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Going To the Courthouse and We’re Gonna Get Married

Reader Elaine asks:

Can you put together a post with some suggestions of how to make a Justice of the Peace or courthouse marriage a little more special? That would be great (and timely)!

First off, congratulations and best wishes, Elaine, to you and your intended! May your wedding kick off a long and happy marriage.

Now, about that kickoff.

There are plenty of good reasons to choose a courthouse ceremony or one where you go to the JP instead of bringing one to you. It’s fast, it’s inexpensive, it’s fuss-free (or nearly so), and the list goes on. Once you’ve got the marriage license and the appointment, you’re pretty much set as far as the practicalities go.

But you’re looking for more than bare bones, which is what these venues tend to offer. So let’s take a look at what you can do to cover them bones.
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If Mohammed Won’t Come to the Mountain….

… then the mountain must come to Mohammed, right?

And if you’re in Las Vegas and don’t feel like going to the wedding chapel, well, now there’s a wedding chapel on wheels that will come to you.

The Las Vegas Wedding Wagon will meet you anywhere in Sin City to get you hitched for $99.00. Just call or text and tell them where you want to get married. All you need to provide is your own marriage license, and they’ll even help you with getting that on their handy website. Oh, and they do point out the license is unnecessary if you’re having a vow reaffirmation or a commitment ceremony. You only need it if this is a legal wedding ceremony.

Included in the price is a fifteen minute ceremony, the licensed minister, the witness, and up to five candid photographs. But for a little extra, you can buy matching tee shirts, too. There are no hidden fees, they announce on their website, but gratuities are cheerfully accepted if you feel like giving them one.

All in all, I’ve heard a lot worse ideas… like the Vegas firearms shop that features actual shotgun weddings.

I Wonder if Fred and Wilma Got Married Here, Too


Ever dreamed of getting married among the dinosaurs? Apparently Scott and Amanda Peters did more than dream. They got married among the dinos in Cabazon, near Palm Springs, and had their picture taken inside the T-rex head.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m seriously starting to think about springing plots… er… plans for a vow reaffirmation on Mr. Twistie if I can figure out a way to fit this place into the budget for it.

Ten Tips for a Great Outdoor Wedding

I love an outdoor wedding. Heck, I had one myself! In fact, I never once considered having it indoors. Thing is, though, that there are aspects of having an outdoor ceremony and reception that might not jump out at you the instant you have the idea. Don’t panic, though. I’m here to give you some tips to make the whole thing run smoothly.

1. Have a backup plan. Weather is unpredictable. Even in areas where it’s relatively predictable, the unexpected happens. Whether your worry is rain, wind, or lightning, have a way to hold the wedding if the weather doesn’t want to co-operate. The most important thing is that you get married. Getting married where you really want to is the icing on the wedding cake.
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Wedding Websites – No One Has to Click Them, Right?

Once upon a time, the bride and the groom might have their own wedding website if they were web designers, wanted to cough up the dough to have someone design a wedding website for them, or they were content to muck about with a free website that wasn’t wedding-themed, but got the job done. Then came the low-cost customized wedding websites and the free (but still pretty good) wedding websites, and it wasn’t long before having a wedding website wasn’t a novelty, but something every bride and groom ought to do if they love their guests even a little bit.

Full disclosure: I made a wedding website for myself and The Beard, and I wish I could link to it but it’s nowhere to be found. We tossed up a few pics, our non-registry info, directions, and info about hotels, and then we made up a very silly how-we-met story that had people raising their eyebrows. We did not post pictures of ourselves from infancy or give lengthy bios of our wedding party or way too much personal information a la those wacky Christmas letters that let one and all know that Jimmy won his school spelling bee championship!

free wedding websites

Would Double X’s Noreen Malone have approved of our wedding website? Doubtful, considering she simply cannot stand the things.

My roommate and I spent a solid hour on the couch one evening discussing a wedding Web site we’d been sent. The people getting married were strangers, but that didn’t stop me from forwarding it to a friend or two I thought might get a kick out of it. In the months preceding their marriage you can watch the Flash slide show that explains how [Jane and Tim] met while rooting for opposing teams during a Yankees-Red Sox game as many times as you want. But that’s only if you tire of the video showing Jane and Tim lovingly washing their dog, Mr. Snuffles.

Jane and Tim have chosen to color their special story various shades of soft green, with tan accents of faux ribbons, shadowed floral flourishes, and a highly stylized fake script font. The vibe is perhaps meant to be “classy,” but it’s very hard to achieve an understated aesthetic when the message you most want to telegraph is LOOK AT ME. The main page features a black-and-white shot of Tim adoring Jane while she reciprocates with the upturned chin angle that telegraphs true, moony love, taken during the couple’s (extensive) engagement photo shoot. Visitors can choose one of several unrecognizable soft-rock songs while they browse (but no mute button option). There are a grand total of 651 pictures featured—from baby photos to Solo-cup-filled college dorm-room shots to shots of their four—count ‘em—engagement parties.

Instead of being tasteful, utilitarian affairs, these sites inevitably turn into showcases for unbridled narcissism—and open the couple up to a great deal of mockery from friends and strangers alike.

Do you agree? Have you created your own wedding website or paid someone to create it for you? As for my opinion, I think they can be a tad annoying when overdone — autoplay music doesn’t belong anywhere, and I do hope that if I’m attending your wedding I at least have some notion of how you and your intended met — and there are plenty of other ways to find out where a venue is… hello, Google Maps! Still, if your wedding website sucks (which I’m sure none of yours do, natch) then all I have to do is close Firefox and never visit your URL again.

The Element of Surprise?

We get a lot of press releases here at Manolo for the Brides. I mean A LOT of press releases, which is why my inbox is always getting wicked backed up and I am way tardy in answering some reader e-mails. Some of the press releases I receive are appropriately wedding related, while others are kind of pushing the wedding angle just because, hey, weddings are a cash cow.

surprise-wedding

For example, I just received a release informing me that Microsoft Office Live offers “free online tools that can help a bride get organized and stay connected to family and friends during the planning process.” These include a wedding web site, a place to upload wedding details to share with vendors and venues, and a repository for ideas. That’s useful enough, I guess, but what interested me was the justification for needing to use Microsoft Office Live versus, say, Blogger or one of the upteenbillion other free site hosting services.

A new trend that’s emerging is brides who are sharing their wedding details with their bridal party via social networking sites. Sharon Naylor, wedding expert and author of 35 wedding books, says this is not only inefficient, but it ruins the surprise element for guests who have read endless status updates about the coral dresses, the catering plans, etc.

Now I don’t know about you, but I was eager to share my wedding deets with anyone willing to humor me for five minutes to two hours. My wedding gown? It’s gold! My reception venue? My gram’s backyard in Merritt Island, FL! I’d spill the beans about anything and everything because I was proud of my choices. By the time the wedding rolled around, the only thing that was even remotely a secret was my dress, and it was only a secret from The Beard. It never even struck me to want to spring my wedding color scheme or my wedding shoes on unsuspecting guests.

Am I alone in this? You tell me!

(img via — check it out for a different kind of wedding surprise!)

Yet Another Tacky Idea to Help You Have a Wedding You Can’t Afford!

budget_bride

Um…

youbuyMYWEDDING offers a unique service where you can invite your wedding guests to help by paying money for your wedding day expenses instead of buying items from a more traditional gift list – which helps you to have a wedding you can afford and also to avoid starting married life in debt.

Ahahaha, this is a joke site, right? With a name like youbuyMYWEDDING, it has to be satire… Or not. Brides and grooms are supposedly getting older and older, which means that everyone you know who’s getting married probably already has a toaster oven and a spatula set. What they might not have is $30,000 to pay for what is now considered a moderately-priced wedding.

Don’t you just love it when entrepreneurs come up with shady solutions to problems that aren’t really problems*? As you can see, brides and grooms in the UK (who are willing to let 4.75% of their gifts go to administrative costs) can ask their loved ones to contribute to their weddings by paying for things like the wedding gown, the bridesmaids’ bouquets, or the very champagne they’ll drink at the wedding reception. It’s just like a honeymoon registry in almost every respect, except that it’ll make everyone on your guest list look at you a bit funny.

On the surface it sounds very practical and modern and even a little progressive in these woeful economic times, but lordy, it’s not at all in keeping with good etiquette. Were I to receive an invitation to a wedding that I was being asked to pay for, I would give the bride and groom the gift of an RSVP card reading “Declines With Regrets.” That’s just as good as ponying up some cash for the cash bar, after all, because the couple then has one less mouth to feed!

*Don’t have a ton of money to spend on your wedding? Budget wedding tips abound here and elsewhere on the Internet!

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