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Wedding Planning: Tips for Choosing Online Wedding Vendors
If you're looking to the internet for help with your wedding plans, you're sure to benefit from the wealth of organizational and comprehensive wedding tips, ideas, tools and resources available right at your fingertips! The internet is packed with useful websites, as well as online stores offering every wedding product and service imaginable. You'll find everything from wedding invitations, wedding keepsakes and wedding favors to online bridal gift registries, travel agencies for destination weddings and honeymoons, wedding consulting services and much more. To ensure that you can recognize and hire or purchase from qualified wedding vendors, the key is to be aware of a few general guidelines.
First, it's important to understand the two basic kinds of online wedding vendors with whom you may choose to do business with.
Wedding Vendor Type 1) An actual, physical storefront who opts to have a website to further broaden their customer base and supplement their offline business.
+ Possible benefits of this type of wedding vendor: This is a wonderful opportunity for you, as you may familiarize yourself with the wedding vendor's offerings via their website and then choose to drop by their store to have a look around and complete your purchase in person. Or you may do this vice-versa - have a look around their store and then go online to make your purchase. This is a very flexible consumer environment for you, as there can be multiple sources of contact and convenient ways to browse! You can also get a personal feel for the type and level of service you may expect from the wedding vendor and their staff.
- Possible drawbacks to this type of wedding vendor: Though not true or hard to measure in many cases, the wedding vendor with a physical storefront does have the potential to be more expensive. And though the storefront exists, it may not be within reasonable driving distance for you to visit in person and explore.
Wedding Vendor Type 2) A virtual store who deals exclusively online.
+ Possible benefits of this type of wedding vendor: You'll often find a reasonable value for your dollar here, as in many cases, online wedding vendors tend to have lower overhead. As well, take advantage of shopping anytime you feel like it...even if it's the middle of the night!
- Possible drawbacks to this type of wedding vendor: In general, you will never actually meet the wedding vendor with whom you are entrusting a certain aspect of your wedding to. To some brides and grooms, this may be worry-some, for others, not a big deal. Do what feels right for you, as this issue may be dependant upon what item or area of your wedding you are shopping for.
What to Look for in an Online Wedding Vendor:
If applicable, browse through photographs, screenshots, detailed spec lists, virtual tours and any other information provided. When dealing with products specifically, many websites display close-up versions of product pictures, which accurately showcase items from several different angles or viewing points.
Take it a step further and type the appropriate business name or web address into your search engine of choice to spend at least a few minutes paging through the search results on a particular wedding vendor before buying. You may find articles and press releases about the wedding vendor. Even more helpful: you may come across forums or other valuable feedback from brides and grooms who have personally dealt with the wedding vendor.
Keep these general guidelines in mind while shopping online for your wedding, and you'll be ready to make smart, conscientious decisions. When you choose to be informed and aware, you possess savvy online shopper skills that enable you to make the best wedding product or service purchases for you and your dream wedding!
About the Author
Jennifer Benson is Vice President and cofounder of WedQuarters.com Wedding Websites, a leading online wedding service provider. WedQuarters offers complete personal wedding websites, enhanced with dozens of useful and fun features.
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Your Wedding Invitation?s in the (e)Mail: Pros and Cons of the Virtual Wedding Invitation
From purchasing the garter to choosing the photographer, brides (and grooms!) are online and as the Internet's many advantages have begun to permeate most every aspect of wedding planning, a single question has been popping up more and more: can I use the Internet for my wedding invitations? As a wedding website designer I've answered numerous emails from brides asking if an email announcement to visit their wedding website can not just supplement their wedding invitation but actually replace it. It's an interesting idea, one with the potential to save a great deal of time and money. However, one big question remains. Is it acceptable? Considering the potential benefits, it's certainly a question worth asking, and some compelling arguments can be found on both sides. First, consider the many purposes of a wedding invitation. Most obvious is the intent that the recipient understands who is invited. Also important is the inclusion of maps and directions, RSVP information, reply cards and essential wedding details. Furthermore, the wedding invitation is an expression of the couple's personal style and can serve as a memento for friends and family to remember the event. Considering all these essential functions, the question, then, is whether the traditional wedding invitation can be replaced by a simple email invitation to visit the couple's site online. Certainly, a creative and informative wedding website can serve the majority of the purposes mentioned. In fact, wedding details might be more specific and useful on a website given the amount of space that can be afforded an entire page devoted to each subject. One can easily give details and links to important wedding locations, schedules, maps, etc. Also, if the bride and groom are able to create their own site or find a designer they like, they can certainly express their own unique style and theme on a wedding website. But what about the empty space in grandma's album just waiting for her granddaughter's wedding invitation? Here is where an online invitation falls short. One solution, however, could be to purchase or make a wedding CD with the website on it. Technologically hip grandparents can treasure this memento like they would a written invitation (even if it doesn't go well in an album).Still can't decide? Consider some of the pros and cons of the "virtual invitation":Pros:*Save money on wedding invitations (certainly the most compelling argument for many). The cost of an online invitation, including one designed by a reasonably priced professional, should be considerably less than sending written invitations for an average sized wedding when factoring in the cost of the printing, postage, and reply cards.*Save the time of selecting and sending written invitations, especially if you were going to have a wedding website anyway.*Make things a little easier for those guests who already do a great deal online.*Receive RSVP responses via email.*Include links to maps and directions.*Have wedding details laid out for guests to avoid the bother of answering the same questions over and over.*Include important links so guests can find the information they need on such things as local attractions, accommodations, and travel (particularly useful for destination weddings).Cons:*Compiling all of your guests' current email addresses can be a daunting task.*Not everyone is online. Unless you know for a fact that you can get your email invitation to everyone who should receive one, this is not a good option. You never want to offend family and friends when planning a wedding.*Etiquette, etiquette, etiquette. If etiquette is particularly important to you or the people who will be receiving your invitations, this is not the right choice for you.For those who are thinking the whole "virtual invitation" is too drastic a change I suggest a compromise. Many couples are finding that combining the modern with the traditional is the way to go until all their friends and family have caught on to the Internet. The couple's web address can be included in the traditional invitation so their guests can have two sources for wedding information. Also, written invitations can be sent with instructions to RSVP online thus saving the couple time and money for postage and reply cards (with just a slight bend in tradition). In the end, whether it's traditional, modern or modern-traditional, what matters most is that the bride and groom have the wedding they desire. The best advice I can give is don't worry too much about tradition and etiquette; rather, spend the time planning the wedding of your dreams and maybe make some traditions of your own along the way.copyright 2003 Tamara Baker and Celebrate Our Lives Wedding Websites
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