What did we ever do without wedding websites? That’s a serious question from your friendly neighborhood wedding planner who knows just how many guests will misplace their invites (hint: a lot). Did folks just spend boatloads on invitation enclosures? (I think yes). Or hope that our parents/spouses/friends knew where the couple was registered? (I think your mom had to tell everyone for you.) In any case, I’m glad we have them now, because there’s a solid chance there will be 5-10% of your guests who need to look up the ceremony location while driving to the ceremony.
But wedding websites are relatively new in the scheme of things. Heck, your grandma doesn’t even have an opinion on how they should be done (cherish that, run with it). So how do you know what’s appropriate to include and what’s not? What is the proper etiquette for your wedding website? Today we’ve partnered up with Squarespace, our go-to provider of modern, fresh, easy-to-customize wedding websites (and all the websites), to answer just that.
2.It’s 2020 (and beyond), be extra thorough
With all that the last year has brought us, all the changed wedding plans and health concerns… now is not the time to be coy. No matter if you’ve already sent out invites and had to change plans, or are looking forward to planning your 2021/22 wedding, use your website to help keep your guests (or non-guests) informed. Things like downsizing a guest list, changing a venue, or moving your wedding date should all be displayed on your wedding website… and proudly. Don’t make folks wonder if they’ve made the new cut for your new date, let them know that you’ve sent new save the dates, or reached out personally to the 10 people that are now invited. And, as Meg not-so-gently reminded me recently, definitely have a registry because the folks who now won’t be able to celebrate in person will definitely want to send something nice (refer to number six for tips).
3. Talking about yourself can be a good thing
I used to think it was self-serving to include a paragraph about yourself, your partner, and how you met on your wedding website. Isn’t that common knowledge? Then I went to a wedding where I’d only met the groom once in passing, and as all the casual references to his relationship with my friend and their history together went flying right over my head, I suddenly wished I knew more about him. So if you’re inviting anyone who only knows half the couple, or has only met either of you a handful of times, add in a little personal history to help your guests prepare themselves for the wedding. It’s actually very considerate to let them brush up on their knowledge, so no one feels like they’re losing at Couple Trivia when they mingle with other guests.
4. Be informative but don’t dictate
You want your guests to walk away from your wedding website feeling like they have all the information they need to not screw up (e.g., to not be late, at the wrong place, wearing a tuxedo when they should be wearing shorts). But there’s a fine line between “I got this!” and “They want me to do what?!” For example, if you’re having a casual outdoor wedding, it’s perfectly acceptable to let your guests know that it’s a casual dress code, and that the ground will be soft. You can even make suggestions for what kind of attire will best survive the elements. But you can’t tell people what to wear. For example:
DO: We’re getting married on a working farm, so the ground will be soft and maybe a little muddy. Formal attire is not required! Feel free to dress in whatever makes you comfortable. For example, a dress shirt and khakis, or a spring skirt and sweater would be lovely. The night does tend to get a bit cold, so you might want to bring something to throw on when the sun goes down!
Don’t: Our wedding colors are blush and mint, so we’re asking all guests to wear something in one of those shades. Also, since our wedding is outside, don’t wear heels or dressy shoes, as they will probably sink in the grass and get muddied up. And we don’t want anyone dressing too formal, so leave your suits at home.
Basically, you want to inform your guests and let them make their own decisions, rather than instructing them on how to be. Because some of your guests have been going to weddings longer than you’ve been alive. Let them live. Plus, everyone needs a little extra joy these days, and if that includes wearing heels or a formal suit to your wedding, they absolutely should.
5 . Avoid the high school cafeteria vibe
It’s tempting to want to highlight the most special people in your lives, but weddings already have a bit of a built-in hierarchy. If you’re having one, wedding parties get treated like VIPs the day of, so you don’t really need a page dedicated to them on your website. At best it will make them feel more special, but at worst, it can make your non-VIP friends (or friends who were hoping they’d make the cut and didn’t) feel excluded. But if you do want to include a special note for your wedding party, take a page out of APWers Tiff and Sam’s book, who wrote:
The wedding party is a group of our close friends who opted to give up their lives for the next few months to help us plan the wedding! If you aren’t pictured below, you (thankfully) probably haven’t fielded harried questions about flower arrangements, suit colors, or website coding questions.
But in reality you’re all part of team Spiffy. We really wouldn’t be the same without you and that is why you’re invited. We hope that each and every one of you knows how important you are in our lives.
6. But a Registry Page is A-OK