Tag Archive: wedding.

WhisperGifts Sees the Light of Day

I got married in March 2007, within a few months of a number of friends. We all shared our trials and tribulations as we each prepared for our big events, and a number of common issues arose. One of these common points of confusion was the preparation of a bridal gift registry - a list of gifts that we would love to receive from our guests.

Being somewhat geeky, I started to put together an online bridal registry system that could not only be used by my fiance and I, but also by our friends and family. This case of scratching an itch turned into a service that would eventually become WhisperGifts, the first public offering of Jutda.

This service evolved over time into a solution suitable for the commercial prime-time and as of today is ready for public consumption at whispergifts.com.

Here's just some of the major benefits of WhisperGifts:

  • Allows your guests to shop at any store they like. Aunty Mary who works for MegaTVCorp can now buy you that 42-inch LCD that you want, without paying department store prices
  • Allows you to describe the types of items you want, rather than selecting a brand and model
  • Lets your guests browse for gifts in the comfort of their own home
  • Lets your guests easily see gifts sorted by category (Kitchenware, furniture, or outdoor living for example), within certain price brackets, or by priority
  • Can magically e-mail reminder messages to guests before the wedding
  • Can magically e-mail you a list of guests and their selections just after your wedding, helping with the process of sorting out who purchased what when it comes to writing thank-you notes.

More information on WhisperGifts is available at the WhisperGifts website and in a recent Jutda blog posting.

Soon I'll publish some Django-related technical details of the service, as elements of a commercial service built on Open Source software are often interesting to the community as a whole. As a teaser, here's a few built-in functions that were made much easier with Django. Stay tuned (or rather, subscribe to the RSS Feed) for implementation details over the coming weeks.

  • E-mailing of PDF lists of gifts / purchasers
  • Integration with PayPal to allow for upgrades to be purchased
  • A subdomain per-user, to allow for ease-of-communication
  • Built-in context-sensitive inline help and tips to maximise the benefit obtained by users, both free and paying

Wanted: Engaged Djangonauts

I've spent the last year or so building a Django-powered bridal gift registry service. It allows you to easily list desired gifts in a simple online format, for your guests to select and purchase for you.

It works pretty well - my wife let me use it for our own wedding, afterall. It's also stood up to a half-dozen other weddings, who have all provided fantastic feedback which I've put into place.

I'm just about ready for launch, but I'd like to do a final round of live testing. So, I'm opening it up to Django users worldwide.

The criteria?

  • Be getting married in the short-term future
  • Be prepared to provide feedback
  • Be prepared to use public beta software (However, I believe it's stable enough!)
  • Have a [wife|husband]-to-be who is happy to be involved :)

In return I'll provide a premium account (value: $40AUD) for you to use from day one.

Interested? Just e-mail me at ross at this domain and I'll provide a signup URL. You're welcome to sign up and check it out before committing to using it for your wedding, of course - however if you choose not to use it, I'd love to know what WAF (that'd be wife-acceptance-factors) come into play in making your decision, so I can improve it as much as possible!

Wedding Registry Post Mortem

I married by lovely wife on March 31st of this year. To handle our gift registry, I used my new Registry website (which I've spoken about in the past). Although I'm not quite ready to go live, I've analysed some of the data from our usage of the Registry system and made some interesting observations.

The chart to the right shows cumulative purchases over time, from the first purchase (around two months before the wedding, when we gave invites & registry details to our families) to the last purchase, 2 days before the wedding.

I've removed the numbers from the y-axis as they're irrelevant to everybody except me, but the axis hasn't been altered at all -- the scale has been kept intact and increases proportionately from 0 to n.

As you can see, the bulk of the purchases happened two-three weeks before the wedding. In fact, until 17 days before the wedding there were only around 10% of purchases.

Other quick observations that we noticed:

  • Although we listed our items in order of priority, the priority not the most important factor to purchasers (this takes into account price of items too -- we didn't just put big-ticket items at the top of the list, it was (we belive) a pretty even spread of prices.
  • Most people veered away from suggestions that were unique or otherwise not mainstream. This is probably a valid representation of our invite list, more than anything -- we did get some fantastic unique gifts from people who are more open to being untraditional!
  • More traditional guests (mostly our grandparents or older relatives) still prefer traditional gifts and/or cash. Nothing will change that, and nor should it change.
  • Only one guest didn't understand the registry system -- they thought they were shopping online rather than selecting gifts they can then go and buy themselves. I've since clarified the wording on the website.
  • Feedback shows guests were happy to be able to browse a list of items we had suggested for them to buy us, and they were happy to then be able to go to their own choice of store and make the purchase.
  • A few guests were able to use their work or other industry contacts to get us items off the list that we wanted, without spending as much of their hard-earned cash. This is the way I planned for the registry website to be used!

For most people this is probably relatively useless information -- but we found it interesting and it may assist others with preparing their registries.

I'm hoping to announce my registry website soon so people can start using it -- I'm moving it to a new server at the moment, and changing the look and feel to be a little less nerdy. Stay tuned.

What's Wrong with Bridal Registries

Next month, I'm getting married. For reasons unknown to me, getting married costs money. Lots of money.

That's not a huge problem, and to be honest it's not overly surprising. It just strikes me as odd that an entire industry is built around charging exhorbitant amounts of cash for services identical to those offered to others at much lower prices - and people pay for it.

Yet it's not just the bride and groom getting ripped off when it comes to the big day - wedding guests are expected to buy gifts for the happily married couple (which, of course, I don't have an issue with) however these same guests are expected to purchase their goods from overpriced department stores from pre-selected gift lists.

Why, as a couple getting married, should we lock our guests (who are very generous in deciding to buy us something to assist with our new life together) into being ripped off when they buy us gifts?

This portion of the industry needs a change - and I'm working hard on it. I'm starting a new service for couples getting hitched, to let them give everybody more flexibility when it comes to bridal registries.

Couples will have more flexibility when it comes to selecting gifts they'd like to receive. Guests will have more flexibility when it comes to purchasing gifts. Most importantly, nobody will be ripped off.

My new service, which I'll be launching publicly soon, works. It works well. Hand-picked couples have used it over the past few months with fantastic feedback. I'm using it now for my wedding, again with fantastic feedback from guests.

Soon, you'll be able to use it too. Lets get some simplicity back into weddings.

Engagement Party Photos Done

I've just put the rest of the Engagement Party photos online. Some are a bit dark & blurry, but we'll remove those later. Captions will also come later.

Engagement Party Photos

On Sunday afternoon Lauren and I had our Engagement party to celebrate with friends & family our recent engagement. Not all of the photos are up yet, but the first batch are ready to look at.

The photos can be found in my gallery.

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