Using the digital age to help with your big day
By Cheryl Kimball
Photo by Alexandra Roberts
The Digital Age is winding its way through every aspect of contemporary life, including weddings. Some of it can be great—time saving, eye popping, or simply unique. Some of it can be less-than-special. And some of it can be counterproductive. Ultimately, individual taste rules—one couple might find an electronic invitation perfectly charming while another may feel it the most impersonal thing they have ever encountered.
One thing is certain: Do not let electronics take the place of wedding professionals. A photographer,a DJ, a stationer bring more than simply snapshots, music, and paper goods to your wedding— they bring artistry.
From the wedding vendor point of view, wedding planner extraordinaire and Seacoast Bride advisory board member, Kate Parker, says that the exploding Digital Age has allowed clients to be in much closer touch with their vendors than ever before. Your vendors will set limits, however—you may be able to text your florist at midnight with some can’t-wait question, but don’t expect a reply until business hours the next day.
Electronics also allow some simplication of complex components of a wedding—and allows for easier incorporation of changes. For example, Kate has done seating plans and other tasks on everything from an iPad to a smartphone.
Like most things involving your wedding, you as a couple need to feel comfortable deciding what parts of your special day you would like the Digital Age to touch and what parts you would like to do the old-fashioned way. With this article, Seacoast Bride can help you decide when perhaps a little of both might be just the thing!
Also, beware of the overwhelming nature and lack of personal backup of the internet. “There are too many options with not enough explanation— often you can’t do what you are seeing,” cautions Kate. And it may be for some simple behind-thescene reason, like a flower selection shown i Bermuda in April that your florist knows won’t survive at your July wedding in Atlanta.
The constant barrage of new information from the internet is not always useful, explains Kate. “The internet makes it more difficult, instead of easier, to make choices. You make a decision and then you are always second guessing yourself” as you continue to surf the internet. To avoid this experience, once you’ve made a decision, move on and search the net about other aspects of the wedding.
Your wedding website can create e-invitations, Save the Date cards and emails, and provide online RSVP. Out-of-town guests can visit your wedding website and find out details about your venue, local accommodations, events and attractions in the area, and of course, directions. You can entertain your family and friends with a blog about your wedding preparations.
Most sites have planning capabilities. Many wedding websites also include the ability to create a gift registry. Most allow you some level of customization of their templates, incorporating your chosen wedding color scheme and your personal design style. All this has the additional advantage of being environmentally conscious and incredibly inexpensive.
Emailing some parts of the invitation can help with costs. For example, if you choose to have a printed invitation mailed to your guest list, you can avoid the additional expense of an RSVP card, envelope, and return postage as well as extra postage for the bulk of the invitation, by indicating to RSVP via your email address—be sure to include a phone number for those guests who are not computer savvy. Also, these days you can save on a directions card since your electronic-savvy guests will find their way via GPS or an online mapping site (be sure to print the full street address of your ceremony and reception venues). Don’t forget, when those non-electronic types call you with their RSVPs, ask if they would like you to mail them detailed directions!
Don’t think that an electronic invitation has to be boring. Customizing is the name of the game and even some of the templates available offer sophisticated designs.
Of course, just because you can do invitations digitally, doesn’t mean you have to! Consider using some of the savings that the Digital Age provides to invest in an elegant letterpress invitation to be mailed the old-fashioned way.
Besides the artistry and aesthetic of having a live musician, band, or DJ, these vendors are also working members of your wedding celebration. An iPod needs someone to push the on button, change the playlist, troubleshoot if something isn’t working quite right. Do you ask a guest to do that? “Absolutely not,” says Kate. “Your guests should be having fun, not working. “I am anti-iPod for weddings,” she continues. “Can you do it? Yes. Should you? No.”
Besides the digital camera itself, the other area in which electronics have changed wedding photography is in the creation of the album. Nadra has changed the album product she offers to adapt to some of the changes brought about by the Digital Age. “Couples can take the hi-res photos and create their own album,” she says, “but I charge more for those photos in a standalone format. If they buy an album that I create, they get those files at a reduced cost.”
Nadra will create a digital album and/or a print album. The print album is an interesting reflection of her creative use of digital photography. “As good as digital is, film creates a unique image,” she explains. So when she is creating a print album, she limits what she will do for image altering. “If it couldn’t have been created in a darkroom, I don’t create it.” Those are the artistic choices you get from the human photographer, not from the electronic equipment.
Clarify your priorities, both financial and personal, and then employ electronics when it is truly the best choice for your wedding.
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