When you get down to brass tacks on a wedding website, the question to ask yourself is, “What should I put on my wedding website?” Because while we all are guilty of spending time obsessing over pretty wedding website ideas (remember when we came up with those ideas for easy cool photos?), the truth is, your wedding website is really about conveying information. Ideally, it’s about passing on important details 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.
But sometimes when you’re in the middle of a big project (like, say a wedding), it can be hard to remember what information your guests really need to know. (Let’s talk about my friend who almost sent out her Save The Dates without a location.) Or, mid-planning you might end up thinking people want to read a thousand words about your wedding philosophy, but you forget to include your registry information. So before you make any of those mistakes, we’ve partnered with Squarespace on what to include in a wedding website to make it actually useful, with way less stress.
The Fun Stuff is Really For you
Here’s a fun fact: back when Meg created her own wedding website, she signed up for analytics to track the visitor data. And do you know what she found out? Basically the only section anyone visited was the registry page. So while it’s a great idea to have a wedding website for the purpose of conveying information to your guests, anything beyond that is really for you and your partner. Which is great! There are already so many parts of the wedding that people will want to give you their (unsolicited) opinions about. But a wedding website generally ain’t one of them. Which means you’ve got a golden opportunity to take all those wedding website ideas and channel them into a creative outlet where you can let your freak flag fly, or you can just give the basic information and move on. Squarespace makes it easy to do both… and have it all look stylish to boot.
So if you’re the kind of go-getter who thinks things like, “I wonder how I could add a GIF to my wedding website?” Squarespace has got you with this GIF situation, as well as other fun new features like interactive charts and video backgrounds. That said, their designer templates are also beautiful straight out of the box, and they come with built-in features like RSVP and registry pages. So if creating your wedding website is just another chore to cross off the list, well, you also have my permission to try just a little less hard on it. Bonus: If you’re feeling stressed about not having any pictures of you and your partner to put on your wedding website, we’ve got great smartphone engagement photo hacks right here.
wedding website as A help desk
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 think of your wedding website as this emoji: 💁. Not this one: 👮.
logistics, logistics, logistics
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. Squarespace lets you add unlimited pages to your wedding website for free (helpful if you have lots of different information to share), so if there are aspects of your wedding that require a little more explanation, this is the place to elaborate. But for the most part, people are really just going to your wedding website hoping that you’ve included all the relevant logistical details, like:
- 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
- If there is a hotel block reservation
- Any other transportation information (Shuttle bus from the hotel to the reception? Let ’em know! 🥂)
Putting this information in a clear, easy-to-identify place means that you significantly reduce your chances of 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. (Pro tip: If you’re struggling with how to convey the above information on your website, we’ve got copy-and-paste scripts for a whole bunch of different wedding scenarios right here.)
When It Comes to THE REGISTRY PAGE, 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 including a registry flyer inside the invitations will still raise many a grandmother’s eyebrow.) With Squarespace, you can choose to link out to your registry from one of their pre-designed registry pages. Or if you’re worried your guests might get lost once they leave your wedding website, you can easily embed your Zola registry directly into your Squarespace website like the tech goddess you are. (I know, right?) The products show up right on the page, so there aren’t any extra steps to trip people up. And if you’ve opted against a wedding registry, or are hoping for cash (it’s okay, you can say it here), my advice is that less is often 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 (aka ask someone) 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, we’ve lived together for several years, 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.
play tour guide for out-of-towners
If you’re kind of an over-achiever (🙋), and you have lots of out-of-town guests, creating What to Do and Where to Eat information pages can be a godsend. (Save me from the grip of Yelp, is what I’m saying here.) As one APW reader suggests:
I will say that I think the website becomes much more important if you have a lot of out-of-town guests or if you’re doing a destination wedding. The majority of our guests were flying across the country from the northeast to Arizona for our wedding. So we included a lot of our favorite restaurants and things to do on our website, which many people told us they used and enjoyed (we included a lot of goofy commentary and “insider tips”). We also included an FAQ on the weather, the vibe of the wedding, and some funny questions (How do I deal with all the rattlesnakes?).
But I don’t want you to feel like you need to give yourself an extra research project on top of your wedding. So just stick with the basics: If you’re familiar with the area, where do you like to go and what do you like to do?