Plan your wedding with these Web resources

If you're getting ready to plan your wedding or you know someone who is, these resources can help you save some cash and find the right vendors.

As someone who just celebrated his first wedding anniversary, I know what it takes to plan a wedding. Everything from the venue to flowers must be accounted for. It's no easy task.

Realizing that, I thought I'd use this space to make it a little easier for those planning a wedding. We have included some well-known resources as well as some sites you might not have heard about before but that could help you save some cash--or stress.

Before we get started, I should note that there are a ton of wedding resources on the Web. This isn't an exhaustive collection of resources, but it is a collection of some of the best.

Get your wedding going

Flowers

1-800-Flowers: 1-800-Flowers is best known for providing users with delivered floral arrangements, but the site is also a fine resource for those who want to get flowers for their wedding.

1-800-Flowers' wedding page lists several flower arrangements, ranging from centerpieces to bouquets for the bride. It even offers boutonnieres for the men in the bridal party. Although flower pricing varies in different areas around the U.S., I do know that 1-800-Flowers' pricing is far better than those in my area. Even better, the flowers are available on the same day the order is placed.

1-800-Flowers
1-800-Flowers has several flower choices. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Grower's Box: Grower's Box is an online wholesale flower retailer that provides a slew of wedding packages. It's a fine resource for anyone looking to find flowers for their wedding.

When you first get to Grower's Box, you'll see several listings available to help you find the flowers you might be looking for. When you click the Wedding option, you'll see a listing of several "Weddings in a box." Those items include the ability to buy everything from bunches of roses, lilies, sunflowers, or just about any other kind of flower the bride might prefer. Even better, they're priced well, since you're only paying the wholesale price. In many cases the Grower's Box beats local floral shops by a wide margin, according to one bride-to-be I know who checked pricing in my area. Grower's Box has a slew of packages to choose from. The site even has a wedding guide if you want some ideas. If you're looking to compare flower pricing, Grower's Box is a great place to start.

Grower's Box
Grower's Box has several "Weddings in a Box" options. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Invitations

Wedding Paper Divas: If you're looking to create some elegant invitations for your wedding, Wedding Paper Divas will help you do it at a reasonable price.

When you get to the site, you'll see a listing of all kinds of wedding stationery, including announcements, save-the-date cards, invitations, and more. Simply pick the category you want to explore and you'll find a slew of options to choose from. Once you find the invitation you like, the site allows you to customize the text. Thanks to a handy navigation element, you can quickly choose the format you want and input the required information. You can even choose some design elements of your invitation, changing color and layout. And thanks to some favorable online pricing, I think you'll find that Wedding Paper Divas is competitively priced with local companies. Check it out.

Wedding Paper Divas
Wedding paper Divas will create a nice invitation. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Family fun

Offbeat Bride: If you want to keep your family updated on the wedding planning process but aren't into the flowery themes that come stock with many wedding Web sites, check out Offbeat Bride's Nearlyweds site hosting service. It's a simple tool that can help you create a Web page for your friends and family with slightly edgier themes than you'll find elsewhere.

Offbeat Bride will set you back $49 for two years of access to its service, but you do get a free two-week trial, so you can try it out for yourself before you commit to the site. When you sign up for the service, it's about as easy as it comes. Simply drag and drop elements onto your site, upload an unlimited number of photos, add a blog to tell friends about what you're up to, and more. You can even manage your guest list from the site. You won't need to worry about site design; simply choose a design that you like to get it up and running. It's a pretty good deal for just $49. Check it out.

Offbeat Bride
Offbeat Bride has some nice design options. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Wedding Mapper: If you have a lot of out-of-town guests coming to your wedding or you just want to keep guests updated on what's happening during the planning, Wedding Mapper is another great option.

Wedding Mapper allows you to plot all the points that your guest will need to know about for your wedding day. You can input where the ceremony will be held, where you plan to have your reception, and where they can expect to stay. You can even create an itinerary for them to accompany the map to make it even easier for them to figure out where they need to be.

Wedding Mapper does more than map your wedding. The site also displays user reviews of local venues, allows you to create your own wedding Web site, and much more. It's a full-featured site that most brides will be happy to try out.

Wedding Mapper
Wedding Mapper lets you create a wedding itinerary. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Reviews

Craigslist: Anyone who knows Craigslist usually loves Craigslist. It's just one of those sites that combines usefulness with function. And it can even help when it comes to planning your wedding.

One of the best ways to dictate pricing on your wedding is to set up a listing on Craigslist, soliciting vendors. You can say that you're only looking to pay a specific amount and you're looking for a photographer, for example. Undoubtedly, some photographers will reply to your listing, offering up their own services. You can also use the site to find folks offering their service. It's a great resource to find advantageous pricing in your area. It's definitely worth consulting.

Craigslist
Find services on Craigslist. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Wedding Wire: If you're looking for anything from a venue to hold your reception to a photographer to capture all the special moments at your wedding, Wedding Wire is a great place to start.

Wedding Wire lists vendors of wedding services near you. When you input your ZIP code and what you're looking for, you'll see a listing of the services in your area. The site lists the person's availability (if they provided it), as well as pricing and reviews. The user reviews are the most useful, since they provide valuable insight into what you can expect on your wedding day. Whether you're looking to find a photographer, a videographer, or a venue for the big day, Wedding Wire should help you find what you're looking for.

Wedding Wire
Wedding Wire lets you know who is available for your day. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

A little bit of everything

The Knot: If you're looking for a little bit of everything, The Knot is the site for you.

Also a magazine, The Knot is one of the finest online resources for any bride-to-be. The site provides information on topics ranging from wedding dresses to floral arrangements. It even provides outstanding information on wedding protocol. But if you're looking for the most value, try out The Knot's planning tools. You can start a site, monitor your wedding budget, keep a guest list, and much more. It's also a nice place to find honeymoon ideas. Simply put, The Knot features all the best content in one place.

The Knot
The Knot has all the content you'll want in one place. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top three

1. The Knot: It has just about anything you want. What can be better?

2. Grower's Box: Find some great flowers with the help of Grower's Box. You should save some cash.

3. Wedding Wire: If you want to find some venues or services you care about, Wedding Wire is for you.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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