How to Create a Wedding Website
The good news is that you really don't need advanced skills to make a wedding website. Many different companies can help you to create your wedding website in a few steps that are as easy as filling out a form. You and your spouse-to-be only need to agree on what details to include. Start by reading my recommendations for both paid and free wedding website companies
If you do have HTML and web skills, you can start from scratch and build a wedding website that reflects your personality and incorporates the color scheme and design elements from your celebration.
You'll need to register and pay for a domain name, buy hosting, and then build the site. How to build a basic site
You could also hire a professional web designer to build a wedding website from scratch. They should be knowledgeable enough that you'll only need to provide the basic information and they'll do the rest. How to hire a web designer
What to Include On Your Wedding Website
I think every wedding website should include:
- Basic Info
You'll definitely want to include your names, the date, and where and when the ceremony and reception will be held. Make sure you've answered Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
- Directions and Maps
Basic directions are essential on a wedding website, and it's also helpful to also include nearby landmarks (e.g.: turn right on Maple by the large red barn and the gas station) You can link to maps like maps.google.com, or embed beautifully drawn custom maps.
- Hotel Information
Whether you have reserved a block of rooms or just want to recommend nearby options, out-of-town guests will need help from you in finding a place to stay. Links on a wedding website are probably the easiest way to help them.
- Suggested Attire
Guests always want to know "What should I wear to this wedding?" So help them out by telling them that it's a formal affair, or that relaxed jeans and cowboy hats are perfect.
Your wedding website might also include:
- Wedding Party Info
Who are your bridesmaids and groomsmen, and why did you ask them to be in your wedding?
- Registry Info
Though it's not okay to include registry information on your invitations, a convenient link on your wedding website will probably be appreciated by your guests. Since you would never want to imply that guests are obligated to bring you a gift, I suggest that couples make sure the link is discreet. You could either put it below the other information or only link from a secondary page.
- Stories about Your Engagement or How You Met
Hearing about your romance will help guests get excited for the big day.
- Online RSVP
Some couples prefer the convenience and cost-savings of having guests RSVP on their wedding website, rather than using a response card.
- Photos and/or Videos
All your guests will probably appreciate seeing a few cute photos, but it's especially nice for those who've never met one of you to see how handsome, gorgeous, and in love you are. Just don't go overboard - no one needs to wade through all 749 photos from your last vacation together.
Now that you know what you need to include, it's time to get started on your own wedding website!
Page 2: My recommendations for both paid and free wedding website companies
Free Wedding Website Providers
- Ewedding.com The 24 page designs on this site are basic but attractive. But what really makes this site better than the other free providers are the many customizable pages such as quizzes, polls, guest list, wish list, and even a way to recommend your favorite vendors. Ewedding also offers upgrades for a monthly fee - see below under paid wedding websites.
- The Knot
One of the first to provide free wedding websites, the Knot has recently upgraded their options to include 20+ modern and clean designs, and greater ability to customize. They also offer coordinating save-the-date emails and, since the Knot seems to never miss an opportunity to sell, coordinating favors, napkins, and other products.
- Wedding Channel
The designs here are pretty basic but easy to use. The best part is that the Wedding Channel will make a donation to your favorite charity whenever guests use a link from their registry page to buy you wedding gifts. Getting a gift is even sweeter when you get to do good at the same time.
Paid Wedding Websites
If you want to have a more sophisticated design, your own domain name (like www.hunterandmiloswedding.com) or the ability to customize your pages, you might find it worth paying for your wedding website. Here are some of the popular options available:
Along with the options in the free version described above, for as low as $4.95 a month you get your own domain name and more bandwidth (for those of you who anticipate having a lot of visitors to your wedding website!). (for those of you who anticipate having a lot of visitors to your wedding website!).
This is the rare wedding website that offers a month-by-month option available. I find their designs a bit cheesy, but they've got unique and easy-to-use options like a family tree, custom audio message for your guests, and real-time weather information.
The modern eye-catching designs are created by some of the top invitation designers, meaning that not only can you find designs to fit your personality and style, but you can coordinate your wedding website with the rest of your event. But Nearlyweds also has the most features of the wedding website providers I've looked at. Not only can your guests RSVP online and leave comments in a guestbook, but they can read your wedding blog, see your photos and videos, hear embedded mp3s, and even use interactive maps. You can password protect the site so that only your guests can read the information, and use the site to manage your guest list. And editing your wedding website is incredibly easy. All these features aren't free, though: you'll pay either $14.95 a month or $99 for a full year.
- Weddingwindow.com This might be my top recommendation for a paid wedding website provider. They offer a month-by-month option for just slightly more than MyEvent and even more features and options than Nearlyweds. You should note that editing is not quite as easy as it is on Nearlyweds, and design snobs might find the layouts to be too simplistic. I still think most will find that there are plenty of options to choose from and that the software is easy enough to use.
Whichever of these wedding websites look promising to you, be sure to test out their free trials before signing up. Then you can see if it's the right wedding website for you.
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