The first thing you should know about making a wedding website is this: it’s not supposed to be hard. The most important thing is that your guests know the essential details of your wedding, like where to go and how not to be late. Everything else is gravy. But if you’re like me, creating any kind of website usually starts out with the best of intentions (Oh I’ll just do something simple, no big deal) and then next thing you know, it’s 3AM and you’ve burned through six episodes of Pretty Little Liars working on one page and it’s still not done. Luckily, thanks to Squarespace, the APW team has spent the past year and a half figuring out all the tricks to making a stylish wedding website the #lazygirl way. So today, we thought we’d roll all of our hard-learned tips into one convenient location. But before we talk about the how, let’s talk about the who. More specifically, who is a Squarespace wedding website good for:
- YOU CARE ABOUT GOOD DESIGN: Listen, there are dozens upon dozens of free wedding website providers out there and you can totally get your point across with one of them. But if you have a specific idea in your head, or just want a more minimal, modern looking website, then Squarespace might be what you’re looking for. And since you’re never locked into a specific template when you sign up with Squarespace, you can try all of them until you find the one you really like.
- YOU WANT YOUR OWN URL: While Squarespace isn’t free, the $8 a month you pay to use the platform nets you one pretty awesome perk: a custom URL. So if you don’t want to bother with weddingwebsite.yourname.com and would rather just have yourname.com, then Squarespace is the easiest way to do that.
- YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND CODE (LIKE AT ALL): Some people DIY their centerpieces. You want to make your wedding website pretty. I won’t begrudge you that. But if you want to make said website pretty without needing to learn how to code, then that $8 a month also goes toward a plug and play interface that doesn’t require a lot of work to personalize. (I mean, my mom knows not an iota of code and made a Squarespace site in about an hour last month.) Plus you have 24/7 customer support for if you get stuck.
IF YOU LIKE IT, THEN YOU SHOULD PUT SOME THINGS oN IT
Here’s the truth about wedding websites: most people are just going to go to yours looking for your registry, and possibly a map to the ceremony and a start time. But don’t be discouraged. That’s actually a good thing. It means your wedding website is really all for you. So before you start feeling like you have to create the world’s most unique online experience, make sure it’s emotionally gratifying for you and your partner to do so. (Otherwise, just pick a template and put the relevant info in it and bam, you’re done.)
That said, there is one important thing to consider, and that’s how you convey the information you tell your guests. Our advice is to inform, don’t instruct. Which means, give your guests all the details they need to make an informed decision, but then let them actually make the decision themselves. For example, it’s helpful to let folks know what the formality of the event will be, or that the ceremony will be on uneven ground, but you don’t want to tell your guests that they have to wear a dress or that they can’t wear heels. With that in mind, here are a few other dos and don’ts for what to include in your wedding website:
- DO: Let people know what they can expect. Cash bar? Standing room only reception? Live auction? (It could happen.) It sucks showing up to an event only to realize you missed an important memo, so tell people in advance if something is going to be out of the ordinary. Prepared guests are happy guests and happy guests don’t complain loudly about your wedding within earshot.
- Don’t: Tell people not to buy you gifts. While etiquette rules have changed over the years, and it’s now perfectly acceptable to link to a registry on your wedding website, less is more here. Asking for cash, or telling people not to buy you gifts can sometimes have the opposite of your intended effect (aka people are going to do what they damn well please because you can’t tell them what to do). So don’t over-explain. You can say something like, “We are so happy that you’ll be able to join us for our wedding. As many of you know, we live in fine city of New York where square footage is very limited, and our apartment 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.” Your guests will figure out what to do next.
- Do: Talk about yourselves. While your guest list is likely comprised of only your nearest and dearest, that doesn’t guarantee everyone will know both you and your partner in equal measure. (I recently went to the wedding of a dear friend who I hadn’t seen in ages, so it was my first time actually meeting the groom.) So while it might feel self-indulgent to do personal bios on your wedding website, it’s actually great for small talk and getting to know the both of you in general. Think of it as pre-wedding extra credit that your guests can do.
- Don’t: Give your wedding party their own page. While this might seem like a nice gesture, in theory, it can make it seem like there’s an “in” group at your wedding, and that the rest of your guests are on the outs. Your wedding party will get plenty of love 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 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 (which you can totally do with Squarespace, by the way).
- Do: Make it easy to find the basics. Most people are coming to your website for a handful of instructions: where to be, when to get there, what (if any) gifts to get you, who to contact on the day-of if they get lost or stolen, a rough idea of what to wear, and if they should bring cash. So make sure to include that information in a clearly identified place that’s easy enough for even your most tech-challenged relatives to find.
- Don’t: Get too frustrated if people ask you questions that they could easily find right there on the website. Yes, I know it’s right there. But hey, that’s family, right?
pretty Shouldn’t Hurt
Once you’ve figured out what’s going in your wedding website, you can move onto the fun part: what goes on your wedding website. The best advice I have for you here is this: don’t overthink it. Squarespace templates are designed to be changed but not changed too much (unless you’re a pro developer). Which means a few key changes can make it look like a totally different website (swap the fonts, change the colors, add a picture and bam!). Here are a few other tips I’ve gleaned about how to create a unique wedding website without spending a whole weekend staring at your computer screen like a zombie:
1. Pick a template by looking at the big picture. You want to make sure you like the overall layout of the template you choose (i.e., where the text is, where the menus live, and what the main design element looks like), but things like color schemes or fonts, are very easy to change. On the other hand, things like menu placement and galleries are often not as easy to adjust. But don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. You can always swap things out in real time with Squarespace, and your new template will save any important information (like text, etc.) that you’ve added to your website.
2. Photos are a #lazygirl’s best friend. They are big impact, with low effort. So if you had an engagement session, or if just lying around your hard drives there are some nice photos of you and your partner, this is the time to use them. It’s the easiest way to make your wedding website look polished, plus your friends and family will like looking at your faces every time they need to double check what the actual wedding date is again. Pro tip: if you use a full-page photo layout, you’ve basically just done all the work in one click. (Huzzah, now go have a beer.)
3. Logos are for lovers. If you don’t have any photos, not to worry. You can substitute with a logo (which is really just a modern term for a monogram). We have tips for design a basic logo right here, but my two favorites are the Squarespace logo tool (it’s easier than Microsoft Paint) or these pre-designed printable logos from APW sponsor Printable Press (which, bonus, you can use on anything else wedding-related that you can think to slap a sticker on).
4. Keep it simple. Website design is having a less is more moment, and you can use that to your advantage. A white background with a simple font will make your wedding website more stylish than ninety percent of what’s on offer from the other big wedding website providers.
Though if you want to throw a bunch of glitter at the wall and see what sticks, you know we can support that too.
For more in-depth tutorials on making a wedding website with Squarespace, check out How to Make a Wedding Website with Squarespace, How to Make a Photo-Focused Wedding Website, How to Hack Your Wedding Website Logo, What to Include in Your Wedding Website, and 5 Tips for a More Modern Wedding Website.
This post was sponsored by Squarespace. Squarespace makes beautiful wedding websites happen in a matter of minutes, thanks to their user-friendly software and modern, minimal template designs. In fact, all the websites featured in this post are from real APW weddings. Thanks Squarespace for helping make the APW mission possible! Click here to start a free 14-day trial and make your wedding website today. APW readers get 10% off yearly subscriptions when you use the code APW15 at checkout.