completely remove stress from a wedding!) No matter what you do, remember that the wedding is YOUR day, designed especially for the bride and groom. As long as the two of you are happy and comfortable with your decisions, that's all that matters.

--Ken Hart, who made sure the DJ played lots of B-52s

Other wedding sites:
  • I Thee Web
  • WayCool Weddings
  • Wedding...go, Grrl!
  • UnGroom'd: "the men's perspective"
  • Wedding Music Information Source
  • Massachusetts Wedding Guide
  • RadioPro Mobile DeeJays' Event Planner
  • John Christian wedding bands
  • Wedding Orders HQ
  • "Apocalypse Vow": true tales of woe and chaos
  • Baskets Abound

    Brain Droppings
    Which of these songs would you like to have played for your wedding's first dance?
    "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers
    "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel
    "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" by Barry White

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