Bride Vs Groom » Wedding Experiences & Guidance for the Bride & Groom

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matt-avatar WhitenedLet’s face it, these days pretty much everything is done online and the latest craze to grip the wedding world seems to be the wedding website – you and your guest’s one stop hub to find out everything they need to know about your wedding. When wedding websites first started to appear I have to confess we were a little sceptical, after all building a full-blown website is a lot of work and whilst we could see how things like online RSVP’s might save a bit of time (as well as a small forest), surely this kind of thing could just as easily be done on Facebook where all of our friends are already easy to find (even if a Facebook message is perhaps a little impersonal despite its simple practicality!) and overall having a website just seemed like one more potentially costly and definitely time consuming thing to think about.

However, as the web marches boldly on and building websites has gradually become a little simpler we thought it was time to revisit the subject, particularly as a simple search for “wedding websites” now reveals all kinds of new options that previously hadn’t existed in creating a very quick, very simple website that even the most fearful of web design can handle. Rather than have to get familiar with blogging templates like wordpress or the many and varied custom website builders which are supposedly simple but can be a little pricey, nowadays various companies are offering excellent (and free) ways of building a specific wedding website which comes pre-equipped to help you with everything from sending out RSVP’s to providing maps of venues and local accommodation, to creating a guest book to providing space for guests to upload their photos and videos of the day to helping you to create your table plan and notify the guests of where they’re sitting online rather than all scrabbling to see the seating plan on the day!

So to find out just how quick and simple it really was we thought we’d have a go and see for ourselves just how quickly we could have our own wedding website and what exactly it offered.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 16.09.54As we’ve already mentioned there are dozens of different companies offering ways to create your customised wedding website and we definitely recommend you look around and see what each offers before you decide where to build your website as they will not all be offering the same options and some may well charge. We’ll probably take look at more examples in the future, but for the purposes of today’s quick experiment we chose one of the most popular: Zankyou.com

We chose zankyou primarily because it was free and appeared to offer a variety of looks, and indeed it was extremely quick and simple to create an account and get started. We’re pretty picky on how websites should look and we liked the clean layout and simple backgrounds. This is in no way meant to be a review of Zankyou so we won’t go into all of the details but we were very impressed with how simple it was to understand the user interface and the various easy-to-access options that it provided us with.

After creating a simple homepage which allowed us to upload photos, videos and even google maps to show people where the wedding would be taking place, we took a look at some of the other options available. We were pleased that we were able to create a guest list which could be stored and used to create RSVP’s, notify guests of updates to the site and even create a table plan – incredibly handy for us (particularly as we could simply cross check whether the tables were actually full according to who had RSVP’d and we could share the information with the guests themselves so that they could check via their mobiles exactly where they would be sitting. We could include an itinerary of the day with clear timings and maps of how to get there and it even allowed us to show hotels near to our venue – incredibly helpful for anyone looking to stay over and I daresay we could have marked parking spaces on as well if we had wished.

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As well as helpful features for the lead-up to the day the website also included features for after the wedding including a guest-book and an area to upload photos and videos. Another very helpful feature is that the website can manage your guest-list and even allow guests to make financial contributions towards your honeymoon or even towards a fund for house ware rather than everyone buying you that same toaster!

Overall I was extremely impressed with what we were able to do in a very short space of time (we set up our site with some basic info in around half an hour, although as ours was a made up wedding it may take a little longer to fill in the actual details!) and we can definitely see how, once set-up it would be a great resource for both the guests and the bride and groom. We may at some point do a more in-depth review of some of the options available to you both from zankyou and other companies, but for now please feel free to browse our very quickly composed demo wedding website to see the kind of options that are available to you if you’re looking to create a no-hassle wedding website of your own via the link below:

http://bridevsgroom.zankyou.com/uk
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matt-avatar WhitenedIMPORTANT NEWS FLASH: It’s NOT the most wonderful time of the year… yet.

Now I am perhaps the biggest fan of Christmas since 3 wise men decided it was important enough to travel hundreds of miles for the party bearing gifts that were both stupidly heavy and grossly inappropriate for a newborn baby. It’s by far my favourite time of year and come the 1st of December I will be Decking the Halls like Holly’s going out of fashion and rockin’ around the Christmas Tree until it inevitably falls over and crushes me. Yes I really do adore Christmastime but one thing I don’t do is wish it could be Christmas every day.

As I write this I am surrounded by a flurry of Christmas decorations as my in-laws start some early pre-christmas decoration. Now in this particular case I’m willing to give them a pass as they plan to be away at the time they would normally decorate and so early decoration is necessary, but as for anyone else jumping the gun, there’s not long to go now so hold your reindeer!

Very soon you can don those Christmas jumpers, watch festive films all day long and sing carols to your heart’s content. I will be right there with you jumping off the walls with excitement, rushing to find a tree suitably tall to fill most of my living room and decorating Dom with tinsel in the traditional manner. Until then though please excuse me whilst I munch through a bag of humbugs and temporarily route for the Grinch. November? Bah, Humbug!

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We love seeing kids at weddings, their reactions are priceless, their energy boundless and their fascination in even the simplest of objects inspiring. Today’s story frame shows the gorgeous moment this little bridesmaid became rather transfixed by one of the wedding favours that had fallen onto the dance floor. This and many more incredibly cute moments were to follow!

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Coming up with an original and entertaining speech is no simple business. No-one wants to hear the same old jokes and let’s face it, unless you were there or can at least see the evidence that provides the punchline to many of the stories between groom and best man, sometimes they’re just too personal to really work as part of a public speech. To get around these problems many wedding speakers have turned to technology to give them a little visual or audio aid to lift their speech and help make it truly unforgettable. But is the use of technology in a speech the way to go or is it better to keep things a little more pure and simple? Let’s see what our debaters have to say on the matter!

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In the Red Corner, arguing against the use of technology in the speeches, probably because it sounds like another reason for people to get their iPads out and block their faces from the pictures, it’s Dom “The Tog Bride”

In the Blue Corner, arguing for the use of technology in the speeches, despite public speaker’s use of technology generally being the bane of his former life as a theatre and events technician when it all went wrong, it’s Matt “The Gormless Groom”

The Speeches – Integrating Technology Vs Keeping it Simple

FIGHT!!!

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Dom: The best speeches don’t need any distracting visuals or sound effects, if you can get the right balance of humour, emotion and real stories into your speech it will be far more compelling than looking at some pictures on a screen.

Matt: If you’re not a confident speaker then technology can really help you to create a brilliant speech without the need for too much public speaking! Create a video, show some pictures, create some simple animations to make the jokes for you, tell stories nicely and earnestly to your audience whilst the screen behind you shows the real (more embarrassing) story behind what you’re saying. There’s all kinds of things you can do that will make your speech long-remembered for even the most nervous of speakers.

Dom: Technology frequently goes wrong. Probably half of the time we’ve seen technology used there’s been some sort of problem, whether it be sound missing from a video or something going out of sequence. If the technology doesn’t work and you’ve based your speech around it it can leave you with nothing to say which is far worse than just not using it in the first place.

Matt: Yes technology can go wrong but there’s no reason to if carefully thought about and well rehearsed. And if used right it can help you to create a seamless speech that is completely different from anything the guests have seen before and can go down an absolute storm. Lots of what might be your best stories might just not make sense to those that weren’t there without some sort of visual reference. Using images on screens behind you can provide you with the punchlines to your stories and everyone loves seeing pictures from the bride and groom’s past!

Dom: Having things on display or sound coming through can often prove to be distracting rather than an enhancement to a speech and can end up stopping the guests really listening to the speaker.

Matt: Sometimes technology is not just an enhancement to the speech but the very thing that facilitates it. For example if you have a multi-lingual crowd you can have a translation of the speech showing on the screens to allow everyone to enjoy it, or if you have any hearing impaired guests the words can also be displayed. It may even be that one of the speakers has physical difficulties with delivering a long speech but may be able to record all or part of the speech beforehand and play it back in order to still be able to say everything they want to.

Dom: If using technology you or the bride and groom may need to hire in extra equipment which can be very expensive and an extra hassle to set up on the day as well as return afterwards.

Matt: But often that equipment can be utilised for other things during the rest of the day such as showing a photo-slideshow on the screen throughout the day or having guest’s pictures appear on the screen via instagram.

Dom: There are so often problems when you take what looked great at home and try to make it work in a different space and often with different technology. Maybe it sounded loud enough in your room at home but the audio doesn’t carry far enough in a bigger space with a hundred or so guests or the presentation can’t be seen by those at the back. Maybe you’ve created a presentation on a mac but it needs to be played back on PC and the two formats aren’t compatible. Maybe there’s that one vital cable or adaptor missing that you didn’t realise you’d need. Unless you’re a professional, use of presentations with speeches often go wrong for just these reasons.

Matt: Technology use in speeches isn’t limited to putting visuals on a screen, you might want to have a comical lighting effect or have a piece of music strike up to underscore what you’re saying for a bit of a comic montage. There are so many possibilities that technology provide you with.

 

So those are our thoughts but where do you stand? Leave a comment or place your vote below!

The Speeches - Integrating Technology Vs Keeping it Simple
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matt-avatar WhitenedLast week we published some top tips aimed at helping the Mother of the Bride understand her role and how best to help the bride both in the build-up and on the day of her daughters wedding. Today it’s the turn of another key member of the bridal party: The Father of the Bride.

The Father of the Bride undoubtedly has a key role to play in proceedings both before and during the wedding but, much like the mother of the bride, it’s not always an easy role to perform (as demonstrated in the movie “Father of the Bride”!) In the lead up to the wedding your role so often seems to revolve mostly around getting the credit card out again and seeing whether you can take out a mortgage against the garden shed, but on the day the Father of the Bride is one of the most involved and most important figures so here’s our tips to help you get through the big day!

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  • If you’ve agreed to pay for all or part of the wedding then make sure you set a basic budget from the start so that everyone knows where they stand. And remember: painful as it may be, if you are paying then (unless asked otherwise) your job is to stump up the cash, not make the decisions! Give your daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law the freedom to make their own choices but make sure they know you’re available if they need any help with anything – whilst it’s important not to interfere you also don’t want to seem uninterested!
  • If you haven’t already then make sure you invite the groom’s family around for a drink and try to get to know them a little better before the big day. These people are going to be an extended part of your family and so it’s great if you all get along well before the wedding!
  • When writing your speech don’t just look up jokes on the internet, the father of the bride’s speech doesn’t have to be funny and it’s always most effective when you speak from the heart. Your daughter doesn’t want to hear you recite a story you found on google that wasn’t really relevant to her, she wants to hear the way you felt when you saw her in her dress, the stories from her childhood, the moment the groom asked you for your daughter’s hand in marriage, the way you really feel about her. Don’t be afraid to be a little emotional – the best speeches always are!
  • Also on the speech theme, if you’re going to include a list of thank-you’s in your speech then check with the groom first whether he will be doing the same. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with repeating one or two of the really important thanks there’s nothing worse for your audience than hearing the same full list repeated by both of you!
  • On the morning of the wedding without trying to stress anyone out keep an eye on the time! Unless you have a particularly complex grooming ritual then chances are you’re going to be ready before the girls and, in a flurry of hair and makeup, it’s very easy for them to lose track of how long they have left!
  • If it’s all getting a bit too girly for you in the morning then (logistics permitting) go and see the boys for a bit in the morning. Chances are they’re probably relaxing with a pint somewhere whist the girls frantically get ready!
  • Make sure you get your moment to see the Bride for the first time. It’s always such an emotional moment and you need to allow yourself the space and time to take it all in. If possible try not to see your daughter whilst she’s getting ready so that you get the full impact and once again don’t be afraid to let your emotions show.
  • During the day be the co-host to take some of the pressure off the bride and groom. Whilst it was traditionally the F.O.T.B who played host on a wedding day that responsibility has gradually shifted towards the bride and groom themselves so whilst you should certainly welcome all the guests and help with the hosting duties, try not to take centre stage too much!
  • Make sure you get to have your father-daughter first dance. It doesn’t have to be a big public “performance”, if you’d prefer a quiet, more private moment then simply grab your daughter whilst she’s on the dance floor and enjoy your dance together with a little less of the spectacle that an announced father-daughter dance brings with it. If possible though do try to have your dance early in the evening as many photographers/videographers will leave not long after the bride and groom’s first dance and this special moment with your daughter is one that makes some truly beautiful shots on camera.
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