Wednesday, April 16, 2014

If you've been following Sam and Sarah's Wedding Series or have seen our post on wedding registry, you'll know that our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to wedding planning. This tech-savvy gal is extremely organized and utilizes the best sites to keep her guests, family, and wedding party informed. Before planning your own wedding website, read on for Sam's helpful information on creating your wedding website.

The first thing you have to decide on is which wedding site you want to build your own site through. There are two well-known and reliable free sources I'd recommend -- The Knot and Wedding Wire. If you're willing to pay and have the budget for it, The Appy Couple, Riley & Grey, SquareSpace and Sitting In A Tree are all wonderful options. Once you sign up for your website, you can include the link in your wedding invite, though I'd suggest sharing it on the backside or on a separate slip so it doesn't ruin the design of the invitation.

Wedding Website Pros:
There are so many pros to building a wedding website! First, you can save money on the invites you send out, as you don't have to include as much information in the mail and have the freedom to make changes if need be. Second, you can link your registry to your website, which keeps it all in one place. Third, you can include additional information that isn't typically included in invitations, which will keep you from receiving lots of emails and calls inquiring about those details. Fourth, your site will show up in search engine results, which is helpful in the event a guest loses their invitation or is out somewhere without the link on hand, wanting to access information. Fifth, you can link directly to a map to help guests locate the venue. The list goes on and on -- you have endless possibilities when you create a wedding website!

Wedding Website Pages:
Now that you've decided to create a wedding website, it's time to plan the pages! Here are the various pages I recommend including on your site.

This page is pretty simple. You can include a cute little blurb about how excited you are for your guests to join you on your special day and a reminder to keep checking back for updates on the site.

About Us: Not everyone will know both the groom and the bride. Some guests may know one of you well and only have briefly met the other, so you can use this space to elaborate more on yourselves. Include information such as where you graduated, your hobbies, where you work, and any other fun facts that best show off your personality.

The Proposal Story: Similar to the above, not everyone who is invited to your wedding will know the proposal story. I think I've recited mine at least 17 times now, and the last thing I want at the wedding is people asking me how it happened while I'm eating, dancing, or cutting the cake. I figured it would be best to have this on our page so everyone would be able to read it before the wedding.

The Wedding Party: This is a great way to announce who is in the wedding. You could even go into detail about the friendships and relationships you share with those in your party!

The Ceremony + The Reception: This page is very important. Here you can add the start times for both events, along with the addresses. We also included a nice description about each location so that guests would know what to expect. This page will include some of the most vital information, so make sure to explain things clearly to avoid any mix-ups or confusion.

Guest Information: This page can include anything else that guests will need to know. I included the hotels where I blocked out rooms, the dress code, weather prediction, and a very important notice from our venue that they required we shared with our guests. I also included our email addresses and my cell number in case anyone had questions. You can also include a list of possible questions that your guests might have (see below for possible guest questions to include).

Registry:  To practice proper etiquette, it's best to not mention your registry in your invite and only include it on your wedding site. This page should auto-generate after you've added where you are registered; I made our wedding website through The Knot and it automatically pulled all the stores and products we registered for right onto our site. You can also include if you would rather have gift cards or money to help with a down-payment on a house. See my Registry Recommendations for more information!

Honeymoon: Unless you are asking for honeymoon funds via your registry, I don't think this page is completely necessary other than announcing where you plan to jet off to after the big day. Since my fiance and I haven't decided yet, I just filled in this page to say we are still debating, but Portland, OR is at the top of our list. Your guests (especially family) might love to know this kind of information.

RSVP: This isn't a feature on all wedding websites, but some have the option to allow guests to electronically respond via their site. I personally prefer the old-fashioned snail mail insert, but this is definitely a way to save you money by not adding the RSVP insert, an envelope, and a stamp to your physical invite.

Possible Guest Questions To Include:
While it might seem a bit overly-informative to include this section on your website, I know I'd rather have all the information available for anyone who might have additional questions. You can even use your question section to try to avoid potential negative situations. For example, include a question like, "Do you have colors you don't want us to wear?"  to make sure that guest won't match the bridal party. Perhaps you didn't consider that situation before, and accidental matching would bother you! Having this question and answer available on your site will ensure that only your bridesmaids will be in blush pink on your big day.

Here are some other great questions to answer on your site:

When is the RSVP deadline? You can even include that they should expect a call if the deadline isn't promptly met!

How do I get to the venue? Link to your Ceremony and Reception page with the listed address.

Will there be parking? If the venue doesn't have its own parking, you can include local parking options.

Will I have to pay for parking? Will there be valet? Let your guests know if the parking is free or if you have already covered the cost. Also specify if guests should tip the parking attendant or if that has been covered as well.

What should I wear? What is the dress code? Take into account the weather -- will they need a jacket or sunscreen? Will the event be taking place on hardwood, grass, or dirt?

Are there any colors you don't want guests to wear? As we talked about earlier, this is the place to address that your guests should aim to stay away from the bridal party colors, and to mention any other colors you don't want at your wedding.

Are children welcome?

May I bring a date? Specify how strict your guest policy is. Are you only allowing guests who were listed on the invite?

Will dinner/food be served? What kind of food will be served? What if I have a dietary restriction?

Will there be alcohol? Here you can specify is the wedding is dry or if you will be having an open or cash bar.

Will there be dancing? Can I request a song?

Can I bring a camera and take pictures? If you want guests to take pictures, this is a good place to include your email if you would like them to email you afterwards. Also, do you want to have an Instagram hashtag? You can announce it here!

Are the ceremony and reception locations wheelchair accessible?

Happy website-making,
-- Sam, Marketing Coordinator

Images via Style Me Pretty

We hope this post will help you create a truly informative and easily accessibly wedding website. Is there anything else you're making sure to include on your site?

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  • Thank you for the detailed breakdown of wedding websites! I'm going to pass this post along to my brides.

    Posted on April 16, 2014

  • You forgot an amazing wedding website: Riley and Grey. Their templates are easy to use and ridiculously elegant.

    Posted on April 16, 2014

  • I made mine at WeddingWoo It's really easy to use and pretty! I really liked being able to customize my design and it has a really cool Instagram feature that sealed the deal for me :)

    Posted on April 18, 2014