Wedding websites have gone from being a complicated and few-and-far between add-on to a necessary and standard piece of your wedding planning process. More than ever before your wedding website is THE BEST way to communicate information to your guests in advance of the wedding. But they can still be overwhelming, especially if creating a website is something you’ve never done before. Keep the website as simple as possible and it will be a powerful tool in your planning process, without adding to the heap of things you need to check off your list. Here are my best tips on the bare essentials that you need.
A note about timing: I recommend that couples have their basic website up when their Save the Dates go in the mail and they include the web address on the save the date. This is primarily for travel information and to train your guests to check this website for further information (saves them calling and emailing you with lots of logistics questions). Have at least one basic registry included for those that wish you send you an engagement gift. You can continue to add and finalize your registry in the coming weeks/month with the goal to have it finalized by the time any wedding shower invitations go in the mail.
The Only 5 Things You NEED On your Wedding Website:
YOUR FIRST AND LAST NAMES - For both of you! For a long time I thought this was kind of silly. If you’re inviting someone to your wedding, of course they’re going to know who you are. Not true. Especially in the case of business associate, parents friends and more distant relatives. The first time I received a wedding invitation and had no idea who either of the people were in the photo, I realized this is a basic and necessary item.
DATES AND LOCATIONS OF MAJOR EVENTS - List the date and location of any events open to all wedding attendees. Times can be added later, or listed on the actual invitation. Most people will block out the entire day for a wedding anyway. Listing the date and the location helps them start to make any necessary travel plans.
HOTEL BLOCK INFORMATION - This is the best and easiest place to communicate hotel block information to your guests. List the name and addresses of the hotels in your block. The rate information and most importantly the cut-off date when they need to reserve their room by. Guests who wait until the last minute and miss that cut off date cannot be guaranteed the group rate, and you’re at the mercy of the hotel’s good graces to help them if they contact you desperate for a room.
SHUTTLE OR TRANSIT INFO - List the basics of how guests should get themselves to your ceremony and reception. A simple statement such as, “A shuttle will be provided from the hotel to the venue” or “Guests may self park at the Church and Reception Venue” gives your guests the information they need to make informed decisions for their travel. Do they need to rent a car? Do they need to plan for a driver who will not be drinking at the wedding? More details can be added closer to the wedding, such as shuttle pick up times, but these essentials allow them to make informed travel decisions months in advance.
REGISTRY INFORMATION - This is less of an essential, and more of a “best practice” place to include any registry information. You can link directly to your registry websites and make is easy and seamless for your guests to purchase and often times ship their gifts directly to a location you designate. Wedding gifts are a very standard and lovely pieces of the wedding process, but spending time and celebrating with your loved ones should always be your main focus and priority. In my opinion, listing: “For more information and registries, please visit xxx.com” is a much classier way to communicate the necessities than “The couple is registered at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Nordstroms, REI, Amazon, the cute boutique down the street…”
That’s it! You can stop right there and have a perfectly great and functional wedding website! Get the basics up and add to it if and when you have more information and more time.
Other information that you can certainly include and is very nice for guests includes:
Your RSVP information! See my best practices here for how to know if an electronic RSVP is right for you.
Information about other wedding weekend events - Welcome Parties, Farewell Brunches, Group Wine Tastings, Sight seeing trips. All great ways to spend some extra time with your guests during your wedding weekend!
Wedding Party Information - A listing of your wedding party and why they play a special role in your lives
Your favorite local restaurants, sightseeing spots or things to do in the area
Your proposal story
Background information about your venue if you’re getting married at a location that has historical significance or special meaning to you and your family
Photos of your life together or your engagement photos
What Platform to Use?
My two favorite platforms for wedding websites are Squarespace and Minted. If you have basic website experience and want a more tailored look (and custom URL), then Squarespace is easy and affordable. Minted has a free platform that’s tailored to the look of their invitation suites and gets the basics done easily for you. They also have an upgraded platform with some additional feature.
Hopefully this helpful list gets your on your way to an easy and stress-free wedding website. What other questions do you have about your website or what information to include? Add them in the comments below and I’ll answer as many as I can!