My favorite photo from our wedding is a photo of us cutting our cake with my grandfather’s Marine Corps Saber. It also rather prominently features my mother-in-law in the background, taking a photo of us cutting the cake on a point-and-shoot camera. And I have never, ever seen the photo she must have taken of our rear ends as we cut cake. But that point-and-shoot will forever be memorialized simply by being in the background of our best wedding photo.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve lived enough to tell you no regrets. And I’m delighted that David’s parents (including his dad who we miss very much) are in the background of that iconic photo. They’re doing the things they do or did best: worrying about us cutting the cake with a saber (David’s dad), over-documenting even though we said there was no need (David’s mom.) And if there is one thing we’ve learned from losing parents in rapid succession, it’s that you deeply miss all the annoying things they did once they’re gone. But also? Those things are still annoying when they happen.
So for our anniversary party, my dream was to have beautiful photos not filled with people taking photos on their cameras in the background. (And don’t get me started on people that take photos at weddings with iPads. I’m convinced there is a special place in hell for iPad photographers.) A decade ago, you had to bring your point-and-shoot to get in on the picture-taking action. Now, everyone has a phone they can take photos with, and we all know how bad it can get.
So we did a few things. One: we tried to throw a party so good that people simply forgot to take their phones out… a mission we largely accomplished. Two: we made it really really obvious that we had a professional photographer taking photos and that we would share those photos. (It helps that we have a long history of sharing photos: online, in holiday cards, you name it.) Three: at one moment I asked my mom to put down her camera, and insisted that we would get her the professional photos.
Of course, like with all things on my to-do list, actually getting photos out the door has taken longer than I’d planned. And I kept thinking about how I wanted to send out those photos… and if I could send them out in a way that also expressed our gratitude and share some of the best moments of our ten year anniversary weekend with folks. (Because yes: I wrote two long posts about our anniversary party, but also most Baby Boomers that were at our party will never read those posts.)
WEdding websites that live on
I’ve spent years pondering wedding websites, how much thought and care they take to build, and then how most of us just ditch them once the wedding is over. As someone who loves a good internet presence, and really hates hosting images and content on a platform where I’m the product, not the customer (cough, social media, cough), I’ve long thought that wedding websites could be transformed into family websites. They could be the way to share wedding photos, and later to share baby photos or new house photos or vacation photos. I had friends who transformed their wedding website into a family website where they shared holiday letters, photos, and later updates on a serious illness one of them was battling (and survived!). It’s been nice to see that space grow and change as their family has, and to have one central place where you can go to get information: whether it’s house renovation photos, or serious health updates, or chubby baby pictures.
a little refresh was all it needed
So I decided to give our anniversary party website the same treatment.
For this first (of I assume many) renovations of this family website, I didn’t do much heavy lifting. I liked the template we picked. So I just updated it with new information. Some of the anniversary party info I memorialized for now. You can still see the date and time and location (now with photos of what actually happened). But I also added some thank you’s, our six-year-old’s amazing toast, and yes: pictures.
Squarespace has it all
I’d never uploaded to a Squarespace photo gallery before, and I wasn’t sure how complicated it was going to be. Y’all? So easy. I was able to select hundreds of images at once, hit upload, and walk away from my computer and let it run. Afterward, I needed to re-organize them to get them in the right order, but that had more to do with the way I uploaded them (and my super-detail-oriented nature) than Squarespace. Plus, had I run into any trouble, their customer service team would have been happy to save the day — whether you’re building a company website or a personal family page like this, they’re available 24/7.
Now I just have to send it out to our family and friends. (Spoiler: Y’all are likely seeing this before this goes out the door to our loved ones. Cobbler’s children and all that.) But if you want to see many (many) photos of that colorful, joyful day, you can head over here to browse through our brand new gallery, hosted by Squarespace. You know, all the photos I wasn’t going to share publicly, but f*ck it. My kids are real cute and my friends are fashionable big-hearted humans, and the world should know it so go browse.
The future of our Family Website
I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this website next. But now that it’s up and running, I have plans. Maybe I can upload children’s art scans, to share with far-away family. Maybe I can share family updates or favorite photos of the year — I might switch it over to the Skye template for that. Maybe I’ll update it at year-end, and include the URL in our holiday cards so that people who want even more photos can head over and walk down memory lane — I might use the Wexley or Flatiron templates for the next iteration of a photo-heavy family site.
The more I think about it, the more possibilities there are. And as someone who has a conflicted relationship with sharing lots of our family photos on social media (join the club, right?) this might be a perfect solution. Squarespace even lets you password protect a website (or just certain pages), as well as allowing you to keep it off Google search, so you can share as much as you want, with exactly who you want.
FINALLY BUILDING A WEBSITE THAT FEELS LIKE A DESSERT BUFFET
Portfolio websites are necessary and important. But building them always feels a little like eating your vegetables. Building this family website though? That felt like eating a huge chocolate cake. Rewarding, fun, and delicious. Time well spent indeed.
This post was sponsored by Squarespace. We are thrilled to be continuing our partnership with Squarespace talking about different ways to use their intuitive website building services — your wedding website doesn’t have to die after the party ends. Squarespace provides an all-in-one hub (including everything from custom domain names to beautiful templates, analytics, and now even built-in email marketing) that makes it easy to build your online home beautifully, even if you’ve never made a website before and have no idea where to start. Click here to get your website started today with a free 14-day trial from Squarespace. APW readers get 10% off your first Squarespace purchase when you use the code APW19 at checkout.