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Previously in Web Citations:

Be Fruitful and Multiply

When it comes to modern reproductive technology, many are turning to the Web for a helping hand.

Democratic Vistas

"I sing the body electric," Walt Whitman wrote. Little did he know what he was prophesying.

Something for Everyone

As more and more live video comes to the Web, there's always something on -- but is there anything to watch?

The Law and Spirit of the Letter

The digital age may (or may not) spell the death of print, but it has breathed new life into the art of type.

Be-In Digital

In some quarters, the spirit of Haight-Ashbury is still kicking. Should we care?

Guiding Light

Outside the Islamic world, the Net can serve as eyes and ears to the faithful.

What Side Are You On?

Order and chaos, right and wrong, good and evil. True believers know what the U.S. v. Microsoft case is really about.

For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.

Modem Bride
March 4, 1999

The Knot When my fiancé proposed in December, my mother started planning the wedding within minutes. Her job might be a lot easier if she ventured onto the Web, which these days offers what could be the most efficient and cheapest way to plan a wedding. Here's some of what's available, divided into a few categories. Don't assume that this covers everything -- there's information out there on even the quirkiest and most unexpected of wedding details.

General: There are several high-budget wedding sites that offer comprehensive planning. At The Knot -- the glitziest of these sites -- you can view 8,000 different wedding dresses, searching by price, neckline, and silhouette; chat live with other nervous brides; and learn from profiles of other weddings. (Articles include "A Highbrow Hoe-down," "An Ancient Greek Wedding," and "Aboard the Love Boat.") Conveniently for the couple and the guests, many sites offer an online registry. At The Knot there are five different categories of gifts to choose from when registering: casual, connoisseur, adventurous, romantic, and cosmopolitan. (Presumably if you think of yourself as an adventurous cosmopolitan connoisseur you can cross-register.) Wedding411 offers a virtual wedding planner, which, among other things, will keep track of RSVPs and will send you daily reminders of your to-do list (enough to drive any bride insane). At the WeddingChannel, you can get a customized list of local caterers, DJ's, florists, reception spots, and more. It is also one of many sites that has a budget planner. You provide some key information about your wedding -- such as how much you're willing to spend and how many people will be invited -- and the planner spits back an allotted amount for each element, down to the last cent. After seeing the numbers in black and white, many brides may wish to repair immediately to the Frugal Weddings page.

The Wedding Channel The Ceremony: Those looking for something beyond the usual "I dos" might want to visit the Medieval and Renaissance Wedding Information Page (which includes information on Viking weddings), or a page listing nontraditional wedding love poems. Choosing the music is also made easy on the Web -- many sites, among them the Ceremony Music Resource Page, offer Real Audio files of various wedding standards.

The Weather: Everyone wants their wedding to be on a sunny day with a crisp blue sky. The WeatherPlanner claims to be able to predict good days and bad up to a year in advance. The cost is a mere $19.95.

Etiquette: Perhaps no social event is accompanied by as many rules of etiquette as a wedding. Luckily, there are many places online where people can seek advice. On Wednet's "Engaging Questions," brides have asked such questions as, "How can I cover my tattoo?," "How can a bride keep from getting lipstick on the groom when they kiss at the end of the ceremony?," "How can I ask my balking boyfriend if our engagement is still on?," and "Is planning a 'millennium wedding' a good idea?" Those who want to learn what not to do at their wedding should visit the Etiquette Hell page. Outraged brides, grooms, and guests have come to this site to let off some steam, listing horrible wedding-related faux pas. (One angry guest recounted being disinvited to a wedding two weeks after having received the invitation. Another told of a fight between two bridesmaids jostling to catch the bouquet -- one of them ended up needing emergency dental surgery.)

Way Cool Weddings Personalized Wedding Sites: Many sites, like Wedding 411 and the Ultimate Internet Wedding Guide, provide the option to start personalized sites, on which you can post photographs of yourself, keep a "bulletin board" of dresses you like, include details on how you met and got engaged, and provide hotel and schedule information for your guests. Some of these pages require a password to enter. But many are open for all to peruse, and it is useful to read through them to learn how other couples have negotiated the pitfalls of wedding planning. WayCool Weddings and the Engaged Couples Wedding Webring each have extensive listings of such sites.

If all this seems a bit overwhelming, you might want to stop, take a deep breath, and visit "Amazing Wedding Stories." There you can gain perspective from the fact that whatever goes wrong at your wedding, worse things have happened to other people.

--Katie Bacon

Join the conversation in the Technology & Digital Culture conference of Post & Riposte.

More on Technology and Digital Culture in Atlantic Unbound and The Atlantic Monthly.

Katie Bacon is the senior editor of Atlantic Unbound.

Copyright © 1999 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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