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How To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace


The idiot's guide to good design

by Maddie Eisenhart, Digital Director & Style Editor

How To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical WeddingHow To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical Wedding

The problem with most wedding websites is that they assume you either have design skills, or if you don’t have design skills, that you don’t care enough about design to want something pretty. Which, every lazy girl in the house knows is patently untrue. I would like to both have my cake and eat it too, without needing a degree in culinary arts pleaseandthankyou.

Having no formal training in anything except watching TV and talking about it, any technological know-how I posses is entirely self-taught. Which means that with limited capital and a small business to run, I’ve had the pleasure (read: hair-pulling) of creating a website on all the most popular inexpensive website platforms. The upside to being self taught, other than fierce Google-fu, is that I get to make all the mistakes first, and then can break complicated stuff down for people who have less time and patience at their disposal. (You’re welcome, Mom.) So when Squarespace approached us about teaming up again, I knew I wanted to deconstruct the process of creating a wedding website into something that involves fewer mistakes and less hair pulling for you.

Before I get into the details, let’s talk about who Squarespace is a good fit for:

  • Design is your top priority (and you don’t have a million dollars.) Most wedding websites are a variation on the old school blog format. You get a background, and some color options, and it’s all very heavily themed (Beach wedding! Hot pink wedding! Stripes!) Squarespace is a much more minimal, modern platform. They don’t have hundreds of templates to choose from, but the ones they do offer have a beautiful, streamlined aesthetic that’s a serious departure from the standard wedding fare.
  • You want control, but not too much. You don’t need any coding knowledge to use Squarespace (and for the purposes of this tutorial, I’m going to pretend you don’t have any. If you do, you’re already a hundred steps ahead of me.) No coding means that using Squarespace is really easy to use, but it also means that you want to approach your wedding website with the idea of modifying an existing template, rather than starting from the ground up. Having created a few websites of my own, I actually find this really liberating. When you’re not well versed in development or design, it’s nice to have all that structure built in, so that all you have to do is improve the foundation with your own accents (pictures, fonts, colors, etc.) Think of it like moving into a house that already has all the architecture, fixtures and design elements you love. You’re just there to move your furniture in and paint the walls a pretty color.
  • You want your own URL. Squarespace isn’t a free platform, but the $8 a month you spend on your wedding website gets you a pretty awesome perk (in addition to all that lovely design): your own URL. So if having yoursandmyname.com is something you care about, Squarespace is an easy way to make that happen without having to think about hosting somewhere else (offsite hosting felt impossible to figure out when I was just starting to learn about building websites.)

So now you’re ready to start building your wedding website! What do you do now?

How To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical Wedding

pick a template: Squarespace has a whole list of  recommendations for which templates are best suited to wedding websites, right over here. For the purposes of this tutorial, I picked a template that utilized one big picture as the main focal point (it’s called “Aviator”). We’ll have follow-up posts in the next few months on how to create a wedding website if you want to show off lots of photos, and how to create a typography-based site if you don’t have any photos, but for the basic how-to, we wanted to work with something that had fewer moving parts. When choosing your template, here’s what you want to keep an eye out for:

  • You should like the general layout of the main page. Try not to get distracted by things like color schemes or fonts, because those are very easy to change. You just want to make sure you like the layout (i.e. where the text is, where the menus live, and what the main design element looks like.) Things like menu placement and galleries are often not things you can change.
  • Look at what other people have done with the layout you’ve chosen. This will help you get a feel for what kind of changes you can make, and can help guide your own choices
  • If you choose a template and decide you don’t like it after tinkering a bit, it’s no big deal at all. In the “settings” section of your website’s editing module, there’s a menu option called “templates.” From inside there you can install a new template, preview it with your site’s logo, and then change it up if you like the way it looks. You can always go back to your old template or choose another one, because Squarespace’s templates are all free with the platform.

How To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical Wedding

Name it: Squarespace is going to take you through the steps to change the name and tagline of your website. A good recommendation from Squarespace: make the title your name and your partner’s name, and the tagline your wedding date and location. The title and tagline show up on every page of your site, which takes the place of a logo if you don’t have one.

Customize! This is the part you’re really here for. Customizing with Squarespace is super easy, but it does take a little getting used to their editing software. (I spent half an hour looking for the button that lets you change your background image, because… see… this is not what I’m trained to do. Don’t worry, I’ll show you where it lives.) If you’re having a hard time following along, Squarespace created a twenty-minute wedding website tutorial video that is absolutely worth watching (seriously it’ll save you way more than twenty minutes of looking around.)

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’re going to focus on getting things to look the way you want. The video I just linked to will give you a much better overview of other more logistical stuff like setting up a registry page that can accept donations, for example, or creating an online RSVP. But the design part requires a bit more trial and error, so here are some tips, tricks and cheats to help you along the way:

  • Editing your main page: Most of the editing I did on the main page of my website was in the live preview mode of Squarespace (Squarespace calls this the Style Editor. You can see how changes look as you’re making them.) The preview button is the one that looks like an eyeball. Once you’re in the Style Editor, the paintbrush icon in the bottom right hand corner is how you change fonts, colors, photos, etc. and the pencil icon next to it is how you make text and content changes. I ended up using the paintbrush icon much more than the pencil one, and only really used the pencil icon on interior pages.

How To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical WeddingHow To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical Wedding

  • Choosing a photo: The photos that worked best for me were ones that didn’t have a lot of contrast and provided enough negative space for my text to stand out (your mileage may vary, depending on what color and size fonts you use.) If you have a photo you love and it’s too bright or has too much contrast for lightly colored text, the style editor lets you add a color overlay to your home page image (in my sample website above, there’s a subtle grey overlay that helps my text show up better.) Don’t have any good photos of you and your partner? No problem. You can find a photo on Flickr that fits the theme of your wedding by searching for things that have “Creative Commons” use (just be careful to pay attention to the license associated with your creative commons photo to see if you need to attribute the photo or give credit otherwise. Look for the words “some rights reserved.”) In just a few minutes of searching, I was able to find a really cool picture of string lights, one of disco balls, cool film photos of New York, and even some scans of vintage postcards from where we got married, all with Creative Commons Licenses.) If you want a more indie-feeling site, search for photos with “film” in the description.

How To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical WeddingHow To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical WeddingHow To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical WeddingHow To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical WeddingHow To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical Wedding

  • Changing your background photo: This took me forever to figure out, so I’ll just give it to you here. In the Squarespace Style Editor, there’s a pre-existing background image already loaded into your template. If you click on it, you’ll see a small trash can (it’s tiny and white, but it’s there.) Delete the photo that’s already in there, and it’ll be replaced with an upload button. Any time you want to change that image, just delete the old one and upload a new one.

How To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical Wedding

  • Choosing your colors: If you’re not well versed in color theory, the easiest way to choose colors is to work with what’s already in your photo. Google Chrome has a great (free) extension called “colorzilla” that can analyze the color in any web page just by hovering over it. So for my menu color, I used Colorzilla to grab the color code of the pants in my photo, then I input that color code into the Style Editor for my menu text and increased the brightness a bunch so it was more legible.

Once you’ve got your main image, your colors and a general feel for your website, the rest of the game is going to be about consistency (making sure you use the same fonts across your website, the same accent colors, etc.) If you get stuck, Squarespace has 24/7 customer support, plus a ton of video tutorials, and a surprisingly helpful forum (the questions that were stumping me the most were easily found through a quick search of one of the forums, or a Google search that led me back to the Squarespace forums.) It’s worth mentioning that I did all of this work without ever having to give Squarespace my credit card (just an email address to create my login.) So if you aren’t sure you’re even capable of making a wedding website you’ll like, but you want to try, you can try Squarespace out for free for 14 days. No strings attached.

We’ll be back next month with an in-depth tutorial on using those lovely engagement photos to make a kickass wedding website. In the meantime, if you’ve been struggling to create a wedding website and want more advice in our next tutorial, leave it in the comments. And if you created a wedding website using Squarespace and want to share it with us, leave a link over on our Facebook page so we can show off your hard work (and maybe steal some of your ideas.)

squarespace is offering 10% off yearly subscriptions to all apw readers. just use the code apw14 at checkout! click here to start your 14-day free trial.

How To Make a Wedding Website Using Squarespace | A Practical Wedding

This post was sponsored by Squarespace. Thanks Squarespace for helping make the APW mission possible!

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is the Managing Editor of A Practical Wedding. She’s been writing stories about boys and crushes since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) in the art of talking from NYU in 2008. In her spare time, she takes pictures of people in love. Maddie lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband Michael, her Mastiff named Juno, and her roommate named Joe.

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  • Christen Moynihan

    THAT DRESS.

    • Riah

      I know. Does anyone know what it is or where I can get it? Amazing.

      • http://www.aprilbooth.com/ April

        This is the same question I had. Love that dress.

        • Claire E Murphy

          Same question! Absolutely love that dress. Where can I get it?

          • blimunda

            You can’t. It’s Meg’s, and vintage. I know, I’ve been mourning it for years now (I actually came to check the comments because every time it appears in a picture someone always points out how awesome it is – Meg, you should tag it!!)

          • http://www.aprilbooth.com/ April

            OOooo It is so beautiful. I’ll just have to be satisfied that it exists in the world. :D

          • Maddie Eisenhart

            BUTTT, this is pretty close! http://bit.ly/1ncxgO5

      • Maddie Eisenhart

        It’s vintage, but this one’s pretty close! http://bit.ly/1ncxgO5

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  • light0a0candle

    I used squarespace for my wedding website and whoa, love it. It has so much functionality and looks amazing.

  • Katelyn

    We used Squarespace and the Aviator template! I’m sure there will be more tutorials, but I just wanted to say how AMAZING the Squarespace forms are, which we used for RSVP’s in addition to a Google Voice number. The form is hooked up to a Google doc and I get an automatic e-mail anytime someone responds.

    Here’s a link to our site (I’ve slightly modified it for privacy and will take down the link tomorrow): http://www.billandkatelyn.com/

    • http://instagram.com/mint.car Kamala

      Yes! I was about to ask if anyone had any experience using squarespace for RSVPs! Did you have any sort of woes with the online RSVPs that wouldn’t have been an issue with paper RSVPs?

      • Katelyn

        I thought setting up the RSVP’s was pretty straightforward once I came up with a list of questions. I leaned toward allowing free-form fields for our guests to enter information in a way that was most natural to them instead of sticking to a strict structure.

        Something that was tedious (but not any more so than, say, numbering RSVP cards in pencil) was making a list of households for our guests to choose from a drop-down list. I typed it up in a spreadsheet and then alphabetized it before copying it into the form interface. (I removed that question on our RSVP form before posting here for our guests’ privacy.)

        Also, we were slightly worried about our less technically inclined guests, so we set up the phone number in addition to the website and I had to think up and record a custom voice message.

        The only other thing I wish the Squarespace Forms would do is have an option that would eliminate a selection from the drop-down list once it has been selected and submitted. This could have been a neat way to keep track of who hadn’t RSVP’d yet, but I had another spreadsheet to do that instead.

        On a tangential note, I would HIGHLY recommend Squarespace Forms over Google Forms. They’re essentially the same thing but SS really nails the interface and visually is much more professional. For example, to make our drop-down list of households in Squarespace, it was a simple copy and paste with each carriage return determining separate list items. But in Google Forms, you need to enter each item individually and then click an “Add Another…” button over and over.

        • http://instagram.com/mint.car Kamala

          Awesome! Our only real concern was a few family members who would be leery of the eRSVP but I’m thinking that it shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for all the info!!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        As a guest, I recently RSVP’d online, and that wedding website (not a squarespace site) couldn’t find my or my husband’s name, though I tried a few combinations/forms. The website said it sent an email to the couple to inform them that someone with the names I entered tried to RSVP. We also got a paper RSVP card with the invitation, and we also returned that, so there was no possibility of a missing RSVP from the couple’s point of view (and I tried to be really clear about RSVPing twice), but as a guest, it was kind of disconcerting to not be recognized by the website.

        Years ago, I was also a bit hurt when a couple’s website showed events to which I was not invited.

    • Sarah E

      Thanks for sharing! I really like the wording you used for your registry.

      • Katelyn

        Thanks, feel free to borrow it!

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Will you accept party crashers who are really excited about your menu? #KingCrabOMG #AllCrabEverything

      • Katelyn

        Ha! What’s funny is that we’ve had to play up the *steakhouse* component to my family, yay Midwesterners. I am equally excited about crab as you. And if you’d like to haul over to Vegas in two weekends, I’ll save you a seat! #notkidding

    • Nic. I

      Looks great. Thanks for letting us take a look:)

  • Ali

    Is there a way to password protect the site? That’s my biggest concern – having strangers check out all the wedding details, or having it show up in a google search.

    • Sarah

      Word. This was also a big concern of mine when I was wedding planning.

    • Katelyn

      Yes!

      • Ali

        Great! Thank you :)

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Good question! I just sent it to the folks at Squarespace for an answer.

  • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

    We used Squarespace and it was fantastic! I can’t remember the theme we ended up using, but I was able to build it in a way where we just had a solid color background and then a large-ish image on each page. It was super simple and clean but it was good for us since we had our engagement photos taken super late and all the other photos I tried to sub in made it too hard to read.

    Anyway, I got a little addicted to designing ours and definitely recommend Squarespace!

  • Gen

    I used Squarespace’s Aviator and loved it, and got tons of compliments. One warning: many templates (including Aviator) don’t let you have a menu/homepage search function, and the search bars for the individual pages don’t integrate in a good-looking way. It’s something to keep in mind if you have a lot of content to share, which I do – it was frustrating to realize that people couldn’t just search for “hotel” or “reception” from the homepage.

  • Jennifer

    We’re using Squarespace – I spent way to much time researching all of the various website options out there and decided that it was the easiest non-wedding specific web development platform to use. I did have to inject some code when constructing our FAQ (collapsing/expanding bullets is not a standard feature), but it was pretty easy to find the relevant code online. What it’s not great for is if you want to put information about multiple events that you’re not inviting everyone to (say a rehearsal dinner) on your site- unlike some of the wedding specific sites, everyone sees everything with Squarespace. The password protection works well for those of you concerned about privacy.

  • NicoleT

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to set up a main wedding website with squarespace and then have a separate section/website (preferably for no/minimal extra cost) that only certain guests can see when they enter a password? (Read: I’m having a ceremony and reception for everyone and then a smaller evening reception for select guests.) Is it easier to just set up two different websites for that?

    • Katelyn

      It’s pretty easy to set a password for an individual page of a Squarespace site – it’s under that page’s Settings button in the upper right hand corner when you’re on that page.

      Additionally, not all the pages that exist on the site need to appear on the menu. I have several that are in my “Not Linked” section for various reasons, but anyone with the direct URL could access them.

      You could password-protect a page and set it to “Not Linked”, only sharing the URL and password with the guests who need the information. You could also “Easter Egg” link it by putting in a non-obvious link somewhere on a main page.

      That page could either sit solo or serve up hyperlinks to other “hidden” pages with additional information.

      Let me know if this wasn’t clear enough (the short answer is YES, you can do it, with a bit of finagling)

      • NicoleT

        Fantastic! This was very clear and seems pretty convenient. That was the only thing I was worried about for setting up a site. Thank you!

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  • Mel Dawn

    The vintage dress is awazing! If it can’t be found anywhere, then I guess there’s always the option to have your own made, right? Of course you’d have fun finding that fabric. I suppose you could find a fabric you love, you don’t want to totally match someone else’s dress anyway! ~Paper mache dress form

  • melgibbs

    Cool!!!

  • EveRaphael

    Looks amazing! But I just tried to use the APW14 code to get the discount and it said it was an invalid code? Is there something I’m missing?

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Should be working now! Thanks for catching that! When I told Squarespace about the discrepancy, they said they’d like to offer a few months at no charge to make up for the trouble, so keep an eye out for an email from me to that extent!