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8 Wedding Website Etiquette Rules That You Need to Know

Help your guests help you

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.

 

1. your website is primarily functional

Here’s the deal: If you, in your heart of hearts, really want to make the world’s most beautiful wedding website, the kind that goes viral and inspires couples everywhere, then go for it (and send us a link so we can ogle). But you don’t have to. Because your wedding website is, first and foremost, functional. It is there to convey information to your guests, and thus it should be easy to read, easy to navigate, and easy to find. So steer clear of any templates that remind you of an old-school Myspace page (remember coding it play music and show a dancing monkey when someone visited?)—we don’t want it to be hard for your guests to figure out. Pro-tip: Squarespace’s wedding templates are already super minimal and easy to navigate, so that’s an easy place to start.

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.

Squarespace Wedding Website

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

Okay, so formal wedding etiquette says that you’re basically never supposed to talk about your registry out loud, and your guests are to find out about it by means of osmosis. But when Meg signed up for her own wedding website, years ago, she also signed up for analytics (data tracking that tells you who’s visited what pages). And you know what she discovered? Pretty much everyone just came for the wedding registry info. (You can get analytics on your Squarespace site super simply with a business account, for only a few extra bucks.) So modern etiquette says that not only is it fine to include your wedding registry on your website, but that people actually prefer it when you do. Helpful tip: Squarespace includes a predesigned registry page with their wedding website templates, so you won’t have to create one from scratch. They’ve even have registry blocks that mean your guests can shop right from your website. That said, if you’re opting for a nontraditional registry (like a cash registry, or you don’t want gifts), keep in mind tip number three above. For example:

After the wedding, we are going to be moving across the country, and we are trying to keep our load light. We have set up an experience registry to allow us to explore our new town; however, please know that your presence is all we could ever ask for.

Bonus tip: If you’re worried about pleasing everyone, you can always set up a hybrid registry, which lets you incorporate traditional registry items on the same page as nontraditional items. Squarespace will help you out with donation blocks where folks can send money right to you from your site. Pro tip: If you Google a “Store-Name logo,” go to the ‘images’ tab in Google results, click on ‘tools’ at the top, then ‘colors.’ and select ‘transparent’—that will get you logos for the stores where you’re registered at. Upload those to image blocks on your website, and make them click-through URLs. It will make the registry section on your site look super pro.

7. mind your internet

I am not ashamed to admit that I have used people’s wedding websites as a means of research. So if you don’t want future employers, or random strangers on the Internet, to know what kind of stemware you’ve asked for or how you met your boo, either password-protect your site (or just certain pages of your site), or make sure Google can’t find it.

8. Don’t leave anyone in the lurch

I was once invited to a wedding with a parade. A short walk from the ceremony to the reception, I was told. Well, that short walk ended up being a thirty-minute hike o’er hill and dale, and I was wearing inappropriate footwear. The moral? If your wedding in any way deviates from the norm (what most of your guests will be expecting), or if only some of your guests even know what the norm is (if you’re hosting a cross-cultural wedding, for example), let people know. Barring bodily injury, the worst thing that can happen to a guest at a wedding is being surprised. Things you might want to mention include: Is the ceremony standing room only? Is there a cash bar, or is it open? Will there be a magic show halfway through the ceremony? IS THERE A THIRTY-MINUTE HIKE? That kind of thing.

 

What do you like best about wedding websites? What stuff drives you crazy? Have you made an amazing wedding website? (Share it with us!)

P.S. Squarespace IS OFFERING 10% OFF your first Squarespace website TO ALL APW READERS. JUST USE THE CODE APW2020 AT CHECKOUT! CLICK HERE TO START YOUR 14-DAY FREE TRIAL.

This post was sponsored by Squarespace. Squarespace makes beautiful wedding websites happen in a matter of minutes, thanks to their user-friendly software (full of features) and modern, minimal template designs. Click here to start a free 14-day trial and get your custom wedding website URL today. APW readers get 10% off yearly subscriptions when you use the code APW2020 at checkout.

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