A wedding website used to be something that was a little cheesy and perhaps over-the-top. Now it is a time saver, guest-organiser, and must-have for anyone planning a wedding with guests traveling internationally.
Must haves: These are the things that will help ease communication with your guests, improving their experience of your wedding while making the planning process more enjoyable for you!
- Consistency with your Wedding Theme: Your website will be what your guests return to over and over again. They will refer to it after they get your save the dates, after they get your invitations, and after the wedding if you post photos of the wedding there. So, it is a good idea to keep the colors, logos, tone of writing, etc. all consistent with the rest of your wedding. I love creating custom websites for couples that coordinate perfectly with their stationery.
- A brief letter to your guests: Opening your website with a nice letter to your guests on the homepage, expressing your honest excitement and gratitude, is a great way to start things. This is a good place to mention your website will be updated with more information in the future (if that is the case) so they know to come back and check for future details.
- Travel and Accommodation Logistics: If any of your guests will be coming from out of town, this is where your website will be invaluable. Lists of hotels, driving directions, available trains, can all be included.
- Contact Information: The contact information of your key wedding organisers should be included on your website. This includes the bride, groom, bride’s/groom’s parents (depending on the circumstances of your wedding), and your wedding planner if he or she will be helping coordinate logistics with guests. Think twice before only listing a wedding planner’s contact details unless you have a good reason for doing so; doesn’t it seem a bit impersonal? If people will be calling internationally, make sure to include the exact numbers they dial from their country. They will appreciate it!
- Information Relevant to Your Wedding: Your website is your chance to clarify all the details or your wedding with your guests. So, if you are having multiple events, include a schedule of events for everyone so they know when to be where! If you are inviting or not inviting children, spell that out. If you have a special dress code, include a special section to clarify any questions people might have about what to wear! The bottom line is that you need to think like a guest and include the answers to all the little questions they might think up!
- Photos of the venue: Nothing will get your guests more excited for your big day than a few pretty pictures on your venue. A fun way to do this is to include an automatically scrolling gallery as the focal point on your homepage. Don’t give everything away though if it is a new venue to your guests; the element of surprise is a great thing!
- Gift Registries: According to traditional etiquette, your gift registry shouldn’t be listed on your invitation so your website is the perfect place to put it.
In Vogue: These are the extra things that make your website fun and interesting, but they aren’t necessary!
- A Discussion Board: Having an interactive discussion board is a fun way for guests to get involved before the wedding. You can use it for whatever you would like such as a place for people to openly ask questions, write well wishes, make song requests for the reception, or anything else you can think of!
- Wedding Countdown: This is the stereotypical “days until our wedding” number countdown that most websites have. It’s a good filler on the page and, personally I love watching ours tick downward throughout the year!
- Weather: This probably doesn’t serve too much of a function unless you are having an international destination wedding but it is cool. For domestic weddings, guests would most likely use their own favorite wedding internet sites/TV channels. When clicked on, it shows the weather forecast for the next, e.g., week, in your wedding location. Near the time of your wedding guests might use it to plan what to pack.
- Photos and videos of the Wedding: This has been one of my favorite additions to wedding websites recently. Gone are the days that guests would never get to see the professional photos and videos of the wedding. After the big event, they can be uploaded onto your site for everyone to enjoy!
- Videos: Some venues/locations might have relevant videos (think youtube) floating around out there about them. Finding a place on your website to post them for your guests pre-wedding enjoyment is a good way to get them excited! This is especially fun for destination weddings.
Think Twice: These are the things that either leave people feeling a little sickly looking at a wedding website or that take thought in deciding your personal preference.
- Music: Please, I beg of you, do not put music on your website that everyone has to mute. It is so annoying. And it is bound to cause more than one of your guests an awkward moment at work.
- Bridal Party: Is there really a reason to list all 10 of your bridesmaids, how you met, and the life story of your friendship?
- How you met, fell in love, and got engaged: Same point made directly above. Is this the sort of stuff you want to tell people in person during your engagement period or do you what that personal touch or your website? You decide!
- A photo gallery of everywhere you have ever been and everything you have ever done together: We get it. You like each other! A few pictures are nice but don’t go overboard!
- RSVP: Many pre-built wedding websites have the capabilities for online RSVPs from guests. If you sent out e-invites this could be a great way to get people to RSVP. More formal events demand traditional stationary RSVP cards posted with your invitations. So, if that is what you want, don’t even bother confusing yourself and your guests by having an online RSVP available.