November 10, 2003

Enter the Matrix?

In my last entry I talked about wedding presents. We've only received a couple, but more are bound to follow. L and I are tracking things as they come in, noting addresses and reminding ourselves to send out thank-you notes as soon as we have some printed. Being the type of geek whose next four trips to the movies will be for another viewing of The Matrix: Revolutions and three of Return of the King, I created a handy Excel spreadsheet to track gifts, addresses and thank you notes. It's nothing fancy; just a few rows with people's names, addresses and other relevant information.

As I was putting headers on each column and labeling each row I was struck with this thought: if the publishing, fashion and catering industries have all responded in kind to the demand for wedding-related goods and services, wouldn't the software industry want a piece of the action?

A Google search lead me to My Wedding Companion, wedding planning software which bills itself as "The Wedding Planning Software Leader." It says that it will make planning easier "whether you are inviting 100 or 1000 people." One thousand people? Does J. Lo know about this?

Then there is Smart Wedding 4.0 which claims to make it "easy to take complete control over your wedding details." Unless it comes with two tickets to Vegas and subsequent entry in the witness protection program to hide from our families, I can't imagine a computer program powerful enough to give L and me "complete control" over anything.

But is this what we really want? Comptuer-generated planners that make our wedding a carbon copy of every other person who purchased the software? When your checklist looks like everyone else's, won't your wedding?

It's hard to read the claims these programs make and not come to one simple realization: the entire wedding industry is built on fear. This is perhaps not so revelatory to anyone who has already gone through a wedding and not too dissimilar to other image-dependent business such as fashion or media. But it's worth noting nevertheless. L and I aren't afraid of planning our wedding. Overlooking one or two minor details will not derail our entire celebration. By seeing our wedding as a privilege to plan and not a potential disaster to be avoided we'll probably save ourselves a lot of aggravation, time and money, the least of which would be the $39.95 to download some useless software.

Posted by The Groom at November 10, 2003 03:47 PM

"By seeing our wedding as a privilege to plan and not a potential disaster to be avoided we'll probably save ourselves a lot of aggravation, time and money..."

Right on to that. My lovely bride Rose's mantra throughout the entire wedding planning process was "It's just a big party." It helped keep things in perspective.

Posted by: Francis at November 11, 2003 12:13 AM

Love your blog! My co-worker (the Other L) introduced me to your site. My husband and I just had our wedding in October so we totally feel what you are going through... from the NY Times to the presents and Jessica Simpson's advice... all the best!

Posted by: Sharmila at November 11, 2003 02:46 PM

I am a HUGE excel geek. I turn everything into a spreadsheet. I had a guest list, complete with weighted probabilities for attendence... all within about 5 hours of being proposed to. The wedding spreadsheet has grown with the planning- my married girlfriends think I'm nuts.

Posted by: erin at November 12, 2003 02:43 PM

Great blog you've got here! I found the link on I am going to forward your link to my FH.

I also created a database for our wedding using Mac OSX filemaker pro that comes with a database format for parties. It works dandy for weddings, including check boxes for "invites sent," "will attend," "maybe attend," etc. There is even a pre-made attendee list layout that shows yes, nos and maybes in colums with totals and a place to write in the date you sent your thank you card.

Posted by: laura at December 7, 2003 01:30 AM

I just proposed to my girlfriend and it's extremely overwhelming trying to get all the thoughts organized for the wedding. If you have a blank template of your excel worksheet, do you think you could send it to me?

Good point about the wedding software. I think it's all reminiscent of Microsoft Project or Visio, with a Gantt chart and reminders when certain tasks need to be accomplished and who needs to do them. Do we want our wedding to be simply a project to work on?

Posted by: Steve White at December 13, 2003 12:11 PM