One of the most stressful aspects of planning a wedding is how the industry trades in anxiety. There are a thousand click-baity articles about all of the things your wedding is missing, and most of them are filled with stuff your wedding doesn’t need anyway. And while it would be great to tell you that you can ignore all that, the problem is, nestled in among the fluff are a few nuggets of planning advice that might actually save you some time and stress. And if you haven’t planned a bunch of weddings before, it’s hard to tell what’s important and what’s not.
Luckily, Meg and I have both spent the last two years helping our friends plan weddings, which means we’ve been up close and personal with the real-life stressors of wedding planning. And today we’ve partnered up with Squarespace to share the five most important, ignore-everything-else-and-you’ll-be-okay pieces of advice that will get you through the rest of this journey, and how you can apply them to your wedding website too.
If you’ve been following along for a while now, you’ll know that Squarespace is our favorite for totally customizable wedding websites, thanks to their designer templates and actually easy-to-use software, which makes it one very easy wedding win.
Don’t prioritize form over function
The internet is rife with visual wedding inspiration (and a tad short on actual planning help). Gorgeous tablescapes! Beautiful backdrops! But how your wedding looks is actually a small fraction of what’s going to make your wedding enjoyable for your guests. Because what usually contributes most to guest experience is a well-organized event. Think: getting fed on time. Knowing where to sit. Being able to find the venue. So even though they are a time suck, you’ll want to make sure to do your due diligence and create a timeline, packing lists, and assign someone to be your point person for the day-of. And then print everything in triplicate.
Similarly, when it comes time to create your wedding website, don’t lose sight of function there either. The most important parts of your wedding website are going to be the RSVP page and the registry page. And luckily, all of Squarespace’s wedding templates come with those already built in (and with their Zola block, you can actually embed your Zola registry straight into your Squarespace wedding website, so your guests never have to leave the page to visit it). Everything else, from the photos to your “about us” are just for fun. And if you’re looking for more advice on what to include in your wedding website to make it actually useful, we have a full rundown of that over here.
Sometimes out of the box is the best answer
DIY weddings are everywhere. They are so prolific on the internet, in fact, that sometimes I think we forget that all-inclusive venues are actually a viable option. But y’all? If you are not normally someone who enjoys event planning, or logistics, or coordinating large efforts over long periods of time, then a DIY wedding is Not. For. You. And that’s totally okay. The Pinterest police are not going to come for you if you choose to host your wedding at your friendly neighborhood wedding hall and serve baked ziti for dinner. In fact, some of the best weddings I have ever been to took that form. And some of the worst weddings I’ve been to would have won Instagram awards (because in a photo you couldn’t see that we were starving because dinner was served three hours late, eaten on the floor because they didn’t want chairs that looked bad in pictures).
And the same goes for your wedding website. Squarespace makes beautiful, clean designer wedding websites that don’t actually need any customization. So if you’re the kind of person who just wants to make sure your guests have a place to RSVP and a map to the venue, then give yourself permission to take one of their templates straight out of the box, add your information to it, and call it a day. You can even bypass the need to dig up a photo of you and your partner if that’s feeling daunting at the moment, and instead you can use one of Squarespace’s partnerships with Getty or Unsplash to find something wedding appropriate. (Confetti? Disco balls? Flowers? Fireworks?)
Don’t let decision fatigue become paralysis
In the early days of wedding planning, there are a million decisions to make. Who are you going to invite? What kind of space do you want to host the wedding in? How is your family going to react to your decisions? When are you going to find the time to make it all happen?? The big picture can get overwhelming really fast, and it can be very tempting to procrastinate and pretend it doesn’t exist. But when I do that, it usually just leads to more anxiety and overwhelm. So lately, I’ve been adopting Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day’s mantra, “Nothing Will Make You Feel Better Except Doing The Work,” and trying to figure how to take big picture overwhelm and break it down into the smallest possible task. Then I plow through those smaller to-dos to help build momentum.
When it comes to your wedding website, the same goes. If the thought of creating an entire website feels overwhelming or if you feel like you can’t put it up until you have all the logistics figured out, then break it down into something smaller and more manageable. Go park a custom domain for yourself while you work out the details, or set up a super basic one page save-the-date that can hold your nagging family over until you have something more robust to share. Squarespace lets you change your template, add, hide, or delete pages, and change whatever you want whenever you want, so instead of trying to get it perfect in one go, you can let it be a work in progress. Kind of like your wedding.
You can’t please everyone
I mean, you know you can’t please everyone with your wedding… but it doesn’t stop you from trying. We get a lot of letters from APW readers asking about how to set a date or choose a location that everyone you love will be able to attend. But the unfortunate fact is, not everyone you love is going to be able to attend the wedding, and you have no control over that. Even if you pick the most convenient location, and a date that everyone miraculously has free, people are going to make choices about your wedding based on circumstances outside of your control.
But there are ways to make it feel less personal when people don’t agree with your wedding choices, and one of those ways is having a wedding website. (Read up here on why it’s secretly the one part of wedding planning where you get to do whatever the hell you want.) So if you’re afraid your great aunt isn’t going to approve of your ultra casual vibe, or if your uncle-in-law is going to have questions about what a queer indigenous ceremony even means, then put all that information on your wedding website and send your loved ones an easy-to-remember URL. (Pro-tip: You’re never limited to a certain number of pages with your Squarespace website, so you can do all the educating you want.) Because while they might still not approve of how you’re doing things, at least you won’t have to be there for their reaction. And as you’ll soon learn, that’s a huge win in wedding planning.
If you care about pretty, go for one big statement
Remember what I said above, how your wedding isn’t about the pretty? Well, that doesn’t mean you don’t still care about the pretty. I mean, we’re only human. But what I’ve learned from attending countless weddings is that most people don’t notice the tiny details you spent all those painstaking hours perfecting. However one big statement piece (like a cool ceremony backdrop, lots of twinkle lights at the reception, or heck, one wedding I recently attended even had a smoke machine on the dance floor) can go a long way toward making your whole wedding look stylish. And bonus: these statement pieces usually show up in all your photos, so they give your wedding pics added points too.
The same can be said for your wedding website. Most of Squarespace’s wedding templates are designed to feature one great photo of you and your partner. And that’s really all you need to make a big impact. (Don’t have one great photo of you and your partner? No sweat. For our personal best tips on how to DIY your own engagement photos, we’ve got a full post right here.) But if you want to go the extra mile, Squarespace also has fun features like video backgrounds (that you can make on your phone), charts, and a super easy logo maker so you can let your inner artist out. Because if you’re going to be stuck putting together spreadsheets for the next six months, it might as well come with a side of art projects, right?
While I haven’t yet come upon any wedding planning advice that can make pulling together a large scale event totally painless, if you heed the above advice, there’s at least a chance you won’t accidentally make it worse for yourself.
Oh, and remember to feed people on time. If you can nail that one, you’ve already won over 90 percent of your guests.
This post was sponsored by Squarespace. Squarespace makes it easy to build a wedding website in a matter of minutes, thanks to their user-friendly software and modern, designer website templates. Every yearly Squarespace purchase also comes with a custom domain, and of course, their award-winning customer service (just in case you get stuck). Click here to start a free 14-day trial and make your wedding website today. APW readers get 10% off your first Squarespace purchase when you use the code APW18 at checkout.