Tag Archives: wedsite

My adventures in venue booking, Part 1

Booking the venue must be the biggest piece of the wedding planning puzzle. It’s just as well we have to do it upfront in the wedding planning timeline, while our momentum is somewhat fresh. Now that I’ve done it, set up our wedsite, and emailed everyone the link, I feel like I’ve been rushing and now I get a reprieve. For a moment in there, it was getting confusing and pressurey.What I’ve learnt so far is that it really, REALLY helps to do your thinking before you’re in the midst of actually making the choices, because it’s really easy to lose your perspective about what you need, what you want, and what you think you want.

So the way to go about venue finding is this: 1. Set your parameters, 2. Attempt to find places that fit these parameters. 3. Either find no places fitting criteria, and panic, or find multiple places fitting criteria, and experience the anxiety of too much choice. 4. Adjust paremeters accordingly, either tightening or relaxing. 5. Book it and feel grateful this process is over.

How it went for us is that first we decided it needs to be in Southeast Asia. And then we were like, tropical island beach party, hell yeah! Cue visions of a perfect day at the beach that happens to be kicked off with a marriage ceremony. And then followed up by dancing on the sand round a bonfire. That’s basically a life long fantasy right there.

After investigating the nearest beach holiday places to us, and toying breifly with the Philippines (so affordable!), we figured out that it needs to be on the island of Bintan, purely because it’s the one easiest to get to from Singapore. Practicality won out. I feel bad enough asking everyone to come here in the first place, and getting them to travel on to Malaysia or Philippines or Bali, all half day excursions/flights at best, was too much. Bintan is only 45 minutes away by ferry!

So the parameters tightened: it had to be on this island. At this point, I was still thinking about maybe finding a holiday beach house to rent, one that’s right next to the sand, and having our wedding be an awesome beachy house party. If we had a kitchen, we could cater the stupid thing ourselves! Turns out though, that’s not how holidaying works in this part of the world. There aren’t holiday towns with holiday houses. There are resorts. You know, where the wealthier expats can play on constructed beaches, safely secluded from the actual day to day life of the locals. Sigh, I have my philsophical disagreements for sure. Anyway, so things really narrowed down now, because there are only a few resorts on Bintan.

After weeding out the ones that don’t do events, or are way too pricey, we were left with just two options. This is the juncture in wedding planning where you start to freak out that the criteria you’ve established can’t be met with the budget you have. What if both of these options turned out to be too much? The rubber was about to hit the road. Enquiries were emailed.

The first venue wrote back saying Yep! No worries! $90 per person, plus tax and tips. And also that doesn’t include drinks. And then I went Noooo! My dreams, they die! Also this venue emailed me a video clip of a wedding they’d hosted, and it was all waiters walking around with trays, and fancy tables and chairs, and people wearing formal clothes, and no actual beach fun-having.

I realised I needed to make both venues understand that we didn’t want your typical fancypants Asian wedding, so I requested in person meetings with both so that I could say No seriously, Don’t even think of this as a wedding. It’s really just a casual beach party, with not even that many people. I was getting really worried they wouldn’t be able to go low enough, so I was really aiming to sell the whole no-big-deal-ness of it all.

OMG CLIFF HANGER. Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

If you’re having a wedsite, it may as well be free (plus some wedding blogdom commentary)

Wedsites have been on my mind a bit lately. As I mentioned before, the cool thing about this modern wedding necessity is that it doesn’t have to cost you anything. A recent wedding innovation that is not about increasing consumption! It’s not hard to find free wedding websites that have all the functions you need. This is one of the very best things about the internet – people put stuff out there for free, and it just makes all our lives better. Sometimes I feel all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about that, and it restores my faith in humanity (not joking).

Meanwhile, of course, there are plenty of people online hawking non-free wedsites. Why in the world would you possibly choose to pay for something when you can easily get a just-as-good version for nothing? The only reason I can think of is that the specific graphic design is REALLY important to you. That, and/or you are sold on the brand of the website promoting it. Or maybe you don’t know how to google the words “free wedding website”.

So let’s make clear that the graphic design of your wedsite will not affect anything about your wedding day. But maybe you’re just into that stuff anyway, and also you cannot find something from the 129 designs on weddingwire that satisfies your need for good design. Fair enough. I hope your wedding budget can take it. Except if you’re like most people, you probably can barely afford your wedding, or you’re actively not affording it (*points at self*). So I’m going to just say it: paying for the design of your wedsite is unrealistic for most people.

Of course APW have just announced a collaboration that sees APW selling wedsites. You know, for money. This has always bothered me about APW, as you guys know: the simultaneous anti-WIC preaching and advertising of expensive wedding shit. Once upon a APW comment thread, Meg explained her rationale:

Here at APW we talk a lot about making a wedding budget that is created around  what makes you happy. IE, do what you love and ditch the rest. I (to my great  surprise) cared a lot about creating custom invitations, which we did with help.  That excited me, but I was willing to totally ditch a lot of other things, (no  DJ, no florist, no favors, no night wedding, etc.) to help make that happen. I  spent on what I loved, and got rid of the other stuff all together.

Well, I’m not buying it. The idea of choosing to spend more on things that are important to you is not revolutionary, it is the everyday life of all adults. So that is really not the point. It’s also not a question of choosing which luxuries you will include: I’ve looked up the stats and run the damn numbers, and most people are struggling just to figure out how to afford the basics (venue to fit people, refreshments to give them). Does no one else get frustrated about the disconnect in APW’s messages?

Argh, I feel like I could talk in circles for hours about APW. I have mixed feelings about it, because some of the content there is actually valuable. Plenty of people see no problems at all though, and it’s interesting to watch how the brand of Meg herself is a central part of APW’s business model. The fact that a business based on weddings can write a whole slew of posts about Amtrak, and people find it relevant and interesting, is testament to the fact that for a lot of readers, APW is about Meg, and not necessarily weddings. I think this is key in the other stuff APW gets away with, like repeatedly asking people to buy the book both online on the release date as well as on the book tour.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the reaction to APW selling unnecesary wedding shit is nothing but one of support (I’m looking at you Rogue!), but I am disappointed. Anywho, here is a list of places where you can get FREE wedding websites that will do what you need, and that make me feel like the world is a wonderful place:

www.mywedding.com
www.projectwedding.com
www.bigdaypage.com
www.weddingwire.com
www.weddingannouncer.com

PS. Rogue, I still love you.

You probably need a wedsite

First, an update: Yay we have found a venue and set a date, you guys! Nothing has been officially signed yet, and we still have some details to hash out (primarily menu stuff), but it’s definitely happening on that date and in that place. I’ll write about the process in a future post, but basically, oh man was it a relief to find a place that could do what we wanted at a reasonable budget. I’m so excited knowing that it’s actually possible now. When I received the quotes that made me happy, I told my dad and instead of getting psyched he reiterated the importance of not cheaping out the guests. Dad I promise everyone will have plenty to eat and drink, ok? I think the poor guy is maybe a little in shock at the extent to which I’m willing to pare things down, and bears pretty patiently the fact that I don’t want a Wedding Dress. So maybe he’s allowed concerns about food 🙂

So I’m preparing to send out the STDs mass email to all the guests so they can start booking flights and so on. And there will be a lot of questions. I can see them now:
Where can we stay?
How do we get there?
Do I need a visa?
Just exactly how ridiculously hot and humid is it, over there?
Will it be monsoon season? What happens in monsoon season?
What should we wear?

Back in the days when people lived in the same town as everyone they knew, these questions would have mostly been non-existent. And if there were any questions (What present should we give you?), Miss Manners tells me this kind of stuff was handled by the guest asking the mother of the bride. Especially when it comes to gifts, there was this system of discreetly approaching someone close to the couple. Kind of like how your Mom discusses with you what to get your fiancé for Christmas. It’s a very civilised practice, relieving the giver from admitting to the recipient they’re not sure what to get them, and relieving the recipient from the rudeness of demanding something from the giver. Win win.

But alas, here we are with our darn modern lives again, having friends and family in places other than the same town we live in, dammit. So, many questions will happen. And each person asking them will all be given the same answers. It just makes a crapload of sense to put this information together for people to check on at their convenience. Hence, wedding websites.

Wedding websites are in the same category as save-the-dates*: a recent wedding innovation that actually makes sense, but is very vulnerable at this cultural juncture to getting out of hand and being more stupid than useful.

For instance, a wedding is not a PR event. Not a PR event. Not a PR event. Here are some things that are not required at things that aren’t PR events:

  • branding
  • a background story about how the company was founded how you met
  • profiles of the keynote speakers people getting married
  • how to make donations to the charity people adult enough to get married

The people you invited already know who you are. Frankly, to imply otherwise is kind of weird and alienating, no? The wedsite should be for logistical purposes only. It is not a branding exercise. But probably, if you have lots of traveling guests, it’s a good idea to have one.

The good news, wedding websites are free! Yay! Offbeat Bride for example offers several templates. 

If you were going to have a registry, this would probably be the place to tuck that information, in as non-obnoxious a way as you can think of. To be honest my jury is still out on that one, but I lean heavily towards no registry – we’re asking people to travel, for goodness sake, plus they’ll be obliged to spend the night at a resort of my choosing. I think that seriously maxes out my demand quota.

Ok, I’m going to go ahead now and spend some time putting our wed site together, so the link is ready dissemination when we email everyone the date. Yay! We have a date!

*Does that term need hyphens or not? Kindly place your vote.