One of my favorite pieces of wedding planning was creating our wedding website. I remember sitting down at my parents house is Mississippi and spending hours finding the perfect free site to use and going from page to page to write all about us as a couple and our upcoming wedding. It was really fun to write out the background of our relationship and go through the details of our wedding [at least those that were planned at the time].
Here’s the thing, I understand that a wedding website isn’t for everyone or every wedding, but I think it’s a great way for guests to have all the information about your day at their fingertips. It’s also a great way for your guests to get to you and your relationship. Whenever I get a Save the Date with a wedding website included on it, I always go and check it out. It’s such a fun way to get to know the couple more! Plus, I’m just a sucker for engagement stories.
So, let’s talk about what you should include on your site to make sure your guests get the most of it [after all, the site is an informational hub for them]:
::An “about us” page. Include details about where you each grew up, where you went to college, what are your current professions and hobbies. As I mentioned above, this gives guests an opportunity to get to know a little bit about you both before attending your wedding day. I think it’s also fun to do a separate section on this page summarizing what you guys like to do as a couple. Show your individuality but also how show how great you are as a couple.
:: The story of how you met. Even if it was at a bar after one of your friends boyfriends spilled a drink all over you [that’s our story…]… it’s a story unique to your relationship, savor it! You’ll be sharing this story for the rest of your lives, so why not share it here, too?
:: The proposal. It should have been one of the most exciting days of your life to date, so share it with your friends and family. And show off that bling while you’re at it, too!
:: Bridal Party Bios. I LOVE this part of wedding websites. Once you’ve asked all of your family and friends to be part of your wedding party provide a little background on who they are and how you know them. I think it’s so fun to learn how long people have known someone or to hear about how they came to be friends. Make ’em feel special with a picture of the two of you to make it more personal.
:: Ceremony details. Provide the name of the church/venue as well as the address. If you know it, also include the time of the ceremony as well.
:: Reception details. Provide the name of the venue and its address. Also include start time; if you’re having a cocktail hour, make sure that’s noted and then let guests know what time dinner will be served.
:: Accommodations. I think this is one of the nicest part of wedding websites because you can provide web links right to the hotel site. It provides your guests with information on transportation, too [side note: check with your hotel to see if they offer complimentary shuttle services to and from your venue if so many rooms are books. I highly recommend offering this for your guests at the end of the night so no one is drinking and driving. If you negotiate it just right, you could get this service for free for a very minimal fee].
:: Registry information. Etiquette says that it’s not appropriate to share your registry information when sending your invitations [I agree with that], so use your wedding website as a resource. A lot of registries are linked up to the mainstream wedding websites so you can create a link to your specific registry list making it so much easier for your guests to find.
:: Photo albums. Here’s where you get to display all your pretty engagement photos! I also like to look at photos throughout couples’ dating history. My hubs hates photos so we don’t have a ton… but we were dating for more than 6 years before we got married so you can only imagine the age differences from the start of our relationship to current time. Photos are my favorite because it provides visual insight to things you do together, whether it be traveling excursion, sporting events, weekends at the lake or whatever – I feel like I get to know the couple better.
:: RSVPs. If you are looking to save some money, definitely look at the RSVP option that most sites are offering either free of charge or for a small fee. Instead of providing RSVP envelopes, provide RSVP information cards with your invitations letting guests know they can RSVP on your wedding website. It’s a great budget saver [trust me when I say that postage can add up when you think about how many items you mail for your wedding] and an easy way to track your RSVPs in an organized manner. [side note: the only downside that I can see for this service is that there’s always going to be guests, like your grandparents, older aunts/uncles, family friends, etc.] that aren’t computer-savvy or have access to the internet. A way to get around this is to have two separate cards printed and send an actual RSVP card to those guests you think will these issues.]
:: Additional pages to include: Guestbook, blog, information on the rehearsal, directions to and from venues and construction updates.
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I hope those suggestions have inspired you when creating your own wedding sites. Below are some popular websites that offer wedding websites either free of charge or for a small fee. These are great sites for people who don’t have a background in web design as they offer a ton of free templates to use.
This is the site I used for my wedding website. I liked that they had a lot of templates to choose from and offered the RSVP option [although I didn’t end up using it]. I ended up paying an extra $50-60 bucks to use a “premium” template that I was able to customize with our wedding colors and include more photos. The site was active for a year and then deleted [which means I can’t show you what it looked like, sorry friends!]. I just looked at the site again and they have some new template choices and it looks like its integrating the sites to load on mobile devices, too!
It should be no surprise that TheKnot offers a service for free wedding websites! They also have a bunch of cute pre-made templates to choose from, with some of them matching invitation suites from sister companies like Paperless Post and Wedding Paper Divas.
WeddingWire has definitely stepped up its game since I looked at the templates when designing my own website. They have some pretty cool templates to choose from and now offer an option on how you want your site set-up – paged out [so people have to click on the individual pages to get to that information] or stacked [so guests just continue to scroll through all the information or click the link at the top to bring them to the part of the page with that information].
I didn’t come across this site when I was researching wedding websites when creating my own, but I’ve come across quite a few advertisements for this site lately. I took a look at some of their templates and they’re definitely worth checking out!
Obviously these are just a sampling of the different services out there. I picked them because I believe they offer the best templates for people who aren’t super web savvy [cough, cough, me]. Another more personal option is to work with a web designer to have a custom site created. Or buy the domain address and make it something super cute like janelovesjohn.com.
Now, go get started on that site! Remember, this is your chance to give people a sneak peek into how awesome the wedding is going to be – so make it fun, make it creative, make it purrdy! And most of all, have fun with it!