7 Wedding Website Etiquette Rules That You Need to Know

Help your guests help you

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

apw-squarespaceSquarespace cover page

What did we ever do without wedding websites? That’s a serious question from your friendly neighborhood invitation misplacer. Did we just spend boatloads on invitation enclosures? Or hope that our parents/spouses/friends knew where the couple was registered? In any case, I’m glad we have them now, because there’s a ninety-nine percent chance I’ll be the person looking up the ceremony location while driving to the ceremony, five minutes late.

But wedding websites are relatively new in the scheme of things. Heck, the aunties don’t even have an opinion on how they should be done (cherish that). So how do you know what’s appropriate to include and what’s not? What is the proper etiquette for them? Today we’ve partnered up with Squarespace, providers of modern, fresh, easy-to-customize wedding websites, to answer just that.

Squarespace wedding website

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. 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 GeoCities or that might be hard for your guests to figure out. Hint: Squarespace’s wedding templates are already super minimal and easy to navigate, so that’s an easy place to start.

Squarespace wedding website

2. 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 family wedding where I’d only met the bride once, and as all the casual references to her relationship with my cousin and their history together went flying right over my head, I suddenly wished I knew more about her. 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.

Squarespace Wedding Website

3. 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 bashful, 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.

Squarespace Wedding Website

4. 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.

Squarespace Wedding Website

5. 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, 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. 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 included logos of some of the more popular mainstream registries to save you some work.) 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 like Thankful Registry or Zola, which lets you incorporate traditional registry items on the same page as nontraditional items.

Squarespace Wedding Website

6. 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.

Squarespace Wedding Website

7. 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?



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, you can see a bunch of APW reader-designed Squarespace wedding websites (some of which are included in this post) right here. 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 APW16 at checkout.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • Elizabeth

    Wedding website etiquette question — how long should we plan to have the website & registry continue to exist after the wedding? I assume it wouldn’t need to be long – because the last time I check a couple’s website is usually the week before/day of the wedding – but I don’t know if there’s some kind of standard or maybe some people really like visiting it the week after the wedding for some reason I’m not thinking of.

    • Sarah

      I’d keep the registry for as long as you can…people send gifts late, family might look for bday/Xmas gift ideas, etc. For both our wedding and baby, sometimes folks who we weren’t super close to sent items later when they heard the good news. That was obviously not expected, but a nice surprise.

    • Lisa

      Our experience was that all gifts pretty much arrived by 1-2 weeks after the wedding. I don’t think you’d need to keep the web-site up much longer than 1-2 months afterwards. Registries continue to exist for several months later but not indefinitely. (I was able to find our C&B registry for about a year, I think, but it’s not there now at 20 months post-wedding.)

      If you’ve got a social media component to your web-site that people are actively using, that might be a reason to keep your web-site around a little longer. Ours had the option for people to upload pictures through the app (AppyCouple) and message boards. None of our guests really used those though. We created our web-site about 10ish months prior to the wedding and let it lapse naturally when the year we paid for expired.

    • Ashlah

      Our website is still up nearly two years later ¯_(ツ)_/¯

      (I highly doubt anyone has visited it since the wedding, but it’s not Google-able, and I get nostalgic and look at it occasionally. I use our Amazon registry as our joint Christmas list for our parents now.)

      • Eenie

        I visited my brother’s wedding website when creating my own. I’ll probably leave ours up because it is not googlable either.

    • Amy March

      It’s awkward if your wedding website is still one of your first google hits post divorce.

      • Meg Keene

        Also be wary of how public it is. As someone who regularly has to research folks online, I often find out WAY too much about their china patterns and taste in bed linens, five years after their wedding.

        • Sarah

          is this really the most scandalous thing you find when googling people? :)

        • Elizabeth

          Yeah, but if someone is researching me (background check, I guess?) and cares enough to even click on my wedding registry…I would think that’s on them. It’s not relevant to anything they would be researching, and it’s also not remotely scandalous or something I can imagine caring if it comes up. It’s like the fact that my membership in the parliamentary debate club from freshman year of college comes up, but that doesn’t say much of relevance about me.

  • Megan

    Has anyone used “With Joy” as their wedding website? I’m looking for a hybrid website/RSVP manager that can handle our complex RSVP situation… We are renting out a retreat center but I have to manage assigning everyone rooms for the two nights. So I need to know if guests are coming to the wedding. But also I need to know if they are staying for one or two nights (or if they’re staying somewhere else), and if so, what kind of room they need. I need to know if they want to order any non-wedding meals from the retreat center (such as breakfast on Saturday, lunch on Saturday, breakfast on Sunday). I need to know about food allergies. It’s a lot. And we really don’t want to do paper RSVP cards.

    Any suggestions would be v.much appreciated

    • Sara P

      We used Glo, both as an RSVP manager and website, and I thought it was great. There are a lot of questions you can ask when people RSVP. (Didn’t look at “With Joy”, fwiw.)

      • Yeah, GloSite is an APW sponsor, and we’re planning on using them. You should look at some of the APW blog posts about them, they’ll give a little insight into the features, but they should be able to support lots of different events for different sub-groups of people.

    • Lisa

      We used AppyCouple and had good success with it. It allows you to create multiple events and has widgets for RSVP questions. There are blank text boxes where you can create your own question or use some of the pre-created ones (menu options, childcare, etc.).

    • jb123

      Glo is an APW sponsor, which is why we chose them. I know we can’t give a negative review on a sponsored post, which I understand, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to negatively review a sponsor on a non-sponsored post? I assume if not, this comment will be deleted.

      We haven’t had a great experience with Glo. It’s useful for the RSVP part, but the website is largely built-in widgets, which means Glo doesn’t control them, so when we have problems there isn’t anything they can do. For example, if you want a map to show up on the site, you have to use the map widget, which doesn’t display addresses in standard format (it’s not impossible to read, but it’s annoying, and location seems like a pretty basic wedding website necessity).

      There is also no way to ask a question for a party, anything that you ask is answered for each individual (so something like how many nights are you staying would be answered for each person individually, not for the entire party), which means it takes a while for parties with more than one guest to get through the page if there are multiple events. Also most people replied multiple times because they couldn’t tell if their RSVP was submitted, which doesn’t affect anything on our end but I imagine as a guest was annoying.

      The RSVP feature overall was good – we could include people as parties so if either person logs in, they can RSVP for both people on page. It also allows you to invite some people to some events but not others without them seeing the events they weren’t invited to, which for us was critical.

      I think there are better options mentioned in this thread that also have the RSVP capability. I’d look into those over Glo.

      • Lisa

        I wonder if the multiple RSVPs is just a byproduct of having them on-line? We experienced something similar with AppyCouple. If people used a different e-mail address than the one they’d originally given us to respond, it created a new guest contact in our list. They may have fixed this problem now, but two years ago, it was a decently time-consuming process to merge the duplicate guests with all of their information. I wouldn’t say that everyone was a problem (more that we just had issues with people not responding, which is par for the course), but there were enough that it was pretty annoying.

  • Jessica

    I actually like knowing the following things:
    1. Wedding colors (especially the ones the wedding party will be wearing). I have shown up to weddings and been mistaken for the bridal party because I, too, wore a red/blue/green/black dress, and I would like to avoid getting asked about stuff about the wedding if I am not a bridesmaid.
    2. I like to know who is in the wedding party. I think it’s great to see strong friendships or funny stories of how people met on the playground or in college. That is personal preference, though.

    • Eenie

      I typically avoid the invitation color so don’t show up in the same color as bridesmaids.

      • Jessica

        Me too, still have missed the mark a couple times.

        1. Invite was different shades of cream, wore a red dress and matched the bridal party.
        2. The last one I attended I was happy that the bride had mentioned “pop” colors were the theme, because she had bridesmaids in red, blue and yellow, but the invite was a comic that had no implicit theme.

  • CharlotteJ

    My favorite thing about wedding websites is the “How We Met” page! Even if I think I know the story, reading it from the couple’s perspective (or better yet, each of their perspectives!) gives me all the romantic feels and puts me in the wedding mood.

    • Amanda

      This is the #1 thing people have commented on for our wedding website! People were reaching out just to tell me how much they enjoyed the write up. It was a nice surprise.

    • Danielle

      I like hearing the engagement story in their words too :)

  • the cupboard under the stairs

    I’m still so puzzled by the “tradition” of passing on registry information via word of mouth. Just…why? So glad that’s going by the wayside. I know there are still some people who believe it’s gauche to include registry info on your invitation, but as a wedding guest, I’ve been way more annoyed with couples who played by the rules than I have with couples who put that information front and center.

    • Amy March

      I’ve never had any trouble tracking a registry down without it being written on the invitations front and center! I just check the usual suspects on-line or call/email/text someone closer to the couple than me, or just ask the couple. To me, putting it on the invite says “oh hey look! giving us presents is super important! it’s just as important for you to know this as it is for you to know the date and location of our wedding!” and I do find it off-putting.

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        Even if the word “optional” is super stressed?

        • TeaforTwo

          I shul not presume to speak for Amy March here, but I would say yes, even then.

          Registries are always optional, and so stressing that yours is optional can make it sound like you think that with a few keystrokes you cold have made it mandatory instead.

          Truth be told, I have never been offended by a registry being on a wedding website, but I do raise an eyebrow when people say too much about it in either direction.

          I am with Amy March – if there is nothing listed, I do a few online searches, then ask the couple. A text message is not a whole lot of work in a relationship that is already close/important enough that I have made the guest list.

          • Amy March

            Ohh didn’t see your post until after mine! Yes, exactly this.

          • the cupboard under the stairs

            It might not be a whole lot of work for the guest, but as the bride, I’d find it far more annoying to field 100 calls or texts than to take five minutes linking the damn registry page on my wedding site.

          • Lisa

            I don’t think anyone disagreed with you about putting it on the wedding web-site! I think that’s pretty common and really helpful to most guests. (I even did that myself.) However, it’s putting it on the invitation that strikes people as rude. I’ve even seen little insert cards you can get with registry info on them as part of invitation suites, and the idea of those rubs me the wrong way.

          • the cupboard under the stairs

            Can I ask why, though? I haven’t gotten a real explanation why people think putting it on the website is okay but including it in the invitation package crosses the line. It seems arbitrary from my perspective.

          • It just makes the prominence of gifts more than it should be, that’s all. A wedding is about the ceremony, the reception is secondary, and gifts are somewhere in the tertiary to non-existent layer of importance.

          • Lisa

            To me, the invitation is only used to actually invite a person and to communicate the most vital of information surrounding the event: participants/hosts, date, time, location. Any additional information should go up on a wedding web-site (if the couple has one) or be communicated via word of mouth. I dislike getting all sorts of other pieces of paper in the invitation; unless it’s crucial that I have a diagram of the parking situation, for example, I’d really prefer people don’t waste the paper and postage sending me stuff that I’m going to toss out.

            Extra information that will prepare me for the event belongs on the wedding web-site. To me, that includes attire, hotel information, gift registries, etc. Putting that in the invitation detracts from the gesture of hospitality and presumes that I’ve already agreed to attend and need that information. Including the registry has an added level of presumption to me in that, even if I cannot attend, I’m still (obviously) going to need information about how to purchase a present for the event.

          • Amy March

            You did. I gave you mine! On the invite, it says “this is the most important information for you to know right away.” On the website, it says “hey this is a piece of non-essential but potentially useful info you might want.” I get that you disagree, but it’s a real explanation.

          • Lisa

            You said exactly what I was trying to say but so much more succinctly.

          • the cupboard under the stairs

            Fair enough. I hadn’t read your comment when I posted earlier. Thank you!

          • Amy March

            Wait, but that’s not what we are talking about? I don’t think? I’m anti- registry on invitation. I’m pro-registry on website, and i think Meg and TeaforTwo are as well.

          • TeaforTwo

            I would say that maybe five people asked us themselves. Other people asked family, or looked it up online, or wrote cheques or didn’t bring gifts at all.

            The people who did call or text us…were people who we like enough to invite them to our wedding. Who were calling or texting because they wanted to buy us a gift. It really wasn’t annoying.

            Like I said, I have never been offended by people linking to their registries, so I don’t have any strenuous objection to other people doing it. But if someone asked my advice about whether or not to do it, my advice would be no, that people who wanted to figure it out would figure it out.

        • Amy March

          Yeah. Gifts are always optional. If it’s really really optional, why is it so important that I know about it immediately? I have no objection to it being on the website, but I think it has no place on an invitation. It’s also a long standing rule, and to me weighing the risk that you are offending your guests and looking greedy and rude versus them having to spend a few minutes tracking the info down by several other routes if they want to is a pretty clear calculus.

          • Meg Keene

            Yeah, I’m with you on this one. If I want a registry, I can find it. (Probably on the website!) I’m among the folks who’s always mildly shocked when people give me registry info with my invite, like it’s the cost of admission.

          • the cupboard under the stairs

            Huh. YMMV, I guess? I’m pretty against any tradition that defies logic and makes more work for everyone involved, but then again, I’ve spent my whole life in some of the country’s most progressive enclaves. *shrug*

          • idkmybffjill

            I think it depends on if one views the registry as essential information. The etiquette behind not including it on the invitation correlates with the view that the gift is non-essential. Some people won’t gift from registry, some will gift with cash, some not at all. Including it assumes, “Everyone will need this” in the same way that they need the time, date, and location of the ceremony. So including says, “THIS IS ESSENTIAL” even if it’s just trying to be efficient.

    • sofar

      So, in my family it’s considered SUPER gauche to “advertise” the registry. So we had to be mindful of not pissing off all my relatives. And that included NOT putting it on the wedding website.

      For anyone else in that situation, here’s what another couple recommended: Create a registry page with links to your registry on The Knot. Google indexes that super quickly. That way, tech-savvy guests can just google “Bride name groom name registry” and it’ll pop up. I have found many a registry that way — and lots of our guests have found ours that way. And all the aunties (who are probably NOT tech savvy) will be none the wiser.

      Yeah, I’d rather just be able to click through from that website, but I also understand that some people are trying to appease old-school families like mine.

      • Anna

        How old are these aunties who don’t know how to Google?

        There is no one in my family, which consists of people up into their eighties, who doesn’t know how to look things up.

        YMMV I guess.

        • Uhhhh…I have people on my invite list who don’t have email addresses. They range in age from 50 to 90. So. They exist.

          • Lisa

            I used to have a similar line of thinking as Anna (the only people on our guest list without e-mail addresses were 85+) until I worked at a non-profit that serviced semi- to completely rural areas. The org was transitioning to an on-line registration platform and many of our communities were panicking because they and several other members don’t have e-mail or even access to internet in their homes. It’s definitely a thing!

        • Ashlah

          I know people who use the internet regularly, but still never, ever think to Google anything. It just doesn’t occur to them. So those people would never think to search for a person’s name in Google to find their registry information.

          • tr

            Heck, my husband does not Google! The man is in his 30’s, he has a normal white collar job (meaning he HAS to send emails and things), we obviously have internet at our house, and yet, the man does not Google. Those things happen sometimes…

        • sofar

          Well, they wouldn’t think of Googling to find the registry. If I don’t see a registry linked to on the website, I immediately Google the couples names + registry. I can guarantee you that none of my relatives over age 50 would think to do this.

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        Just to play devil’s advocate…what do you think would happen if you *didn’t* appease your old-school family? Like, would they refuse to attend the wedding? Would they refrain from getting you a gift? Or would they just grumble about it a little bit?

        • Probably gossip, and be somewhat justified in their gossiping. It’s a different kind of gossip than badmouthing the centerpieces ;)

        • sofar

          They’d grumble and razz my mom about it.

          Honestly, though, I was raised with their values, so I totally see where they are coming from and kind of agree with them on a basic level (although I never get mad when I see other couples link to their registry).

          It can be tricky to strike a balance between family tradition and not annoying guests. I’ve never been annoyed at not being able to find a registry — I just give cash. If the registry is front and center, I always buy from it and appreciate the convenience. So, really, it all works out. I’ve just been surprised at the notion that people would feel inconvenienced at not finding our registry front and center on our site. In that case, I’d just hope they wouldn’t buy us a gift.

    • emilyg25

      It’s not that hard to say, “Hey, where are you registered?” Or do a quick Google search.

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        As I noted above, it’s not hard for the guest, but I’d be pretty pissed if I were a member of the engaged couple and had to field dozens and dozens of registry questions.

        • Amy March

          Oh no, the horror of people you love communicating with you about their desire to shower you with gifts. I just don’t get the problem here.

          • the cupboard under the stairs

            It’s obviously not a real, huge problem in the grand scheme of things. It’s just that there’s a way to make things easier and less time intensive for both parties, so why not just make things easier?

            ETA: it actually would really suck to get a bunch of questions of this nature the already-hectic week of your wedding, which is when the bulk of guests buy their gifts. What if, in your frenzy, you forgot to answer a couple of people? They might be offended by your (totally justified) lack of communication.

        • CMT

          I totally get where you’re coming from and I don’t quite understand the pile on that’s happening here. Etiquette is so culturally contextual, and no matter how strongly one believes in something, it doesn’t make it universally The Correct Way To Do Things.

          • Sosuli

            I agree with that, ultimately with any etiquette guidelines all you can do is take it on board, think about it and reject if you wish. Etiquette also changes over time. In some Scandinavian countries it is totally the norm for couples to include a bank account number with their wedding invitations so that relatives can gift money at their convenience if they wish to do so, but ten years ago this would have been seen as rude.

    • Anna

      If you received an invitation to a birthday party, would you be shocked to see a list of gifts the birthday person would like to get on the invitation?

      Back in history, wedding gifts were unheard of. Then gifts began to be given. Then registries were invented, but were thought to be borderline gauche, so the only way to diminish what looked like greed was to keep it by word-of-mouth. Now, even that is being questioned, and some people want to put the registry info front and center – thus making gifts the central thing.

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        I’m confused…are you for or against front-and-center registry info? It sounds like what you’re saying is, traditions change and that’s okay.

      • Yeah, I mean, for a kid’s birthday party it is largely about gifts (much like a bridal shower in which we explicitly put registry info on the invite)…so I think this comment is a little ambiguous…

  • Totch

    Can we talk sometime about how much information to give/educating to do for cross cultural weddings? I agree that you need to prep each side of the family for some things that won’t be familiar, but when does that cross over into a social studies lesson?

    We’re trying to find that balance now, and I’ll admit to feeling a bit like an exhibit when trying to explain traditions from my fiance’s side to my family.

    • Megan

      I would say air on more information than less. However, I think all of the info on your website should prep the guest for things they need to know in advance. You don’t need to give them all the cultural info about the ceremony unless they need to prepare for it in advance. But if you want to let them know about activities that will impact the timeline (such as Indian wedding celebrations that take place over multiple days… as a guest I would want to know which activities and events I am expected to attend and what I should wear and if there is food) or I need to prepare something in advance (like how almost everyone gives a speech at a dutch wedding or how I could prepare something in advance to say at a Quaker wedding).

      If you’re doing something during the ceremony or reception that doesn’t require the guests to prepare in advance (like the horah or a broom jumping or money dance) then I would either verbally explain right before or put a small written thing in your program.

      • Totch

        Thanks. I guess I should have been more clear that I’m not asking about the practicalities of a website specifically, but was hoping that at
        some point APW could have a conversation about what obligation the hosts of a cross cultural wedding have to be educators on or around their wedding day.

        I agree that any info that would change what a person wears or how they behave should be communicated, and a website is great for that. But we’ve been going back and forth between wanting to include certain traditions and not wanting to have to spend the day explaining ourselves.

        • Ashlah

          Sounds like the perfect situation for a program. I attended a wedding that had elements from a lot of different cultures (or pieces that were meaningful for personal reasons), and we appreciated being able to read through the program while we waited for the ceremony to start, and then having a better understanding during the ceremony.

          I don’t think it’d bad to include it on the website, but it’s not necessary, and I imagine more people will read it (and remember it) at the wedding rather than months before.

    • Amy March

      As I guest, on the website I like to see the basics on what is happening. If you have, for example, a western ceremony during which the couple is married by an officiant, including readings and songs, for 35 mins, followed by another ceremony in xyz language where the couple performs different rituals, it lasts 2 hours, and guests are free to mingle and socialize, I think all of that is great info to include.

      I’m not really looking to the website for an explanation of what all the rituals are or what they mean or their significance. I’d be more interested in seeing that info on a program to help me follow along while it is happening, but there’s no reason I need to have all that info in advance.

      • Meg Keene

        I think the basics go on the website, and the details go in the program. Agreed. Having a Jewish wedding (with a Christian family), we didn’t include any extra info on the website. It was a ceremony, they just needed to show up. (That’s not the case if it’s say, a three day affair with multiple events.) But then I wrote a program that walked you through each ritual element, and had English translations from Hebrew. That way if you wanted to follow along, you could.

    • sofar

      You could easily just put an “about our ceremony” page/section on your site. Those who are interested can read every word, and those who don’t care can ignore it.

      However, if a certain type of dress is required (ie, covered shoulders and backs/head covering at a conservative venue), that needs to be front and center.

    • Susan

      There are plenty of existing educational websites out there that you could link to. So for instance, “We will be having a traditional Catholic/Jewish/Klingon wedding ceremony. If you’re curious about what kinds of traditions you may see here and want to learn more in advance, here’s our favorite website!” That way people who already know or don’t care don’t have to wade through it all, but people who get anxious can get what they need.

    • emilyg25

      We didn’t have a website, but I created an insert for our invitations with directions, accommodation info, and a little blurb about Quaker weddings. Basically, I gave a high-level overview of what they could expect as guests during the ceremony. Like bullet points.

      • Sarah

        We included brochures from Friend General Council about our Quaker wedding. We had to pay a small amount for them.

    • Anon

      For me I think things like length of the ceremony (if more than an hour), and appropriate dress (like if women need to cover their heads, or if knees/shoulders need to be covered, or if shoes will be removed). In addition, if there will be a long break between a traditional x ceremony and a traditional y ceremony. Additionally, if there are parts of the wedding that only some people should participate in (like only catholics should take communion, but everyone can come up for a blessing), or if food is part of the ceremony maybe say what it is (in the case of food allergies). Those are the things I’ve seen that have been helpful for me.

      Basically, a heads up on what, but generally no need to explain why. Okay in this part of the day I’ll be shoeless, got it, I won’t wear mismatched socks.

  • Grump

    This is going to sound grumpy, but it’s also the truth, so here goes.

    On your wedding web site: If you are writing about yourselves as individuals or as a couple, please keep it brief, stick to the facts, and include maybe a little gentle humor. Some couples write in such a way that I can only conclude they are enamoured with themselves.

    You don’t want your guests to turn away from your web site thinking “What a couple of tools.”

    I have had that feeling often enough to almost wish wedding web sites were not a thing. Keep the web site useful above all else and resist the opportunity to show off or describe what a delightful, quirky human being you are.

  • Julia Schnell

    Speaking of web design, your video ads area making it hard for me to scroll down on APW! I’m not sure if it’s the browser I’m using or what, but it’s frustrating!

    • CommaChick

      I have this problem, too.

  • Susan

    The info people most appreciated from our website was the FAQ “will the couple be changing their names?”. That allowed people to know they were addressing their cards/checks/greetings to the names we had chosen to use.

  • AmandaBee

    We skipped the “How We Met” page because, well honestly, our meeting wasn’t super interesting. We met on a dating site. We had a perfectly acceptable first date at Starbucks where we were able to mutually confirm that neither of us were serial killers. I thought about writing that up with a little joke about waiting for OK Cupid to send us their advertising dollars, but the fiance wasn’t into it.

    Ditto our “engagement story”. We had a nice practical conversation about partnership on the couch with a glass of wine, after which we decided we were engaged. I mean – we love each other, we’re happy, we’re just not super gushy people or prone to really overtly romantic gestures.

    There seems to be this assumption nowadays that every couple has an interesting and romantic story to share about meeting, falling in love, and getting engaged. I always wonder if anyone else just feels like their story is…not exciting enough to fill up a whole web page.

    • Lisa

      Ah, the classic rom-com “meet cute.” I put up little explanations of our story on our wedding web-site, but there was nothing OTT or special about the way my husband proposed or how we met. I think it’s actually nice to see examples of “average” relationships out there to counterbalance the social media hype of the perfect proposal.

    • Totch

      My fiance and I don’t remember meeting each other, the story of how we got together isn’t really family friendly, and our engagement was a wonderfully quiet thing that we’d discussed well in advance. I could see us doing little bios or something, but like you we’d probably nope out on those milestones.

    • emilyg25

      Our meeting story is not fit for public consumption. It was supposed to be a one night stand. Oops!

      • Totch

        Our getting together story involved a lot of drinking and a little property damage, followed by a month where I insisted that we definitely weren’t dating no matter how often we uh, hung out.

        We just tell people we met in our first year dorm and leave it at that.

      • AmandaBee

        I know a surprising number of stories like this, actually. I always find that a fascinating phenomenon but, yeah, not exactly wedding website material.

      • Jess

        Oh, yes indeed.

        Our Honest Story:
        I met R, I wanted into R’s pants, I got there and decided to stay for awhile.

      • definitely anon

        Our, not meeting but starting to date story (we had known each other for a little under a year) involves drunkenly having sex in a tent and me saying “DON’T STICK IT IN MY ASS” multiple times (no, he wasn’t trying to, I was just for some reason really concerned that he would?). And yes, this was a large campout/party with many of our friends around. That one’s definitely not going on any wedding website.

        • Kate

          One of the things that I love most about FH is that he absolutely is not into butt stuff. As someone who has NO interest in ever going there, I appreciate this SO MUCH.

    • We met via online dating, too, and are including tiny tiny snippets of our profiles just to give a little insight into what that was like. But, yeah, it’s not the most exciting, but people might as well know that you don’t have to meet the love(s) of your life on an emotional roller coaster!

    • Keri

      When I had to make a second website after our first venue fell through, I ran out of fucks to give on the describing how we met section and put up two sentences about how he proposed and a picture of the decorations (mostly so I could put up a picture of the dog in a giant bow.)

    • Ashlah

      We met on OkCupid too, and he broke it off after 3 weeks before we got together for good a few months later. Not the cutest meet. I’m sure we could have figured out a way to make it sound more romantic for a general audience, but eh. It didn’t seem that important to include. Once in a while I wish we had a better story (engagement too), but really, we’re in love now, and isn’t that enough?

    • CrazyCatLibrarian

      My fiancé probably wouldn’t let me put our real story: We met when he was the unemployed roommate of my friend’s then-bf. Her SO’s birthday was during a hurricane, so I got stuck at their house for the night and we wound up talking about the A Song of Ice and Fire series and then drunkenly making out. A few months later, the four of us hung out for a football game, and we hooked up. Figured it was good, so why not go on a date. After dating for almost 5 years, living together for over 4 years, having a ring for 2 years, and chickening out 4 times, he proposes while standing in someone’s driveway on the side of the road in his hometown at 2 am, both a little drunk. Family reaction: “Thank God, finally.”

      *I* think it’s adorable, funny, and romantic, but would anyone else? Prooooobably not.

      • Rachel

        Hahahaha I personally love this story! Ours is “met through a running and drinking club, were friend-quaintances for 9 months before drunkenly hooking up in a tent, it was good so we went on a date and…” Well, we aren’t actually engaged but yeah, after 6+ years together, moving across the country and 4+ years living together, family/friends reaction would definitely be, “Thank God, finally.”

        I ALSO find it hilarious and romantic but realize that may not be a universal reaction so I totally relate ;)

        • CommaChick

          If you don’t mind my asking, which running and drinking club?

          • Rachel

            the Hash House Harriers :)

          • CommaChick

            Small world. I know people there.

        • CrazyCatLibrarian

          Haha yea the date was totally “Well, that was fun. We should do that again, maybe after dinner this time.” And I’m from Baltimore, so I know quite a few people who met an SO in a (insert sport here) and drinking club lol

      • Lisa

        I think it’s a hilarious and adorable story, too! I absolutely love stories like yours.

        Ours isn’t as fun as a lot of the ones I’m reading here! After we’d known each other for almost a year, my now-husband finally got up the courage to ask me on a date, and I rejected his first 3-5 attempts because I legitimately had things going on each time. He asked a friend of mine if he should ask again, and she said, “Probably not.” So he didn’t. Then I was at a party where I was the only single person there. I was texting him about something completely different, and my drunk friends pinned me down, stole my phone, and texted him repeatedly that he should come to the party. Finally he called to see what was up, and when I apologized for my friends, he said that he couldn’t make it that night but invited me to dinner the following evening.

        • CrazyCatLibrarian

          I remember my friend at her bf’s party being kind of surprised that we wound up making out and I’m just like “Why? I’m single, he’s cute and single, and we’re both the only other two people at this party because everyone bailed due to the hurricane (I lived within walking distance and felt bad skipping because she had spent so much time planning it).” I knew as soon as I walked in there and assessed it that we’d probably hit it off. I had met him a few times before, but was dating someone that was kind of an asshole, so we already knew we got along. I think the only reason we didn’t go out at the time was because he was between jobs and didn’t feel right asking me on a date until he could pay for it, not that I would have cared. I was working two jobs and getting ready for grad school, it was nice having someone with open availability so he was free to hang out whenever I had a spare hour or two. I didn’t see him for a few months until I went over there to watch a game and he decided “Fuck it,” and went for it.

        • Kate

          ahahah – when FH and I first started dating I was in the middle of hectic times at work, and wouldn’t stay over on nights when I knew I would be busy the next morning. In fact, I didn’t really stay over the first month that we were dating – although we had plenty of long-winded makeout sessions at my front door – my neighbors shouted at us “get a room!” one time.

          I didn’t mean for this to be intriguing, and I wasn’t playing hard to get (FH swears that I was, but honestly I was just really busy at work) BUT it made him work harder to win me over.

    • Lulu

      We skipped it too, but this thread is making me wish I had told everyone about how I quickly wrapped things up with an awkward side hug because I had another OK Cupid date scheduled for immediately afterward.

    • savannnah

      We meet on OK Cupid and posted our first messages to the “how we met’ section. Might not be for everyone but it was cute and awkward enough for us.

  • Ebloom

    Super good tip on telling people what to expect. Our venue is small the ceremony might be cozy for everyone. Telling people about that ahead of time might be a good idea! Also, as a queer couple we’re definitely including nicely written Q/As that we know our relatives will ask out of ignorance and honest confusion.

  • j

    We plan to put a set amount of money to cover (hopefully) the cocktail hour and then after we’ve spent that certain amount of money, it will turn into a cash bar. How do we communicate that in a non tacky way? Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

    • Keri

      It might be more casual, but could you say, “Open bar until X o’clock or until we run out! Cash bar available during [dancing? dinner? other descriptor?] portion of the evening.”?

    • Lisa

      I like Keri’s answer. You could also give it just as time or event-specific (“Open Bar during the cocktail hour, followed by a cash bar during dinner and dancing”), and if the open bar runs longer than expected, I doubt people will complain.

  • Patty Johnson
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  • Great post. Enjoyed reading it over. I know a surprising number of stories like this,I absolutely love stories like yours.

  • Excellent post