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Bridal Adventures in the Internet Age

So I'm getting married in November, and I'm thinking "great! I can plan this all online!" After all, I bought my car online, I buy my books online, I buy my groceries online--I even met my fiance online. Plus, I live near San Jose and we're planning a wedding in LA. I'm thinking "piece of cake" (with rolled frosting and gum paste flower petals) right?


Apparently wedding people are among the last to get online. Oh sure, some of them are there--the photographers, a handful of country clubs--but for the most part, zip. A search on wedding venues brings up a list of names and telephone numbers. You mean I have to go down there and look in person? What? I have a job. I have a life. I have a wedding to plan! I don't have time for this. Why aren't there just pictures on the Internet? Whatever.

Early in my college career at Purdue, I was in a sorority. Names withheld to protect the innocent and inane. In our sorority house, planning a wedding wasn't just a hobby or idle interest. It was an obsession. Woe to the girl who didn't have her flowers picked out before she even had a boyfriend. Bridal magazines were strewn about the house, with pages earmarked and dresses circled. And I won't even go into the trauma of The Selecting Of The Bridesmaids. So faced with this early experience, I formed the opinion that wedding planning was rather silly and ridiculous (particularly when one did not have a future husband in mind).

And then I got engaged.

And I did something I swore I would never do. One day, at Borders, I picked up a copy of Modern Bride. For those of you not familiar with this tome, let me enlighten you. Modern Bride is a "magazine" spanning approximately 600 pages, 599.5 of which are advertisements. And I learned something. Modern Bride is for girls who do not yet have a future husband in mind. It's kind of like an advanced version of playing house. Silly and ridiculous.

So I subscribed to a more "adult" magazine--Martha Stewart Weddings. Now I'm not quite sure why. A large portion of Martha's suggestions are strange, ugly, or both. I mean, who wants a wedding cake decorated to look like a stack of boxes from Tiffany's? And then I found out that Martha's only daughter got married at the local courthouse. In a suit. This should have been a clue. But I was sucked in by the promise of "Fantastic Fall Bouquets," thinking hey-I'm having a fall wedding. Of course, one of Martha's suggestions was using freshly picked grass instead of flowers. Yeah. I'm allergic to grass. Thanks Martha.

Again, I turned to the Internet. Hey, it got me engaged. Surely it would have something to offer. There were a number of bulletin boards, email lists, forums, and Q&As filled with positively life-threatening questions such as "Which one of my 7 best friends should I pick as my maid of honor?!" I'm thinking there's no way in Hell I could get 7 of my friends to wear the same dress. I guess when you're older you have fewer friends. Or maybe it's just that people move and you lose touch. Or maybe it's that you don't live with your parents anymore--and neither do they. Or maybe you just become less likeable.

Speaking of friends--there's the subject of bridesmaid dresses. For some reason I seem to be quite unlike a majority of brides out there in that I actually want my dearest friends (as few as they are) to look good, and subsequently remain my friends post-wedding. Plus, none of them are married yet. And you know what that means... Revenge. Revenge in the form of Seafoam Green Butt Bows. Yes, I have friends who would deliberately ruin their own weddings to exact revenge upon me. I expect nothing less.

One such friend (the only one remotely 'local') and I decided to journey out to a local bridal dress chain store that rhymes with "David's Bridal." As we pushed our way past several starry-eyed 19 year olds, we came to the sparse 'Bridesmaid' rack.
"Wow, this is ugly" my friend remarks, holding out a dress.
"Yeah" I agree, distractedly.
"No seriously Shelby, this is really ugly."
"Okay, okay" I say, pawing through the size 8s.
"No, look," she says, shoving the dress into my view, "this is really, really ugly."
She was right. It was hideous. Well, now I know what not to pick out.

I'm going to try this bridesmaid dress online thing. I'll post pictures of the dresses and people can vote. I'll call it The Search for a Non-Ugly Dress. And if that doesn't work, I'll just insist that the bridesmaid in Philadelphia meet up with the bridesmaid in Washington DC and they can just pick something out. The bridesmaid in Pasadena can have some input, but the bridesmaid in Boca Raton gets none because she's tall, gorgeous, and looks good in everything. There's always one of those.

So aside from the bridesmaid dresses, this Internet thing isn't panning out quite like I'd hoped. I looked at about a billion wedding invitations online and found that most of them were like bridesmaid dresses= Ugly. Here's a common theme: Precious Moments--complete with accessories. Another popular theme is babies. Because nothin' says "Honey, let's get hitched" than half-naked children in full wedding regalia. We'll have to see about these wedding invitations. Fortunately, there's some time left before I have to decide. Here's a hint: they won't feature a motorcycle.

With limited help from the Internet, we managed to find a place to hold the wedding. We found an officiant with no help from the Internet. I'm wearing my Mom's wedding dress, and she wasn't born yesterday, so you can guess about the Internet connection there. I found my photographer on the Internet, but we had to interview him in person. And here I was, hoping to plan this whole shebang on my lunch hour from work. Damn. I guess this is going to take effort. Internet wedding planning. Piece of cake? Ugh, don't even talk to me about the cake.

This page last revised Thursday, August 30, 2001
Shelby <> and Kevin <>