by Dana W. Todd
Planning a wedding comes with an endless to-do list. It may feel like creating a website for your wedding is just another item to check off the list. Is it important enough to spend precious time creating one?
The consensus among wedding planners is … yes! Putting in a little time up front to create your personalized wedding website pays off later, saving you time and money and creating a repository of memories.
The purpose of a wedding website is to serve as a centralized hub of communication. Everything about your wedding is contained in one place, which can be used by you, your guests and vendors. Having everything in one place is actually a stress reliever as you plan your Big Day. You can design a simple two-page website, according to Shanae “Miss Party Life” Hall of Party Life Productions, that contains basic information—a copy of your invitation, a link to your registry and day-of information, such as parking details—or it can be as elaborate and creative as you want to make it. “Either way, I encourage all my brides to set up a wedding website and publicize the website address on their save-the-date cards that are mailed nine to 12 months before the wedding,” Hall says.
What Do You Put in a Wedding Website?
Besides the basic invitation and a link to your gift registry, a wedding website contains information that is useful for you and your vendors. You can collect RSVPs electronically, so your caterer always has an up-to-date number for food prep, and you know at a glance who has committed to coming. You also don’t have to constantly answer voicemails, emails or texts with repetitious questions from guests because they can quickly find all the answers in one place. Plus, you don’t have to spend money on postage for the RSVP inserts enclosed inside snail mail invitations. “Even 85% of older guests RSVP electronically,” says Hall. “If they don’t understand the technology, there is usually someone in the family who takes care of it for them.
The website can answer logistical questions for your guests such as: What is the dress code? Where can I park? Where is the reception? Will there be a meal at the reception or hors d’oeuvres? Where is a nearby hotel? What restaurants and attractions are close to the venue? Are children invited to the wedding? Have the bride and groom created a wedding hashtag so I can see all the photos and videos? As you can see, you can fill many pages answering frequently asked questions about your event!
Lengthier websites serve as a creative place to store all your memories—the engagement photos, wedding photos and videos, sentiments from guests, details about your love story and bios of each person chosen to participate in the wedding party. Hall recommends a slightly beefier website for dBestination weddings, where you will need to communicate transportation, hotel and other travel information.
Some websites even have a text blast feature, where brides can push information out to all guests on the day of the wedding. This feature is particularly helpful when plans change due to unforeseen circumstances, such as rain or new parking accommodations.
Is a Wedding Website Expensive?
Most brides are keeping a watchful eye on the budget, but Hall says wedding websites are so inexpensive that they often aren’t even a part of the budget. Some companies, such as Zola and Minted, provide free template-based wedding websites, where no technology experience is required to create your web pages. You can pay for upgrades on these types of websites or you can go truly custom with a personalized domain name and a website hosted by a national provider, such as BlueHost, for just a few dollars per year. Either way you choose, you control how long the website stays live and if it’s password-protected or not.
Look at a wedding website as a necessity, but a fun one. You will be creating and adding the bulk of the content to it in the early months of your engagement before the wedding pace becomes frantic. You can take your time designing and changing text on the pages and only make the website “live” when you are ready for everyone to see it. A wedding website is a flexible tool that makes a bride’s life easier and the planning process more efficient, and it is an everlasting memory for you and your spouse.