Putting together your wedding website should be easy. And for the most part it is. Thanks to our longtime partner, Squarespace, and their modern, designer-created wedding website templates, you can build a beautiful wedding website in less time than it’ll take you to binge watch the final season of Game of Thrones (NO SPOILERS). But what about when it comes time to figure out what you want to say with said website? Our rule with wedding websites is that they should inform your guests of all the relevant details they’ll need in order to make smart decisions about your wedding. Beyond that? They’re adults, and you can’t tell people how to live their lives.
But sometimes with weddings there’s a tricky middle ground. Like when you need to let someone know that they don’t get a plus one. Or that you really, really, no REALLY don’t want any gifts. And that’s when a wedding website is your best friend. Because here’s the thing: no one actually wants to have those touchy conversations with their wedding guests. But that doesn’t mean you can avoid telling your guests the information altogether. (Seriously, do not wait until the last minute to let your friends know that they can’t bring their six-month-old to your destination wedding.) And your wedding website is the perfect neutral territory to let your guests know the important info, without having to see their facial expressions when you do.
If you’re just getting started putting together your wedding website, Squarespace has you covered on making it look 💯. Plus, in addition to their stylish, modern templates, they’ve got all the bonus perks like a custom URL with your annual account, gallery pages to show off your beautiful faces, a super easily integrated registry experience, and really good customer service if you ever get stuck. And today we’re topping all that off with words you can steal. (And more specifically, words for those difficult-to-convey messages.) So here are five wedding website scripts you can copy and paste into your website to get your messages across without offending your family.
Now you have no excuses not to hit publish on that website you started two months ago.
WHEN YOU just want cash gifts
I get it. You’ve been together half a decade, and you definitely don’t need a second toaster oven. So you’re trying to find a nice way to tell your guests that cash would be preferred. Well, my first bit of advice is this: your guests will get you gifts, whether you like it or not. (I’m sorry, I wish I could change this reality.) So if you choose to opt out of a registry, just go into it knowing that a handful of people are going to take that as a cue to get you whatever the hell they want, and your lovely cousin is definitely going to gift you a giant oven-safe seashell bowl. (I know, because a friend got this exact dish for her wedding. I think they made brownies in it once.) So consider yourself warned. But there’s a way to wordsmith your way into having your cake and eating it too. Here’s how:
Don’t: No gifts please is just an invitation for your relatives to defy you and then be mad at you for it. Instead, provide your guests with some alternative options: set up a donation for a charity or cause you love, or set up a small registry with experiences versus physical items. Your guests won’t be left in the dark, and you’ll feel comfortable receiving what they generously want to give you. Though I can’t promise you won’t still get a giant seashell bowl. But at least this way you won’t get… two of them?
DO: We are so happy that you’ll be able to join us for our wedding. As many of you know, we live in a small New York City apartment (with only one closet), and it 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.
Pro-tip: Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. Squarespace makes it easy to integrate a registry page into your wedding website, with the option to include a customized cash registry, if you want. So simply set up a small registry (emphasis on small), link to it from your registry page, and once the physical items run out, most of your loved ones will take the hint and give you what you really want: cash. Or nothing. (Or a little of each.)
when you’re not inviting kids
We get this question a lot (and have talked more about it here). And it’s always a touchy subject. But if you’re choosing to have a kid-free wedding, there’s a valid reason, and an aversion to children probably isn’t it. So the key is letting your guests know that. You’ll want to start with your invitations (make sure you list out the names of the invited guests, and include on the RSVP card the number of people invited per family). But then let your website do the talking. Here’s how to avoid (most of) the drama:
Don’t: No kids allowed. For reasons stated above.
Do: Per the guest limit at our venue, we will we not be able to have children attend. However, if you are traveling with your children to our wedding, we have coordinated with our hotel and a licensed local nanny service to provide childcare during the event. Please indicate on your RSVP card if you will be needing childcare. Also, we joyously welcome your children to our post-wedding brunch the following morning. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we further help!
Pro-tip: Providing childcare is not necessary, but it will increase your chances of “yes” replies on your RSVPs if you have out of town folks traveling with kids.
When you don’t trust your guests to dress themselves
When it comes to what you’d like your guests to wear, you don’t actually have a ton of control. People are going to wear what they are going to wear, and you don’t want to get into the murky waters of undermining someone’s gender expression, or religious beliefs, or anything else that might sour their experience at your wedding. But you can make gentle suggestions. In instances when it’s regarding traditional or cultural dress, make your guests feel like insiders and offer resources on how to find the appropriate garments.
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. And we don’t want anyone dressing too formal, so leave your suits at home.
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!
Pro-tip: It doesn’t all have to be business. You can have fun with your wedding website too. Set up a Q&A page (with Squarespace you can add as many custom pages as you want), then have fun answering all the logistical questions your loved ones might have. When my friend Kristina got married she had two quotes to provide direction for her guests’ wedding attire: one from her mom that said, “You look good, you feel good!” and one from her brother that said, “Step it up!” It made everyone laugh and got the point across.
When it’s a cash bar
The worst thing you can say about a cash bar is nothing at all. Because some people (um, me? Who had a cash bar at her own wedding?) tend to forget that money exists at weddings, and will forgo important things like cash and credit cards for the sake of a cute little clutch that matches her dress. So no, we’re totally not mad that you have a cash bar (anyone mad about a cash bar can be shown the door). But we’re real mad if you forget to tell us to bring MONEY. So stick to the facts, and don’t over-explain yourself.
Don’t: We’re really sorry, but we’re having a cash bar. We wish we had enough money to cover all your drinks, but we just don’t, and we know our friends want to drink. Anyway please don’t be mad, but, BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH FOREVER.
Do: We so look forward to dancing the night away with you! Please note we will be offering a full selection of cocktails, beer, and wine until 10 p.m., at which point the bar will turn over into a cash bar.
Or: We so look forward to dancing the night away with you! Please note we will be offering a cash bar with a full selection of cocktails, beer, and wine all evening long.
Pro-Tip: Squarespace offers a custom domain with every yearly purchase, so take advantage of it and make your wedding website URL something easy to remember. That way your procrastinator friends can pull it up on their phones an hour before the wedding (bonus: Squarespace wedding websites are also mobile friendly) and get all the relevant information they need. This significantly decreases the chances that your college buddy will end up begging your uncle for money during the cash bar reception.
When it’s an unplugged ceremony
We’ve all seen that one guest with a camera on a monopod sticking out in the aisle during the middle of a wedding ceremony. It’s the worst. Which is why we at APW are firm supporters of the unplugged ceremony, if that’s something you want. But unplugged ceremonies are a new concept, which means your older guests (and most of your younger ones, too) aren’t even going to know what one is. If an unplugged ceremony is important to you, I recommend having your officiant offer a polite reminder at the beginning of the ceremony asking folks to turn off their devices, since so many of us are programmed to just whip that phone out and start recording. But it doesn’t hurt to give a heads up with an informational blurb on your wedding website, setting expectations in advance, so Uncle Bob can leave his monopod at home.
Don’t: Demand everyone’s phones as folks come into the ceremony. Unless you’re Beyoncé, then you do what you want.
DO: We will be having an unplugged ceremony at our wedding. While we fully encourage everyone to bring their phones, cameras, and super8 recorders to document the day (plus your awesome outfit and fabulous dance moves), we politely request that all devices be turned off during the ceremony. Once we receive the professional images from our photographer after the wedding, we will be happy to send them to you!
Got helpful website Wording examples to share? Leave them in the comments!
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. Every yearly Squarespace purchase also comes with a custom URL, and of course, their award winning customer service (just in case you get stuck). Click here to start a free 14-day trial and make your wedding website today. And don’t forget to nab your custom URL when you sign up for a yearly account. APW readers get 10% off your first Squarespace purchase when you use the code APW19 at checkout.
This post was originally published in November of 2017