For all that we’ve talked about how to make your wedding website pretty (hint: Squarespace makes super pretty ones), the truth is, your wedding website is really about conveying information to your guests in order to help them have a good time. Because the number one rule for having a fun wedding is making sure people know what to expect. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of a big project (like, say a wedding), it’s easy to fall into the familiar trap of thinking ALL the information is important. Which leads to glassy eyes glazed over your wedding website, missing all the good stuff. So before you fall down the rabbit hole, here’s what to include in a wedding website to make it actually useful:
1. It’s All For You, Self
When Meg and I were consulting for this post, she mentioned to me that she’d signed up for analytics on her own wedding website (girlfriend’s been tracking website data since… forever). You know what she found out? Basically the only section anyone visited was the registries page. So while your wedding website is about conveying information to your guests, emotionally it’s really for you and your partner. Which means that before you go crazy trying to design the world’s most interesting wedding website, make sure you actually care about having the world’s most interesting wedding website in the first place. If you want a creative outlet and a cool project that combines your witty writing style and mad design skills, go for it. If it’s just another chore to cross off the list, well, you can still have a wedding website, but give yourself permission to try just a little less hard on it.
2. Inform, Don’t Instruct
A wedding website is a quick way to let your guests know the important details about your wedding, like where it is, and when, so that they don’t come and bug you for directions to the reception when they lose the invitation (cough, me). But don’t confuse informing with instructing. Informing means giving people all the important details they need to make an informed decision about how to approach your wedding (e.g., the grass is going to be like quicksand, so it might not be friendly for stilettos and other high heeled shoes). Instructing is telling people how they should approach your wedding (e.g., we’re getting married outdoors, so no fancy shoes allowed). No matter how nicely you phrase it, or how helpful your intentions are, no one likes to be told what to do, especially older guests who have been going to weddings for longer than you’ve been alive. So consider your wedding website the one place where we support #BanBossy, and encourage helpful information instead.
3. Let People Know What To Expect
While you don’t need to tell people how to wedding, you do want to let your guests know if anything at your wedding is going to be out of the ordinary. Will your ceremony be an hour of standing room only? Let people know. Will the reception feature a cash bar? Let ’em know. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a party and feeling you missed an important memo/left your cash at home. If there are aspects of your wedding that require a little more explanation, this is the place to elaborate. Beyond that, some information is more useful than other information (read on to find out exactly what).
4. Your Bio and “How We Met” are Actually Helpful
I used to think that the “About” pages on wedding websites were a waste of time. Then I went to a family wedding where I only knew the groom, and desperately wished I knew more about the woman he was marrying, because now I really want to be her friend. Over the course of the wedding, I found out that their “How We Met” story was particularly sweet, and I wished I’d taken the time to learn more about them as a couple before going to the wedding. So while it probably feels redundant to tell your guests about yourselves (especially if you’re not having a lot or any plus ones), even the people who know you personally will be coming to the wedding with differing levels of knowledge about your relationship. So feel free to get everyone up to speed. If the idea of writing about yourselves feels particularly torturous, you have our permission to take a page from Meg’s handbook and have someone else write your bio for you. Your partner is a good place to start.
5. Your Wedding Party Doesn’t Really Need Their Own Page
While it can be nice to honor your wedding party on your wedding website, as a guest, these pages sometimes leave me with that same feeling that “Hot Or Not” lists left me with in middle school. Which is to say, left out. So feel free to ditch this page and instead honor your wedding party in real time at the wedding itself. The same goes for including wedding party exclusive events on the wedding website. If you need a place to convey information to about showers and other invite-only events to your wedding party (or any other special guests for that matter), keep those pages password protected to avoid any hurt feelings.
6. When It Comes to Registries, Less is More
Registries blur the line between informing and instructing. If Meg’s analytics prove true, most people are coming to your wedding website exclusively for your registry information, and etiquette says that a wedding website is one of the few official modes of wedding communication where it’s okay to include registry information. (Well, kinda. Formal etiquette says you can’t tell people about your registry ever, but that’s no longer realistic. But inside the invitations, for example, is still generally still discouraged. Do with that what you will.) Your guests will thank you if you just embed a link to your registry right in the page (which you can do with Squarespace, in case you were wondering). That said, if you’ve opted against a wedding registry, or are hoping for cash (it’s okay, you can say it here), less may be more when it comes to telling people. (Know your crowd. But the direct ask online might not always actually be the most effective way to… get cash.)
It’s easy to over-explain your registry choice, but you don’t have to. This isn’t your wedding guests’ first time at the rodeo. They’ll be able to fill in any gaps just fine, and if they can’t, they’ll get on the party line to find out how to proceed. So give everyone the minimum information required to make a decision about what to get you, and trust that it’ll get sorted out. Sample language might include:
We are so happy that you’ll be able to join us for our wedding. As many of you know, this is a second wedding for both of us, and our house is already filled with all the things we could ever need to make it a home. While the presence of your company is the only gift we could ever ask for, an alternative registry has been set up here for those who have expressed an interest in offering a gift to mark the occasion.
7. répondez s’il vous plaît
Most wedding websites come with RSVP software. (Squarespace is one of them.) Use. It. Tracking down RSVPs is a pain in the ass, so help your guests help you by giving them multiple points of entry to the RSVP. The one wedding I responded to on time this year was the one with an online RSVP option. You can still do traditional paper RSVPs and use the online RSVP as a backup for your slacker friends who can’t ever seem to get to a mailbox (a.k.a. me). And you’ll thank yourself later when you’re only making a handful of “Are you definitely coming?” phone calls the month of the wedding, instead of a few dozen.
8. Don’t Forget About Logistics
Remember what I said above about making sure that you’re creating your wedding website because it’s something you want to do? Well that’s because, for the most part, people are really just going to use your wedding website to figure out:
- How to get to the ceremony
- What time it starts
- What gift to get you
- A rough idea of what to wear
- If it’s a cash bar
So make sure to include the above information in a clear, easy-to-identify place so that you don’t end up fielding phone calls from guests with boundary issues the day before the wedding, asking where and when the ceremony is going to be and what they should wear.
Of course it goes without saying that you can do all of the above with Squarespace (in addition to other things like having your own URL and being able to customize really clean, minimal designs). For more information about how to build a wedding website using Squarespace, check out our tutorials: How To Build a Wedding Website and What To Do With All Those Engagement Photos.
Now we kick it to you, APW. What kind of information did you include in your wedding website? What kind of information do you look for as a guest?
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