Lately, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of people who are purchasing hosting accounts and domain names for personalised wedding and civil partnership websites. I’m not surprised to see more and more couples creating sites for these events–my husband and I made a website for our wedding last year, and it was the perfect way for us to share important information with our guests.
As soon as we decided to create a website for our wedding, we purchased a domain name. Our domain name was simply a combination of our first names–this meant our site’s URL was short and fairly easy for our guests to remember.
My husband and I wanted to included our site’s URL on our wedding invitations, so we purchased the domain prior to having them printed. On our invitations, we asked our guests to visit our site to RSVP.
Having our guests RSVP via our website was great! It saved us money on RSVP cards and postage (plus, it’s slightly eco-friendly), our guests responded quickly (probably because they didn’t need to drop an RSVP card in the post), and it gave them a reason to check out our website (which included a lot of useful information). Plus, we invited guests from various countries–if we had sent RSVP cards with our invitations, we would have had to figure out the cost of return postage for a number of different countries. By asking our guests to RSVP online, we were able to avoid the postage issue entirely.
After we purchased our domain name and had it printed on our invitations, we had to create the site before we could send out our invitations to our guests. We used a template made by our friend Bob from Shinytastic–it was a simple one page HTML template with jQuery scrolling, and it was perfect for our wedding website!
I customised the template to fit our wedding’s style and colour scheme, and then I added important information for our guests. Our website included the location, date, and time of our wedding ceremony and reception (this information was also on our invitation). All of our wedding guests came from out of town, so I included links to places to stay and things to do for people who were unfamiliar with the area.
I also included a link to our gift registry and information on where to park (as our wedding was at a private home on the beach). Plus, I included a link to Google Maps, so guests could easily get directions to the wedding ceremony.
We wanted our guests to be able to RSVP online, so we included a contact form for them to use. Because we invited a small number of people, we chose to have the responses from the contact form sent to my personal email address, but you can create an email address specifically for RSVPs. Our contact form was very simple–guests were asked to enter their name, email address, and a comment letting us know whether or not they would be able to attend (if they were able to come, we asked them to let us know how many guests they would be bringing)–but additional fields can be added. For example, we had a buffet at our wedding reception, but for sit down dinners, a field can be added to the contact form for guests to choose whether they want chicken or fish.
In order to personalise our wedding website, I included photos of me and my husband, as well as pictures of the beach we were getting married on. I got some inspiration for the site from our wedding invitation, but I didn’t try to make it an exact replica–I used Photoshop to find out the hex code for the blue on our wedding invitation, and I used this colour for the background of the site. I also used Photoshop to draw some leaves that resembled the ones on our invitations, and I used them for our site’s ‘logo’ and as accents on the buttons.
We didn’t include audio on our site–simply because we figured most people wouldn’t like it–but couples can have a special song start playing when guests visit the site.
Once the website was finished, I uploaded it and password protected it. While it’s not necessary to password protect a wedding website, we didn’t want the site to get indexed by Google and appear in search results (we didn’t want any uninvited guests showing up!). For the password, we simply asked our guests to enter my surname–most of our guests already knew my surname, and those who didn’t were able to find it on our wedding invitation.
Overall, our wedding website was a great success! All of our guests were able to successfully use the contact form to send their responses, and we received their replies very soon after the invitations were sent out (when guests have to post their replies, it can take weeks and even months before everyone RSVPs). As all of our guests were from out of town, the information about places to stay and things to do proved very useful. Many of our guests stayed at the hotels we recommended and visited the places we suggested.
If you’re thinking of creating a website for your upcoming wedding or civil partnership, here are a few tips:
When you’re wedding is over, you can update your wedding website with photos from your ceremony and reception. You can email your guests to let them know they can view your wedding pictures on your site–you can even asks guests to send you their candid shots for you to post on your website.