One of the fastest growing trends in wedding planning today is websites. Call them narcissistic, call them TMI or call them a waste of time, but there are several reasons why creating a wedding website is a really good idea. I know this because when I got engaged I spent a ridiculous amount of time creeping on other people’s wedding pages, gathering ideas and seeing which “wedsite” (yes, that is an actual term) builders had the best customization. I also sifted through the myriad options for free and paid wedding website services.
In the end, I decided that our website would be THE go-to place for information about our wedding, and so far it has made my life a lot easier. Here’s how a wedding website can benefit you:
1. SAVE MONEY ON INVITES
We live in a digital age, people. If even my fiance’s family in Fargo, North Dakota are savvy enough to be on Facebook and stop by the World Wide Web on occasion, your family and friends will likely be able to do the same. If you have a website containing all pertinent wedding details, a place to RSVP and maybe even an FAQ, you can keep your invites simple, reduce the number of parts and pieces, and even ditch the pre-paid RSVP envelope.
Our invites are one-sided with a clearly stated message asking guests to visit our website for full wedding details (see below). And because I’m a designer and also a stalker, I can tell through Google Analytics who is visiting our site and from where. It’s amazing! And okay, I’ll admit this might not work for every single guest, but it will work for the majority.
If you have a tech neophyte uncle who lives off the grid and will never see your site, you’ll need to send a carrier pigeon with the full meal deal of information.
2. SET EXPECTATIONS
It’s hard to convey every detail about your wedding to your guests on one little invite. And it’s annoying when they call/email with questions like “where should I park?” and “what’s the dress code for this shindig” or “Can I bring my kid?” Therein lies the greatest reason (in my opinion) for a wedding website.
You can easily set expectations for the wedding and add in all those little details that either don’t fit on your invite or seem odd to list. Anticipate the questions your guests will ask, make sure they’re aware of the things that matter to you, and build up the anticipation for how fun/formal/hot/cold/long/short/crazy/relaxed/whatever your wedding is going to be.
3. CONNECT WITH YOUR GUESTS
It may sound cheesy, but your guests love learning more about you as a couple. They love seeing your pictures, reading stories about how you met, and appreciate understanding your unique personalities. The personal touches you add to your website make your guests excited for the event, increases the likelihood they’ll attend, and ensures they’ll have a better time at your wedding. If they know more about you, they’ll be more likely to appreciate the unique touches at your wedding and why you chose the specific food or venue or theme that you chose.
It’s also a chance for them to weigh in with comments, song suggestions or questions they have. It’s truly a two-way form of communication with your guests. And, it’s just plain fun!
4. RSVP AND REGISTRY INFO
Not only can you manage your RSVPs through your wedding website, but you can create your own unique RSVP forms that reflect your personality. We came up with some quirky answers to replace the usual “yes” and “no” answers like, “Yes! I’ve been looking for an excuse to ditch the kids!” or “No, it’s too close to college football season.” We also asked for guests’ email addresses in case we needed to follow up with any last minute wedding details. Having a separate tab for your registry info is also helpful, as guests can easily find where you’re registered and can click directly to those sites.
Now that you’re sold on this whole wedding website idea, where do you start? Here are a few options that have both free and paid versions depending on how fancy you want to get:
Wix.com: Highly customizable with a lot of bells and whistles for free. I like this because you’re not stuck with one template – you can find one you like and move things around to make it your own. The premium version that allows you to use your own domain (pretty standard to have to pay for this) is just $6.90/month.
WeddingJoJo: Super clean, uncluttered templates, lots of design choices, unlimited photo storage, free planning kit, custom domain and RSVP management for premium members ($14.99/month).
MODWedding: Simple, modern themes, RSVP management included in the free version, customized URL (with modwedding.com at the end), song player, polls and quizzes, plus lots of other free benefits. The paid version is only $4.95/month and gets you more photo storage and 100 “MODcards.”
Here’s a peek at my wedding website, which I used Wix to create. And yes I paid extra for my own domain and the extra functionality. www.MattandGina2014.com / password: bestweddingever
Happy website making!
Gina Borud is a newlywed from Boise, Idaho and has been blogging about her experience as a bride (and now wife!) since April. She owns her own graphic design and consulting business (www.designscribble.com) and works to help individuals, small businesses, nonprofits and startups with their marketing and communication needs. Gina enjoys perfecting her crab cake recipe, drinking wine and playing cribbage with her husband, Matt, and playing outside in the great Idaho outdoors. She’s an avid swimmer, runner, gardener and reality TV junkie.