The Widgetized Wedding

We've been having a lot of fun over on our wedding blog. Natalie and I have been posting a lot. It's not the most compelling stuff for general consumption, but it's a nice way for us to keep in touch with our families, friends, and members of the Wedding Party. We're able to connect with the folks who will make our Big Day special, but it also allows us to share our experiences with everyone involved. We're trying to do things like polling the audience on how much they'd pay for a hotel as well as sharing our notes from our experience with our vendors.

Natalie has been good about giving me a lot of latitude on what I post and what I do with the blog. As we come closer, I'm sure the design/content will come under closer scrutiny. (Some folks were wondering how I slipped the Major League quote by her. Other's were just puzzled as to why I would slip it in there in the first place!)

Most importantly for me is that the wedding blog provides me with a new playground. I've had a lot of fun playing around with various widgets and such. I doubt that any of the readers of the site (but for a few) are very interested in the various ways our content can be/is being distributed. I've built a bunch of widgets to allow folks to consume our content on their terms. Being that our wedding is only truly important to Natalie and myself, we need to ensure that people can get our updates anywhere they want. It's been enjoyable to think about a distributed content strategy for a small site. We have no hopes of ever reaching a large audience, so this is going to stay small scale. The majority of the subscribers to the feed are using the email option (almost 85%), so thinking how things translate to email inboxes and when they are delivered are coming into play. (our delivery window is 7-9 am and most posts are published in the afternoon, so if they are involving things that are occuring "that" evening, they may be stale by the time the majority of our audience is reading them...)

If you haven't been reading our wedding blog, I don't blame you. If you're interested in keeping up with us, head over here. I'll keep looking for new ways to leverage technology for our guests. If you see something that I should be using, let me know.

Without further delay, here's a few of our widgets. Special thanks to the SpringBox guys. We had some trouble/issues with our countdown widget because of a change in their code. I posted a note on their forums and worked a back channel. They came through strong with great customer support. Great work guys. I know it's difficult when someone complains about the FREE product. Trust me, I know it's hard. Thanks for going the extra mile.

Here's our wedding countdown widget:


Here's our animated widget provided by FeedBurner:

Natalie and Jake's Wedding

↑ Grab this Headline Animator


You can also see this one "in the wild" on my right sidebar. Go ahead. Embed it on your MySpace page. You know you want one...


Here's what I'll call a "widget" that's also provided by FeedBurner. It's shows the various methods to subscribe to our content:

Want to stay up to date? Enter your email address and we'll deliver updates to your inbox. No spam...we promise!

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From there, I fooled around with Widgetbox and created a widget on the fly for myspace or other sites:

Widgetbox is a fairly nice way to create a feed widget. There isn't a lot of customization going on, but one nice feature is their ability to "grab" a few images from your site and auto "propose" them for your widget header. They gave me a few options and allowed me provide my own. That's a nice feature that I wish other feed to widget creaters would provide. I'd prefer to provide a custom width, but with a free service, I guess I can't get everything I want.

For those readers who just want a styleable version of our content, we provide the BuzzBoost code compliment's of FeedBurner:



I've been thinking about what else I would want to help display various elements of content on our blog. With the coming "registries" at various stores, I wonder if I'll be able to find a way to display some items on our lists. What about some maps integration? Having one online map of various places for the weekend? Any other ideas?

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