Depending on your religious persuasion –– or lack thereof –– your potential wedding officiants and venues have a range of requirements, most of which relate to demonstrating your commitment to their particular values and traditions. Fair enough. Then there are those venues that require a series of one-on-one meetings and pre-marital counseling sessions. I’ve been told that such forced soul searching has proven valuable to many couples.
But none of this was required of us for use of the Princeton University Chapel, and besides, I’ve discovered a much cheaper alternative. The sure-fire way to expose your differences, see where tensions lie, and predict your worst future arguments is to design your own wedding website.
It should be noted that if you search “wedding website” on Google you get more than 6 million results, many of which are services that will give you templates to create a customized website for your special day at little or no cost. It’s a minor miracle that we did not ultimately resort to this tactic despite resolving to create from scratch our own, superior wedding website.
We would have QR codes on our invitations, an interactive RSVP page, and sleek slide shows. It was going to be great.
There was just one catch: we couldn’t agree on any of it.
For what it’s worth, on paper we look like some sort of amateur web design dream team. I work for a newspaper where I spend a lot of time thinking about pretty ads, readable fonts, and appealing ways to combine text and images. My fiance works for Google, where he spends his days making a website attractive and user-friendly and –– critically –– honing the programming skills that allow people to develop websites from scratch. But substitute dog fight for dream team and you’ll get a pretty accurate picture of how things really went.
Start with the colors. Picking them makes a logical starting point for planning wedding decor and a website background. Ours are pastel shades of orange and yellow. Nice, subtle colors that in my fiance’s opinion are the worst possible choices for web design. Colors come in all different shades and are a reasonable point of contention. We could get over this and move on with the website.
Fonts, you would think, not so much. The set of web-friendly fonts is limited to around 10 fonts that render correctly across different browsers. You don’t have that much choice in the matter, but there is one critical dichotomy: serif and sans serif. The googler, enamored of the simple design of its web pages, prefers the less ornate sans serif fonts. The newspaper employee is partial to the serif fonts (it’s called Times New Roman for a reason).
So our places of employment affect our opinions on design. We must have more in common outside of our careers. But you know those Mac vs. PC commercials? That happens in real life. As in, he’s the Mac, and I’m the PC. As a result, he likes Apple’s trademark rounded edges. I’m indifferent, but worry that our website is starting to look much too similar to another orange-themed website he designed on his trusty MacBook, for a Princeton alumni group.
The rounded edges stay. Don’t get me started on how all of these elements are combined on the page. Suffice it to say that after some days of periodic yelling, eye-rolling, and frantic diagramming on our whiteboard, we arrived at an arrangement of text and photos we don’t both hate.
Text and photos, however, don’t create themselves. Unlike programming, this is an area in which I thought I had the clear comparative advantage. First, I’m a girl. I am capable of sorting through boxes of photos without ever getting tired of the endless flood of adorable baby pictures. If this weren’t a two-person project, that would be great. Unfortunately, half of the pictures are of my fiance, who (wisely, in many cases) claimed veto power over my selections. So much for the priceless purple tie-dyed shorts he sported on a fishing trip at age eight or the baby shot where he is clearly terrified of a teddy bear that’s about twice his size.
The text, too, is my purview — with the limitation that everything I write is approved by my fiance. He is completely justified in preferring that I sit quietly and write rather than watching over his shoulder as he programs, criticizing each design choice he makes. The problem with wedding websites, though, is that you know that no one cares about this as much as you do –– or at all, really –– and that no matter how hard you try, anything you write will come out cheesy and trite. So the best I can do is to try to poke fun at ourselves and keep it brief as I write about who we are, how we met, and when we got engaged. How did I do? “That’s terrible. You make me sound like an ass,” says the fiance.
So much for my career as a comedy writer. I delete everything and start over. The response to take two: “Actually, maybe the first one wasn’t so bad.”
And thus, the role of compromise in a relationship. The computer programmer begrudgingly accepted some input from the opinionated but technically inept newspaper editor. The newspaper editor let the programmer edit her writing and censor her photography choices. The work-in-progress that went live minutes — literally — before our engagement party began: good enough, for now.
And the engagement? Still intact. Visit our website for details: www.danandsara2013.com.