We are in the final stages of developing an extension that will help to build forms and do all of these things for you automatically. It will create CSS based forms and automatically add spry and server validations as well as setting the correct default values so that it all works together.
The new form builder product will replace validation toolkit and include all existing validation toolkit functionality as well as the form building wizard. We hope this will make validation tookit functionality much quicker and easier to use. Currently the help documentation is the only source for tutorail like content on the use of validation toolkit.