2009-07-20 08:30:00 by SMARTBRIDE
INSPIRATION: Online and On the Cheap Wedding Planning
As I mentioned in my first post Stick to Your Decisions , I'm not one of those girls who's been planning her wedding since she was old enough to say "bride". Once the initial excitement of being engaged ever-so-slightly settled, the first task on the list of many forthcoming to-dos was to start collecting inspiration.
I managed to wait three whole days before buying my first bridal magazine, but I was completely underwhelmed by what the pages offered. There were gown ads galore and lavish "real weddings" orchestrated by planners and pros - the likes of which I'd never seen, let alone attended. Convinced it was just a bad issue, I bought several more mags. And while I did find a few elements of interest, for the most part they were all sparkle, no substance. Now, not only had I spent $30 of our teeny wedding budget, I wasn't any further ahead on my quest to discover what the wedding of my dreams actually looked like.
Like most newly engaged couples, Adam and I spent the next few days chatting about how we wanted our day to feel: personal, intimate, fun and relaxed. While those words are more than likely the intent of all couples planning a wedding, our discussions confirmed that we had the same vision for the day, even if we didn't yet have any actual visuals. And since we didn't have the budget to hire a wedding planner, nor the desire to leave our day in the hands of a stranger, we also accepted that this would be a very hands-on, DIY wedding.
I hadn't considered that the wedding industry was completely wired, so when I took my search for inspiration online I was amazed at the blogs, resources, ideas and projects I found. Here were the real people and weddings I'd been looking for - not glossy, editorialized versions! It was the complete opposite of what I had experienced flipping through magazines - and, best of all, it didn't cost me anything. SmartBride has a great list of wedding planning resources to get you started on your online inspiration search - once you start reading a few blogs and following links, believe me, you'll have more inspiration than you'll know what to do with! Here are three other web-based applications I found super helpful:
1. Google Documents
The only challenge with finding so much inspiration online was keeping track of it. My bookmarks were out of control and spread across multiple computers, so Adam and I set up files using Google Docs to collaborate on the look and feel of our wedding (you could also use social bookmarking websites, such as del.cio.us . We've created several "digital scrapbooks" - including one for the ceremony, reception, decor and photography - with links to and images of our favourite ideas and projects. These shared documents have proven to be an invaluable part of our planning process. I don't have to worry about keeping him in the loop about what I've seen and he doesn't have to strain his brain trying to understand just what a 3-tiered cake with fondant icing looks like. (I'll share more tips on how to use Google Documents to plan your wedding in an upcoming post).
2. Adobe Kuler Labs.
Your wedding colour scheme will be the springboard for all of the other elements that make up the look and feel of your big day - from decor and flowers to bridesmaid dresses and perhaps even the food. Chances are you already have an idea of what your colours will be - but if you're having trouble sticking to just two hues, have fun exploring Adobe's Kuler. You can search and create new colour themes for a completely customized look. Plus, you'll have all the shades ready to match when it comes time to design and print your invitations and other stationery.
If you need help developing your bridal style, as I did, don't miss Polyvore- a web-based application that allows you to mix and match images from anywhere on the web. A frequent feature on many wedding websites, you might also consider creating your own digital inspiration board as you make decisions regarding the colour scheme, style and overall vibe of your wedding. I used PhotoShop to amalgamate some of my must-haves, but a word processing document works just as well. *And by all means, if you'd rather cut and paste with scissors and glue, a piece of bristol board and a few magazines still work if that's where you've found inspiration.)
Where are you finding inspiration for your wedding?
With wedding season in full swing, we thought it would be fun to have a local bride share with us her tips and tricks on doing more with less leading up to her wedding. Heather Watterworth is a Toronto smart bride knee deep in planning for her upcoming September wedding, and every week she'll be sharing loads of useful information to inspire you as you plan your own wedding.