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Website Trends: Personalised Wedding Sites

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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!

one page wedding website template

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.

wedding things to do

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.

wedding directions

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.

wedding rsvp

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.

wedding invitation

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:

  • If you want to include the site’s URL on your paper invitations, then make sure you purchase your desired domain prior to having them printed.
  • Purchase a domain name for your site.  Most people choose some combination of their names, but it really can be anything you’d like.
  • Unless you think you’re going to get your website finished right away, then you can hold off on getting web hosting for your wedding site until right before you send out your invitations.
  • Most likely, you won’t need your wedding site to be active for more than a few months, so don’t waste money on an annual plan when a quarterly or semi-annual plan will suffice.
  • Decide how you want your site to look.  We chose to make our wedding site look like our invitations, but it’s not necessary.
  • Figure out what you want to include in your website and how you want it to function.
  • Once you know how you want your site to look and function, choose a template that will meet your needs.  Unless you’re an experienced designer, I don’t recommend building a site from scratch (you’ll have a lot of other tasks to complete for your wedding, and learning web design shouldn’t be one of them!).  Themeforest is a great resource for free and premium themes and templates–in addition to HTML templates, they offer WordPress themes.
  • Consider using WordPress for your wedding website.  WordPress is easy to use and customise, making it a great choice for people who don’t have a lot of technical knowledge.
  • If you’re live editing your site, consider password protecting your website to prevent it from getting indexed by Google.
  • Customise the look of your template–change the colours or use different fonts.
  • Start adding content to your site.  When creating pages and posts, think like a wedding guest!  Include directions, local hotels and attractions, and a link to your bridal registry.  If you were attending your wedding, what information would you find helpful?
  • Add a contact form to your wedding site, even if you aren’t going to have guests RSVP via your site.  Consider creating an email address especially for your contact form.
  • When you’re wedding website is nearly ready to be launched, test every aspect of it.  Make sure your links and contact form are working correctly.
  • When your site is ready, include the URL on your wedding invitation.
  • If you haven’t already, I recommend password protecting your website.  In order to avoid having a password printed on your invitations, make the password something your guests will be able to figure out from your invitation.  Your password question can be something like ‘What is the groom’s surname?’or ‘Which month are we getting married in?’.

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.

So, do you think you’ll create a site for your wedding or civil partnership?  If you need UK web hosting for your site, then check out our web hosting plans!

4 Comments

  1. On November 21, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Icariin said:

    Awesome wedding site you have there, I never realized just how accessible they were becoming to be honest.

  2. On October 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Hapjes Maken said:

    I love this idea!

  3. On October 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Erik said:

    I love your idea of a personalised wedding site. Technology is really wonderful. Ain’t it? Maybe to save money and be more eco-friendly, I can have the invitations the same way – that is virtually. Design an HTML email that will serve as invitation then a website for the what-where-when’s for the wedding. I think many people will be able to adapt to this. The site can later be converted to an after-wedding page, such as sharing the pictures with your guests / friends /family and a thank you note. Of course, give aways will be handed during the wedding so there will still be physical memorabilia for those who came.

  4. On October 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    wedding jewellery said:

    Great idea! Love having your names as the domain name, something I wouldn’t have thought of, and also good advice to have it password protected to stop indexing.