I had the pleasure of interviewing Nokia 7205 Intrigue spokesperson and author of 35 wedding books, Sharon Naylor, about ways that brides can incorporate technology into their wedding planning process. Sharon is an experienced wedding professional, as she is a regular contributor to various magazines, including Bridal Guide, Southern Bride and Bride’s. She has also been featured in Wedding Bells Magazine, In Style Weddings, Bride & Groom, and Vows.

Thanks to Nokia, you’ll all have a chance to win one Nokia 7205 Intrigue mobile phone to test Sharon’s tips..details below after the interview!

WO: How did you get into the wedding industry?

SN: I started writing magazine articles professionally when I was sixteen years old, and naturally found my way to specialize in the wedding industry due to the fact that all of my favorite things – florals, photography, music, travel, gourmet food and fine wine, fashion – were encompassed in the bridal industry. Over the past 20 years, I’ve reported on the changing trends in every exciting angle of the wedding business, and have grown to my philosophy of helping brides and grooms not only plan their dream day, but enjoy the entire process along the way.

WO: Why is it important for brides to incorporate technology into their wedding planning process?

SN: Organization is a key component to smarter wedding planning that keeps you feeling confident and saves you money. A lost record of a change discussed with the caterer can wind up costing you thousands of dollars! In past decades, wedding coordinators had access to wedding planning software that kept the plans on track, but now with technology so accessible and so easy to use, a bride and groom can organize every angle of their wedding plans, communicate with the members of their wedding planning team. Now with the Nokia 7205 Intrigue, available at Verizon Wireless, you can lose the big, heavy wedding binder and access all of your important phone numbers, calendar and images of your dress, your venue and your dream flowers in one light device. For example, the bride and groom could send a text sent to the bridal party to alert them to a change in fitting schedule. Most importantly technology allows the couple to partner as bride and groom for today’s true partnership in planning every element of the wedding day. For instance, if the bride is at a flower market perusing blooms for the centerpieces and discovers boutonniere flowers she loves, she can now text a photo of the flower to the groom [and grooms do care a lot about these details!] for agreement before she places an order. The same goes for a ceremony site, a botanical garden, or anything else that the bride and groom might find that would be ideal for the wedding day. Even better, the couples’ families can stay within their original agreements of who plans and pays for what, since there is an established statement of ‘you can contact me at any time’ with a cell phone, text or e-mail keeping parents from booking anything without the bride and groom’s okay. No more sneaky parental bookings with the lame excuse that they were out and had to make a snap decision. Technology allows couples to work together more peacefully with their teams, and with supreme organization that can provide that sense of ‘I’m on top of this’ and ‘I can handle this’ that keeps a bride from the kind of Bridezilla reactions we see on TV. Technology gives us the fast results we need allowing us to stay in touch with friends and family all over the world. Brides and grooms get the perks of updating their loved ones regularly, getting instant congratulations and generally absorbing more joy from their online network as they make updates about their wedding plans…which generates more positivity and excitement to counter all of the wedding money and planning stress.

WO: What’s your advice for tech savvy brides who deal with family members who are stuck in the traditional way of doing things (eg: preferring paper invitations over online invitations)?

SN: As the bride and groom, it’s proper etiquette to respect your family members’ level of techno-comfort. If your parents don’t really exist online or use texting, then make it a rule to call them with updates, rather than expect them to learn a new technology during an already hectic and emotional time for them. If 95% of your planning team is techno-savvy, that works wonderfully. If parents need a phone call, then that’s an acceptable concession considering how much they may be contributing to the wedding in all possible ways [financially, emotionally, through their tasks and efforts, etc.] Since technology often creates a conflict between Old World and 21st Century etiquette – such as parents who expect print invitations to a bridal shower vs. a maid of honor who wants to use Evite – the wise bride and groom set a rule: every communication related to the wedding itself such as a save the date, invitation, thank-you notes, will be done in traditional print format. Invitations and RSVPs for showers and the bachelorette party or even for bridesmaid shopping trips can be done using technology including Evite and texted invitations for planning sessions. Family members who are stuck in the traditional way of doing things with every aspect of the wedding are likely to launch into a panic when they hear you’re planning to use technology. After all, it’s so far from ‘how things are done’ and ‘how weddings are planned’ that they will certainly believe that you are the first couple ever to send e-mailed Save the Dates and your scandalous lack of etiquette (they believe) will reflect poorly on them. So explain to your non-tech-savvy family members that there will be multiple ways that you’ll be using technology – as is the trend in wedding world these days – and that any tech-steps you take are full sanctioned by wedding etiquette experts and the top bridal resources. Just tell them you’re aware of their need for proper etiquette, and you’re fully in line with that too. And again, if parents will help with certain aspects of the wedding plans – such as choosing invitations, floral centerpieces, and choosing reception sites – it’s going to be stunning to some parents that they can take online virtual tours of wedding sites with 360-degree views of a ballroom or the grounds. They’re going to be amazed that you can webcam what’s going on at a resort you’re considering for your destination wedding. Allow them to learn, through you, about the new world of wedding technology, but always allow them the choice to do things traditionally if they don’t have the proficiency or interest to participate in tech-centric tasks.

WO: Can you share with us a couple of your favorite tips on how brides can use technology to help plan their wedding?

SN: Since referrals are so important in finding the perfect wedding vendors, brides can text or send a Facebook message to recently-married friends allowing you to ask everyone – in just a matter of a minute or two – to recommend their favorite wedding vendors for your consideration. It’s always best to get the thumbs-up on a caterer or florist from someone you know, whose tastes you trust. Being able to instantly communicate and send visuals to a wedding coordinator is a priceless perk in having your wedding plans turn out according to your vision. E-mailed reminder services keep you organized and prevent you from missing a payment or ordering deadline. Also, new mapping sites like www.WeddingMapper.com allow you to create your own, custom maps for guests to check online, complete with icons and fun bells and whistles, that makes not printing out maps a great green wedding practice as well. We have created a website at www.techsavvybride.com to provide brides with additional tips on how technology can help them plan their wedding. We are also doing a sweepstakes for a 7 night honeymoon in Jamaica and two Nokia 7205 Intrigue phones, one for the bride and one for the groom.

WO: People rely a lot on their cell phones - can you talk a little bit about how brides can now use their cell phones as wedding organizers?

SN: To plan the perfect wedding, you have to communicate with a large circle of vendors, your bridal party, your parents, your groom, and your cell phone becomes your mini wedding coordinator saving you time and helping you stay organized. You now have an instant record of when you called your caterer as well as how long it’s been since he called back. Your text messages serve as a record of when you told your bridesmaids to arrive at the dress fittings. Being able to call your groom before you book anything keeps you both as even partners in the planning. Organization is key as is being able to be reached during the long hours of a commute, while you’re away on a business trip or on vacation. What stresses brides out the most is having to wait to hear back from a vendor, a delay which sometimes costs the couple the ability to book the sites or vendors they really want. And delays can also mean lost money, if another couple books the ballroom in April at 1/3 the price of June and that was the last available weekend in April. A cell phone gives the wedding couple the advantage of speed and the ability to share images with each other or with parents who may be paying for a part of the wedding. A cell phone also allows you to enjoy the personal side of wedding planning: calling friends to keep in contact with them, stepping out of ‘bride mode’ to be the friend or sister they’ve always known, laugh about a funny thing that happened and live in a positive mindset instead of delving into the howling winds of wedding planning stress. Connecting with friends is essential now, especially if you’re expecting them to travel a long distance to attend your wedding. Connecting with them as friends, asking how their kids are, asking about their vacation, returns you to you, which is great for your relationships. And speaking of relationships, the cell phone allows the bride and groom to connect often without any wedding talk. Just a quick call at lunch to say ‘I love you’ or ‘I can’t wait to see you tonight’ reminds both of the person with whom they fell in love, not some selfish Bridezilla or Groomzilla who only cares about the wedding day. And among the many perks of a great phone like the Nokia 7205 Intrigue is the ability to say Thank You to a parent, a vendor, an aunt who volunteered to make your wedding veil or a friend who connected you with her stylist for the wedding morning. E-mails and texts are fine for conveying essential data, but the sound of your voice saying Thank You is so valuable at the time of a wedding. Your cell phone makes you a gracious bride and groom, and the personal touch – even at the speed of today’s technology – is what’s really beautiful about today’s savvy bride and groom.

Thanks Sharon for taking the time to share your tips with us!

Now’s your chance to win the Nokia 7205 Intrigue to help you communicate throughout your wedding planning process!

To enter, leave a comment for this post telling me how you plan on using the Nokia 7205 Intrigue to help with your wedding planning! The contest is limited to residents of the United States. A winner will be randomly selected.


Good luck!

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3 comments



Comments

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Anonymous on May 05, 2009

I would love to give the Nokia 7205 to my fiance as an engagement gift to get her off to the right start. We have already been extremely tech savvy with our wedding plans, and I am sure we will continue to be so. Combined, we have over 800 facebook friends who we have been keeping up to date with everything going on. We have also been using picasa web albums for friends/family not on facebook, and between the two of us, we sent over 200 text messages on the evening I proposed. We really rely on technology for a way to keep our friends connected. We have friends from countries around the world (Botswana, Ghana, Jamaica, Hungary, Peru, and more) and we love to keep them in the loop on our love!

Eli on May 27, 2009

I would love to be able to use this beautiful Nokia 7205 to help in planning my weddings.

Some of the ways I will do so include:

Adding a contact group with all of my wedding vendors and contacts in the contacts of the phone to stay organized. Using the calendar to help manage appointments.
Use the alarm for reminders and to wake up on the special day!
Calling my hubby -to-be when I begin to freak out and get nervous!
Post pics along the way on twitter and facebook throughout my planning, and even on the day of to give those loved ones overseas and unable to attend a play by play!
And so much more!

Eryka on June 03, 2009

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