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AT LARGE: What a tangled web

AT LARGE: What a tangled web

OK, this thing is now officially out of hand. Up until a few weeks ago, the guest list for my wedding was a bit of a mess. My fiancée and I had a copy, her mum had a copy, my mum had a copy. Each would add names to their copies, without necessarily telling the others. If and when communication took place, names would end up scribbled on scraps of paper next to the phone, and maybe/maybe not get transferred to one or other of the "official" bits of paper.

My contribution to the process consisted largely of reading our copy, scratching my head at the newest additions and saying, "who the is that, and who invited them?" This was actually more helpful than it sounds, because if neither of us could satisfactorily answer the question, the name would be scribbled out. Then we'd thumb-wrestle to determine which of us got to phone the respective mothers and tell them to do likewise.

After a while of this chaotic, if fun, approach, I decided to do something completely irrational. Why not, I suggested, make the list a Web-based database?

Possibly brilliant

The other parties involved, not being particularly technologically inclined, had not thought of this possibility. But the truly wonderful thing about the not-terribly-technologically-inclined is that they don't know what's not possible either. Many of the great insights that have driven the human race forward have come from people who just didn't know any better.

Once it was live, the mums were shown how to use it. Brilliant, they thought, if a little slow (the Internet is soooo much faster on TV).

But how do we determine which guests are coming to the wedding and the reception, and which are just coming to the ceremony? No probs - coupla extra fiddles here, and tick a box to say they're coming to the reception as well. Can we make it so only the ones coming to the reception show up? Little more fiddly, but there it is. Now, about the engagement party . . .

Now, I'm building a database for the gift lists - one list for engagement presents, one for wedding presents. And once an invitee has "dibs" on a particular present, it has to disappear from the list and reappear next to their name in the other database, where there's a tick box to indicate whether or not they've been thanked yet (sheer brilliance).

I don't even want presents. But I've become a full-time Web application developer so that I can reap the material rewards of marriage. What I'd really like is my time back.

Matthew JC. Powell is still looking forward to his wedding. Light at the end of the tunnel should be shown to mjcp@optushome.com.au.


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