The online editor of GadgetGuy is getting married, and while you can say congratulations, he wanted to take the time to show just how technologically involved he has made the wedding, from the e-invites to a 3D plan to keeping the kids busy, and you can, too.
“See, this is what happens when a tech journo plans a wedding,” said Dave Jensen, a former technology journalist and friend of mine, which he said the moment I pulled out just one of the tech savvy things I had created for my wedding.
There has been a lot of work done for this wedding, and a lot of it — most of it, actually — is something my partner can have attributed to her.
But not the tech angle. That’s me, and if you’ve seen how we embrace technology at GadgetGuy, you can imagine how much technology we can use when we’re planning a wedding, because everything — from the invites to the social media to the whole where things go side of things — has had a hand of technology.
This is my tech savvy wedding, and this is how you can make yours tech savvy, too.
Build a website
The first thing we wanted to do was build a website because frankly we wanted to share our special day with everyone, and provide directions and information to the event for people who were coming.
But building a website can often be labelled as hard, complicated, and expensive work, generally left for people who know how to do this thing.
Well yes, you can go down that route, and as a former web developer (this journalist is now mostly a fiddler, but does like to code for fun, as you do), he likes to find paths for everyone that can act as good starting points, but what exactly is a good starting point for a website out of nothing?
For those not aware of what WordPress is, think of it as a small program like Word that makes websites, only it runs on web hosts and stores your information in a database, creating webpages and putting all the images, text, audio, video, and anything else into the page when a web browser calls on it.
WordPress is one of many applications called a “Content Management System” or CMS, and hundreds of websites use it, as it gives them a way of entering information without issues and having the CMS spit the code out for viewing by people, saving time and being fairly easy to update.
WordPress is free and used by bloggers, publishers, businesses, creative-types, and plenty of others, and for this wedding, we figured we’d use it because it grants easy access for the creation of a webpage, especially when you can look for and purchase a pre-made theme that sets up the look of a page, with your part basically filling it in with information.
People that know what they’re doing who already have web space, possibly a domain name, and the skills to pay the bills will know how to make or find a theme quickly, but we’re going to assume most don’t, and so we need a quick and easy solution.
For that, WordPress has free accounts where by WordPress itself hosts a blog for you to fill in the information you need and even change the look quickly and easily. Some of these looks — called “themes” — may cost money, especially if they’re overly complicated and look like magazines, but the reason we’re suggesting WordPress comes from the easy URL the system can create for you, and the fact that you can do it all on the cheap, so much that cheap translates to “free”.
From here, you can create pages with an RSVP contact form, add special options such as a calendar or widget for saying how many days are left, and even leave a guestbook if you so choose.
And if you have your own web space and skills — or know someone who can do that for you — a few hours of work can net you a unique look and some custom things such as an audio playlist, lots of images in a gallery, maps with StreetView, and so much more.
You start the wedding with some planning, and in that planning, you have the best intentions.
You say “why don’t we do something semi-environmental and embrace the fact that everyone has a phone and/or computer and make the RSVP totally electronic.”
It sounds like a good idea, too. No more RSVPs lost to the inadequacies of the local or international postal systems, and no chance the neighbour will accidentally pick up your mail and just forget to tell you.
And everyone does have means to access the world wide web in some form. I mean, my grandmother does it, and aside for LEAVING CAPS LOCK ON ALL THE TIME, she’s doing a fantastic job of navigating the information superhighway for someone into her eighties.
So on our invites, we encouraged people to use the website to send RSVPs because that wasn’t just more convenient (we thought) and wasn’t just going to save a tree or two, but also meant there was no chance the RSVP would get lost in the mail. Consequently, using a website also meant we could compile the list automatically from its database, exporting it to Excel and viewing the amount of people in an easy to read list.
But things don’t always work out, and it’s not really to any fault of your own. Rather, it’s more one of those things that people won’t always get, and will resort to the tried and trusted method of calling you up.
Even though you can build a system for online RSVPs and invites, our test seemed to show that maybe 30 percent of people will use it, with the remainder calling or emailing you to RSVP, and even though we all use technology — and we tested our RSVP system so it was easy to use — people still won’t.
If you’re contemplating using an electronic RSVP system for a wedding, we’d probably make it an email-based one, with a phone number provided alongside, as this will more than likely get used, and won’t result in people being confused.