Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Massachusetts Wedding Planning Help: Trying a Wedding Planning Website

I needed a distraction from the heartache of losing out on my dream wedding venue.  I decided it was time to check out a popular wedding planning website.

I already learned a lot from more than one wedding planning website.  Previously I found:

  • Ideas on what to do at a wedding reception other than dancing 
  • Inspiration for wedding color palettes  
  • Budget calculators that broke components of my budget down into percentages for me
  • Locations of local venues and their open house days
  • Sign ups for bridal show expo mailings  
  • Wedding planning “to do” lists and timelines
  • A free ring sizer 
  • Which flowers are in season and wouldn’t wilt for an August wedding 
  • A huge wedding dress sale thanks to a bridal shop mailing list I was on 
I never would have figured this out on my own.

    But now that I had the basics and new what stuff and money was needed for planning a wedding, I decided to check out the forums on the wedding planning website I picked.  What I really wanted now were some specific suggestions on good vendors.  I liked the caterer, bakerphotographer, dress shop, and tuxedo rental place that I’d found.  But not only did I want to check up on them before I had to book (just in CASE my gut instinct was wrong) I also wanted to find local:
    • Classical wedding musicians
    • Seamstresses
    • Makeup artists
    • Hair dressers
    • Florists for weddings
    I thought I was going to get advice about local vendors and venues, but it wasn’t quite as localized as I hoped.  This was around the time I started the idea for this blog.  I’d already done some research and learned a lot.  And since this REALLY popular website was lacking in that area, maybe I could fill a need on these big wide internets.  So I started this blog as a wedding planning website, so that if you’re planning a wedding in Massachusetts, hopefully it will be helpful for you.

    That’s not to say I didn’t learn a LOT on this particular popular wedding planning website.  These ladies had a lot of experience and a lot of opinions.  It was just a little more…personal.  They talked about mother in law problems, (and mother problems) wedding dress advice, and jewelry suggestions.  So, stuff that any bride could relate to, and benefit from, not just brides here in Massachusetts.

    But they also seemed to worry a lot about stuff that I didn’t hadn’t really thought about.  I’ve learned a lot about wedding etiquette that I just never would have imagined before.  Some made me think twice about what I planned for my wedding.  Most of it has just added to my wedding planning stress.

    • Getting a “better” engagement ring to replace the first one What?!  There’s an interesting way to emasculate your future husband.  Maybe that's easy for me to say because Adam brought me to pick mine out, but still.  Ouch. 
    • Save The Dates  The first time I read about giving guests STDs I was appalled, but later learned that it is the norm to sent out pre-invitations called “Save the Dates.” Apparently this invitation gives only the date but not the location and time. Then a second invitation will give the location and time. Why is this necessary? Do people set a date before they have a venue booked? That’s the only reason I can think why this is necessary. I don’t think I need to follow this rule, however, since my guest list is so small Adam and I can easily tell them through word of mouth.
    • Wedding shoes I kind of thought the dress would cover my feet pretty well, but apparently photographers take pictures of the shoes alone, or with the ring around the stiletto heel.
    • Getting a second wedding dress Why would I want a separate one for the reception?  I’m paying more for the gown than I ever paid for a dress before.  I’m going to wear it for as long as possible!
    • Heavy Drinking  Apparently, many people expect lots of alcohol to be served at a wedding.  Now, I’m not a big drinker, and neither is Adam.  I planned on having champagne because it’s elegant, and I’ll never get more elegant than the big white wedding gown.  But having a full open bar?  Not something I planned on.  I am the last person to think about a drink (any drink, I don’t even get a soda with my meals when I get fast food) so I guess I thought wine with dinner, champagne toast, but after that…I didn’t think.
    And other stuff like that just made me feel more overwhelmed instead of helping me.

    But it wasn't just the superfluous stuff they agonized over that I found stressful.  They also fought passionately on this wedding planning website over things like whether it’s tacky to serve sandwiches at a wedding, or if it’s all about what works/pleases the couple.  They ripped into vendors, even those who posted on seemingly appropriate threads.  They aired their personal issues, and they told these poor young girls that they didn’t understand what marriage is about; they clearly just wanted to wear a white dress to a big fancy party.

    I stayed on for a while, hoping to learn more tips from this wedding planning website, but in the end it was clear.  This was dominated by a handful of women who were already married, and for some reason stayed on to let everyone else know if they're doing it right or wrong.  I felt pretty uncomfortable posting on that wedding planning website since I felt like I was in the minority on a number of issues.  Some of them pretty personal.  But I did learn things along the way.  Even if a lot of what I learned was that even though I thought I wanted my wedding to be traditional, there were a lot of traditional things that didn’t seem to fit me.  I guess I want it to LOOK traditional, but I’ll be breaking tradition in order to simplify.  At least I was learning what I don’t like well in advance of having to commit to anything.

    Since it’s not time for me to book anything, I still have lots of time to really judge for myself which suggestions to pass on, and which to take to heart.  Readers, are there any wedding traditions that you decided you just don’t need to bother with, and why?


    1. I think I know which site you're talking about - which is why I love WeddingBee - unless you're talking about wedding bee in which case nevermind. LOL

      I'm not touching the ring thing or the 2nd dress - that's just redic to me, but to each his own, right? I don't get why you need STD's either. I was going to nix them too but the only reason we sent ours out is because we're getting married on a holiday weekend and we didn't want folks to make plans. We didn't send them to everyone either. Mr. B & I come from large families and large groups of friends who are big drinkers - I think it just depends on your social circle. We're not doing the guest book or flower/garter toss. I wanted to ditch the favors too but that didn't go over well with mom.

      Definitely make up your own mind and don't worry about the "invisibles" on chat boards. They're not gonna be at your wedding girl, so who cares what they think? ;)

    2. Dancy, I have not checked out WeddingBee yet! So no, not the one I was talking about. I'll have to give them a whirl sometime.

      And yes, to each his own, I didn't mean to come across as harsh, I just feel like sometimes we create unnecessary stress in life, and wedding planning seems to have SO many unnecessary stresses. And hey, maybe someone else will come on here and think "I could care less about what flowers will wilt in August, silks are easier" and power to them for not worrying about that like I do! I guess I'm just trying to say: brides, prioritize :)

      I'm not doing a flower/garter toss either. And I was thinking of doing an alternative to a guest book (like signing a platter) but I'm starting to waiver on that because I've seen a cute photo guest book on my blogging travels that appeals to me.

    3. Very fun read! Unless you've got one the most persistent characteristics of self assuredness, I think every bride is going to feel a little discouraged/unsure about something she's doing that "everyone else" doesn't seem to be a fan of. I'm not doing some traditional things, and I'm not doing some very up and coming popular things either. I just hope at the end of the day, what I do choose will satisfy me. I am worried a little, but I hope it all works out.

    4. One of the nice things about being an "old" bride is I don't worry as much as I might have when I was younger, hehe.

      Most of the stuff I plan on, I don't think will bother or surprise my friends or family. My mom's supportive of whatever. And her opinion counts more than forumites!

    5. We ended up having alcohol left over at our reception. Just get what you want. And I think Champagne is elegant too!

    6. I love reading thise :) You are too cute!
      Let me first start by saying that you can find GREAT classical musicians by checking with your local symphony. They usually have people willing to work on the side (thats what I did), they are usually reasonable and you know what you're getting.

      Thanks for the SUPER SWEET comment on my blog :)

      As far as the alcohol goes....DH and I are not big drinkers either so we just went with beer and wine, all of our guests drank it and they didn't complain and had a GREAT time.

    7. Hi Amber, yes, it is hard to find local resources but thank goodness we live in the age of search engines. I found our restaurant for the reception through indiebride I think after googling "affordable nyc venues" or something. I did a post about Priscilla of Boston's Mass. warehouse sale. I went to the NYC one last year and it was crazy what you could for under $1000 for as low as $200 - $500.

      To each their own - we didn't do a DJ, table seating or centerpieces. I made a lot of stuff too - invitations, veil, programs, and favors. I am also guilty of the second dress - this is because I had a dream fabric and designer (alencon lace, Monique Lhuillier) and found a dress on eBay for 90% off. It was much lighter and worked well for the reception. I was super happy with my decision and now have to remember to sell it!

      p.s. The fit flop sandals are made of some harder material (not foam) so I think it will last a while!

    8. we're doing beer and wine. for people who have an issue with that, get over it and hit up a local bar. otherwise, deal with it :)

    9. Yeah, see, just beer and wine sounds good to me. I'll do Sangria too, because I like to make it and it's yummy :D

      And thanks, My Dream Ring, I will definitely look into local symphonies. I've been really torn between the sensibility of a single guitarist which would be cheap, and a trio, which costs so much more :( If I can find a good group at that guitarist price, I'll be so thrilled.

    10. My fiance is a classical/Spanish wedding guitarist -- and yes, it's often more inexpensive to hire a soloist like him vs. a trio. If you have a local music conservatory, I'd ask them too. Often, the graduate students will gig for much less $$.


    I love comments, so please let me know what you think of my finds, or if you have any additional wedding tips for me!

    Readers, what is your relationship status?