Mac Your Wedding
A little over a week ago, I was married. The wedding was a very nice affair, and during the two years of planning that went into pulling it off, there were several instances where having a Mac at my fingertips paid off nicely. I wasn’t the stereotypically passive groom, but used my tech skills to help cut costs and limit wasted time.
So, for the technically savvy bride or groom, here’s a few brief sketches of ways to use your Mac to help alleviate the stress and cost of your wedding:
Whether you are a very unorganized person or a very organized person who is used to working with pen and paper, I can not stress enough the importance of keeping electronic documents of all the lists involved with your wedding. This includes names and addresses of guests, a checklist of things that need to be done before the wedding, and an itinerary of when what is supposed to happen.
You can go gonzo-crazy with all sorts of progressive iCal calendars, Konfabulator countdown widgets, and Filemaker / SQL databases if you like, but no matter how much you geek-out about it, I recommend keeping a plain text / Word document lying around that mirrors these basic lists. Why? For easy emailing. Kristin (the organizer of the family) easily distributed lists to my parents, her parents, and myself about which invitees from our respective lists were in need of addresses and which were in need of nudging once the RSVP date had come and gone. She also easily added gifts to the list each time something new came in, so that a Thank You note would quickly follow. If you’re not hand-writing all the addresses in calligraphy, a mailing list can be made out of one of these lists for easy printing of labels. Consider investing in a DYMO label printer.
Also, print out instruction sheets for all your vendors and the wedding party. All this preparation beforehand will help ensure that you are enjoying the party, rather than shouting instructions across the room to the photographer about what pictures you absolutely must have.
Invitations, programs, and menus:
For our wedding, Kristin and I were fortunate enough to have some very nice invitations printed out by Soho Letter Press in Manhattan. In fact, the invitations were so nice that we (and by “we,” I mean her parents) wouldn’t normally have been able to afford them.
Here’s a tip to help save you lots of money. When you order invitations from a company that specializes in wedding invitations, they charge you for the paper, the printing, and the layout of your invitations. That last bit of the equation normally doubles the price of your invitations, programs, menus, or any printed materials involved in your wedding. Find a professional printer in your area and ask them what type of file types they accept for projects. Most accept Quark or InDesign, and some even accept an Adobe pdf. Talk about paper types and sizes and take notes. Layout your own invitations in all the correct sizes in a program like QuarkXpress or InDesign CS. If you use a non-standard font, you will have to purchase the font and give a copy of it to the printer with your files. The money you’ll save by playing around with the page layout and design yourself is significant. If you’ve been looking for a way to rationalize purchasing InDesign, here’s your chance.
If you’re really on a tight budget for these printed materials, then you can print it out yourself. Office stores like Office Max and Staples offer an assortment of paper sets for weddings. We printed out our rehearsal dinner invites complete with envelopes for about $9, our ceremony on some pre-packaged program paper, and the place-cards for the reception for about $10 (plus the amount of black ink that the ink-jet printer burned through; I’d estimate about half a black ink cartridge / about $15).
iLife shines pre-and post-wedding:
When booking your band or DJ, burn them a CD of all the key songs that you want, complete with a list of which song is for what dance. Consider doing away with either a band or a DJ and simply putting together a well-orchestrated playlist on your iPod. Rent an amp and speakers for the night, plug in your iPod, press play and you’re good to go.
Rather than spending tons of money on a videographer for the wedding, why not just ask a few of your friends with DV camcorders to record everything? Give them two DV tapes each, let them record away the entire night, then collect the tapes and start splicing them together in iMovie and burn them to disk with iDVD.
This same principle goes for photography. Hand out disposable cameras that you’ll collect at the end of the night and ask all of your friends with digital cameras to email you the pictures they take. Trust me: new digital pictures of the happy day come in extremely handy when a few days after the wedding your wife becomes sad that the day she has dreamed about her whole life has come and gone.
When you go to develop your film, make sure you choose to have them developed someplace where they can include the pictures on a Photo CD for easy import into iPhoto. Organize your wedding pictures into little slideshows. Export these slideshows as transitions to be worked into the iMovie of your wedding.
I realize this list of ideas is somewhat loosely joined, but hopefully it will get you started.