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The Wedding Planner: Google Your Big Day

Wedding Style: Virtual Valley
April 12, 2011 Deadline
Special to Wedding Style (Summer)

The Wedding Planner: Google Your Big Day

Great wedding planners help with everything from guest lists to creating photo albums of your special day. My recently married cousin also had a website with photos and information for friends and family unable to attend in person. Sharing via the Web is now as much a part of the complete wedding process as sending thank you notes.

Where do you search for a wedding planner with Web savvy? You Google it!

No, I don’t mean you search for a wedding planner via Google. You can now use Google as your wedding planner. In early 2011, Google launched “Google Weddings,” a site dedicated to helping couples plan the big event. Wedding planners can also use the site, allowing them to easily access plans from any computer with an Internet connection.

Google has joined with Michelle Rago, a respected New York event planner and co-author of Signature Weddings: Creating a Day Uniquely Your Own. For information on Rago and her unique designs, visit her website at http://www.michelleragoltd.com.

Google Weddings can be accessed at http://www.google.com/weddings. The Google Weddings site is organized in order of activity:

Announce your engagement and wedding date via Google Sites,
Order custom announcement cards from Picnik,
Plan the wedding details with Google Docs and
Share photo of your special day online via Picasa.

Each of the features on Google Weddings has existed separately for several years. For example, the Picasa photo-sharing site has existed since 2002. Google Weddings brings together applications like Picasa photo albums, Google Docs, and the Picnik custom photo service in one convenient place.

1. Create a Website

Google Sites is a free website creation tool. Google Weddings matches the design of your wedding website to print announcement designs. Personally, I find the classic, romantic and floral design sets the most appealing for a wedding, but I’m also a traditionalist. If you’re more daring, Rago has designed Caribbean and Old West wedding themes.

Once you select a theme for your wedding website, you preview the design before selecting it. The process is a little complex, but it is also free. The resulting website is beautiful and easy to update with content from your earliest announcement to the honeymoon photos. The Michelle Rago designs can be used for every element of your wedding thanks to Google Wedding, though you can customize your designs along the way.

2. Order Formal Announcements

Google Weddings guides you from website creation to formal announcement design. By placing these together, Google helps you maintain a consistent wedding theme.

Printed announcements are prepared using the Picnik service. I recommend loading photos into Picasa before you select an announcement design, since Picnik can use Picasa photo albums. The Picasa website is http://picasa.google.com. After your photos are uploaded to Picasa, return to Google Weddings and click the button under “Personalized Announcements from Picnik.”

You can either print the announcements on your own printer or you can order prints for a more professional look. Prices vary for printing based on the paper, finish, and quantity ordered. I recommend professionally prepared announcements because even a good home photo printer doesn’t match the look and feel most couples want for their special memories.

3. Plan the Big Day

For the actual planning of the big event, Google Weddings offers specialized templates designed for Google Docs by Style Me Pretty bridal fashions and Michelle Rago. When you select the “Plan” option from Google Weddings, you are offered the following tools:

Wedding planner,
To-do list,
Address book,
Guest list,
Budget planner,
Seating chart,
Reception menu and
Music list.

If you have never used Google Docs before, don’t worry because the applications are similar to Microsoft Office products. Most of the lists for Google Weddings appear in a spreadsheet application that functions similarly to Microsoft Excel, for example.

What makes Google Docs wonderful is that you can share documents with anyone you want. If you want to share the guest list with your planner, your families and select friends you can easily do so. The “Share” option allows you to specify people allowed to see and edit documents.

I love Google Docs. I can be traveling and still share documents with my wife anywhere in the world. If you’re planning a wedding, that same ability to share information is priceless. Best of all, with Google the tools are free.

4. Share the Photos

Earlier, I mentioned Picasa photo sharing. Another great Google service, Picasa offers more than uploading photos to the Web. When you create a free Picasa account, you can also download the Picasa desktop application for your computer. The Picasa software for Windows and OS X is similar to popular photo organizing programs like iPhoto and EasyShare. The photo albums you create in Picasa are shared online, or you can choose to store an album only on your computer.

Because Google Sites can access your Picasa albums, you can use Picasa to expand your wedding website to include photos from your rehearsal, wedding, reception and honeymoon.

Google Weddings has put all the tools in one convenient place for couples planning a wedding.

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