How to Build the Best Wedding Website
Wedding websites have become practically a requirement for today’s engaged couples. They are the perfect way to communicate with guests, develop some excitement for your big day, and show off your wedding style and design before you take your first step down the aisle!
But building a wedding website can seem like a daunting task. What should you include? What shouldn’t you include? Which option is the best for hosting your site? This blog post will break down the basics for you and get you started on building your wedding website.
One note before we start: many website options come with the ability to protect your website with a password. Doing so is completely up to you, but in an age of more online discretion, many couples are opting for password protection because search engines will crawl your wedding websites.
The Wedding Website Basic Information
If building a website is a task you’re dreading, you have my permission to read this section and then stop. Here I will detail the “must haves” for your wedding website!
At the very least, include your name and your fiance’s name. Guests need to know they’ve found the right website!
You must include the basic logistics of your wedding day. This includes
Your ceremony venue address
Your ceremony start time
Your reception venue address
Your reception start time
The website must include any information for wedding activities to which ALL guests are invited. If you’re doing a welcome party, a post-wedding after party, or a post-wedding hike and all guests are welcome to attend, include at least timing and addresses.
Do NOT include any wedding activities that not all guests are invited to. That includes bridal showers, ceremony rehearsals, rehearsal dinners, etc.
If you are providing transportation for your guests, you must include the pickup times and locations. If shuttles will only be making return trips at specific times, include that information
If you have provided a hotel room block for your guests, you must include the name of the hotel, the address, the phone number, and either the booking code or a link to the booking page (if the hotel has provided a unique landing page for your block)
That is really all that you must include on your wedding website, but there is more information that you should include on your wedding website, so read on!
Make Sure Your Guests are Informed!
While your wedding website is about you, your fiance, and your wedding day, it is really a tool for your guests. So when deciding what to include on your wedding website, base it on the needs of your guests rather than creating a website only dedicated to your love story (as incredible as it may be). Now that we have covered the “must have” information for your wedding website, let’s move on to the “should have” information!
Additional Travel Information:
Traveling to a new location for a wedding can be particularly anxiety-inducing for many guests, not only do they have the stress of travel, but they have to be at specific locations at specific times wearing specific clothing - not things usually associated with vacations. So make it as easy for your guests as possible by taking some of the guesswork out of their travel.
You’ve already included the hotel room block information, which is fantastic. You do not need to link to every hotel in the area of your wedding for additional options. I recommend including the hotel associated with your room block and then two other options. You should have a high-end hotel option, a mid-tier hotel option, and a budget-conscious hotel option; include recommendations for the two options not covered by your room block hotel.
Include Airport information. How should guests travel from the airport to your wedding location? Is there public transportation, will they need to rent a car, or have you hired a shuttle?
If there are particular routes to your wedding location that are difficult to navigate or very congested, give your guests any information that may help them. For example, I plan many weddings in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. For weddings in Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, or Breckenridge, guests will have to travel on I70 through the mountains. I70 can be very congested even during the Summer, and will often have closures during the Winter due to storms. Letting guests know that it may take longer than two hours to reach Vail, Colorado for a wedding (sometimes it can take up to five hours!) will help assure that guests plan their travel appropriately and aren’t late to events. For weddings at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, I tell couples to let their guests know they will be traveling over a very twisty Mountain Pass and to drive cautiously, during both Summer and Winter. For weddings at Piney River Ranch in Vail, Colorado, couples should let their guests know that there will not be cell phone service for the majority of the drive, so they should print directions or make sure that Google Maps is available offline.
If a venue is very remote, is a private estate, or isn’t a traditional wedding venue, it is a good idea to include basic driving directions on your website and let guests know that Map apps may not be reliable.
Wedding registries are perhaps one of the elements of a wedding that has changed the most over the last three decades. It used to be that etiquette dictated that registries were never mentioned by the couple. But today it is common to link to your registry on your wedding website. Keep your registry page very simple. Don’t over explain why you registered where you did, what you are hoping for, etc. And don’t directly ask for cash.
How We Met Information:
Most likely, you will have some guests in attendance who only know either you or your fiance. Including a few brief paragraphs about how you met, the proposal, and what you like to do together can give guests some insight into why you two are the perfect couple!
Anything Unique at Your Wedding:
If your wedding will have any elements that are unique or unusual (or uncommon for your family and friends), you should mention it on your website. A few examples of those might be a standing-room-only ceremony, cocktail style canapes in lieu of a plated dinner, or a silent disco instead of a traditional DJ or band.
A Way to Contact You:
Guests will often have questions in the months before your wedding and may need a way to contact you (you know, your Aunt Tilly who you haven’t seen in forever but NEEDS to know if she should wear heels or wedges to your beach wedding). I recommend setting up a unique email address that both you and your fiance check to list on your website. This is also an email address that can be given to vendors at bridal shows or when you’re inquiring so that your work email address can remain wedding-free!
Your RSVP Deadline:
Sometimes people lose invitations and adding your RSVP deadline (in gentle phrasing) can help remind guests to let you know whether they will be in attendance!
Guests often wonder what to wear to weddings, so it is a wonderful idea to include your dress code and any helpful tips. You should include dress codes for every event listed on your website, but this is a good place to remember that you’ve invited guests to a celebration, so this is about providing guidance, not placing requirements on your loved ones. Some examples of additional information to include would be information about shoes if you’re being married on sand or grass. Or, here in Colorado and especially for mountain weddings, we advise guests that the sun can be quite intense during the day but that temperatures will drop rapidly at night. Anything that you can think of that will help your guests be comfortable and relaxed so they can enjoy your wedding completely!
Impress Your Guests and Set the Stage for Your Wedding!
Now we’ve covered the information that should be on your wedding website in order to help your guests enjoy themselves, it is time to zhush your website up and add some personality!
Your Website Design:
There are so many options for website providers and design that you should be able to find a fantastic one that matches your wedding aesthetic and theme. For example, when I help couples plan their Colorado Weddings, there are lots of options that include mountains or trees or even the Denver Skyline!
Keep your language consistent with your wedding as well! If you are having a very traditional wedding, use traditional language. If you are having a totally out-of-the-box celebration, reflect that with your word choice! But a word of caution, keep the language Grandma and Kid appropriate! This website will be sent out to lots of people and some you may not know very well. Be sure not to use offensive language or too much slang that might be unfamiliar to guests.
Help Your Guests have an Incredible Trip:
Gone are the days where most people stay in the same town they were born in for their entire lives, so the percentage of guests traveling to weddings seems higher than ever. This creates a wonderful opportunity for you and your fiance to really show off why you selected the wedding location that you did! I plan weddings in Colorado, a destination wedding market. So couples who are marrying in Vail, Aspen, or at Devil’s Thumb really want their guests to experience all Colorado has to offer! For any wedding location, guests love recommendations for activities, attractions, food, and drinks! You can make the recommendations incredibly special by pointing out significant locations in your relationship. For example, share the location of your first date, or where the proposal happened, or your first hike together with your guests
Introduce Your Wedding Party:
It is common for guests to interact with members of your wedding party, whether offering a quick “great job” or listening to a toast. The members of your wedding party are among the most visible people at your wedding. So offering a very brief introduction to each member can be a fun way for guests to get to know them. Include a photo and a line or two about how you met. No paragraphs here, just a fun blip so guests have a reference point.
Keep it Social:
Are you doing a wedding hashtag or a Snapchat filter? Let wedding guests know in advance so that they’ll be familiar with the information in advance of your wedding. The more frequently you remind your guests of your hashtag, the more likely it is to be used!
Photos of You and Your Fiance Through the Years:
I love looking through galleries of the amazing couples I work with through the years. Seeing their relationship grow, the special moments (like the proposal), I love all of it! And guests do too. It is such a great way for your guests to learn even more about why you have chosen each other! You don’t need to include 50 photos of you together, one or two dozen is the sweet spot.
Communicate about Your Unplugged Ceremony:
Increasingly couples are hoping for “Unplugged Ceremonies,” meaning that it is requested that guests put phones and cameras away and be very present for the special moment. It is a good idea to begin letting guests know about your desire for an unplugged ceremony on your wedding website. You can explain why it is important to you and promise the professional photos will be available. You will have to remind guests again at your ceremony, but advanced knowledge won’t hurt.
Sticky Situations and FAQS:
Creating a Frequently Asked Questions page can be a great place to “host” all of the additional information you’re providing for your guests. It can include your Hashtag, a reminder of weather (or here in Colorado, altitude sickness), and is a great place to address sticky situations. For example, if you are not inviting children to your wedding, this is a good place to address that and provide information about local babysitting services.
Your website is the place to address the questions you don’t want to answer over and over, and as each wedding is unique, there will be different questions depending on your families, friends, and wedding location.
I hope that this guide helped break down the Must Haves, Should Haves, and Upgrades for your wedding website. The website should be something fun and collaborative you and your fiance do together! Use it as a tool to increase your excitement for your wedding day and look back at how you’ve grown together.
While in no way an exhaustive list, here are a few of the wedding website providers that my couples have used and enjoyed:
The Knot, Minted, Zola, WeddingWire, AppyCouple, Riley & Grey, Joy, or build your own with Squarespace or Wix
Enjoy building this guide for your guests together!