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In the next six months, my son, daughter, and grandson are all getting married. Our family is spread across Ontario and the United States, so I'm thankful to be living in the computer generation. Wedding plans without the advantage of the Internet and email would be a long, difficult process.

To get my point across, let's visit the homes of Miss Modern and Miss Pre-Computer as they prepare for their special days:

Miss Modern has an idea of the venue she would like for her wedding and spends an evening researching on the Internet. She looks at pictures of different halls, along with prices, menus, and features included. After deciding on three possibilities, she emails to ask if they would be available on the wedding date. One hall is booked, so Miss M. and her fiance will go to see both halls and make a final decision. Communication and menu changes are done by email.

Miss M. designs a database for her guest list. Additions and changes are easily made. Invitations are created using special wedding software and elegant blank cards. Easy, attractive and inexpensive.

Again using the database and a signature font, Miss M. creates mailing labels (using transparent labels) for 200 people in less than an hour. To create personalized reply cards, she uses mail merge and the computer inserts names on each card.

A relative in another country would like photos of the couple for a special wedding gift. Using a digital camera, the photos are taken and emailed in plenty of time for the gift to be made.

There are constant questions from the guests about accommodation nearby, what is everyone wearing, what do the young couple need? Emails answer many of the questions and guests are given a website for the bridal registry. Items still needed are listed here, can be purchased without leaving home and will be delivered to the reception. This is a big help to people coming from a distance.

Miss Modern relaxes while she and her future husband look at honeymoon spots - on the Internet of course!

Miss Pre- Computer, on the other hand, has had a headache for days. Too many things to do and not enough time. After weekends spent looking at various halls, she and her fiance can't take it any longer and book the next one they visit.

The guest list has been typed out, but some important people were missed and there are duplicates on the list. Miss Pre-C is not a fast typist when she's stressed, so has to re-do the 200 guest list a number of times before it's right.

Her days are constantly interrupted by phone calls from guests with questions about the wedding. The long distance bill is growing every day.

A friend recommends a good printer for invitations, but he is out of town, and another search begins. The invitations are beautiful, so Miss Pre-C begins addressing the 200 envelopes. Never praised for her handwriting, the last of the envelopes is barely readable. She decides to try again tomorrow.

Relatives need pictures of the couple for a special gift. The photos are mailed and after frantic calls to the post office, are finally delivered, too late to use.

More long distance calls so gifts aren't duplicated.

A frantic call from Gramma at the border. Customs officials are questioning her and are taking apart the gifts. Through her tears, Gramma explains that the 50 items had been individually wrapped.

Miss Pre-C takes a deep breath and considers eloping.

P.S. If you still need convincing, my son met his future bride on the Internet!

Creative Home Computing is a unique online resource, providing the help and ideas to use computers confidently and creatively and have fun in the process. Regardless of your age or skill level, computer literacy will enlarge your world.

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