Social media is woven into our personal and professional lives in so many ways; therefore, it’s natural that it should be part of one’s wedding planning. This revolutionary movement has given rise to the wedding website, often called a “wedsite,” which is now de rigueur for the modern bride and groom.
Many major wedding planning websites advertise free wedsites, and include but are not limited to those listed below. Please note that I’m listing these just for your convenience to check out, and am not endorsing any site; however, I invite you to comment on your experiences with these or any other sites:
mywedding.com (partnered with offbeatbride.com)
The following sites are fee-based:
Selecting a wedding website builder is a highly individual matter, and there is a lot to consider. Each site might offer different or better features than others in those areas that are important to you, such as an R.s.v.p. option. Most established wedding sites offer other planning services, as well, so be sure to check out sites thoroughly to understand the scope and level of all services and if there are any costs involved. Whichever site you select, plan to carve out enough time between the two of you to maintain it properly.
Brand Your Wedsite
One of the benefits of a wedsite is that you can express who you are as a couple, as well as individuals. Therefore, brand your wedsite to reflect your unique union. And, as this is about the bride and groom, you both should collaborate on the theme, ambience, components and content.
As with anything you post online, choose content that is tasteful, lighthearted, engaging, fascinating, amusing and entertaining, and that accurately and appealingly communicates your brand. Avoid the temptation to be self-indulgent or share intimate details about your first kiss, for example. After all, this is your personal marketing piece for family, friends and possibly business or academic associates who you’ve invited to share in and contribute to the celebrations surrounding your wedding. Stories about yourselves and essential information that you want your guests to have should be presented in a welcoming and inviting way to make visiting your site enjoyable and worthwhile to visit.
Keeping this in mind, select photos that will complement your theme and approach. Images that are too intimate or overly dramatic might be uncomfortable for some to view. Save the very formal and staged photos for the wedding album; a selection of these along with some of your honeymoon photos may be posted on your wedsite after the wedding. For now, photos of the two of you hiking together with your dogs, skydiving, on the slopes, at the zoo or aquarium, boating, building a Habitat for Humanity, or simply at a location that has great meaning for the two of you can be romantic and tell your story so much better than simply photos of the two of you in an embrace, kissing or staring at each other provocatively!
Along with your photos, it’s important to pay attention to your writing. A typical component is the story of how you and your future spouse met. You can write separate accounts or a single account written together. Whichever you decide, ensure that the piece is well written, interesting and not too long. As with any important written piece for publication, write it as you wish, then re-read, edit, edit some more, show it to a trusted objective source, edit further and have two other people proofread it before you perform your final read-through and posting. Correct typos, grammar, syntax and spellings. Make your love story something of which you will be proud and happy to share now and in years to come.
What To Post
Once your wedsite theme has been selected, your story has been told and your couple’s brand established, the following important information should be included:
- Date, time and location(s) of the wedding ceremony and reception, including full addresses and telephone numbers for traditional and GPS use
- Dress code for formal, informal, casual, costume, practical or religious occasions and purposes, or if there is no dress code (This information should also be included on the wedding invitation.)
- Cultural or religious guidelines regarding the type of ceremony, service and rituals and what they mean and how guests should participate if they wish
- Directions to ceremony and reception for both driving and public transportation, with links to websites with maps
- Area information for those traveling to the wedding location, including local maps, lodging, airports, transportation options and timetables from airport to hotel and from hotel to wedding, parking and other details along with any special instructions, discounts, recommendations, etc.
- R.s.v.p. options, which are available on most wedding websites
- Gift registry section, with links to the sites on which you have registered
- Wedding Weekend Calendar, including instructions for all guests, activities for wedding party and out-of-town/overnight guests, a morning-after-the-wedding breakfast or brunch, etc.
- Special situations, including services or instructions for disabled guests, and whether or not you will be inviting infants and young children to accompany their parents or guardians and babysitting information for guests who show up, regardless, with tots in tow
- Honeymoon info (optional), including a photo of your destination and brief and chatty backstory
- Contact information or method for guests to ask questions, such as an email address set up specifically for your wedding
- R.s.v.p.’s: While many guests will find the online R.s.v.p. option to be a great convenience, if you will be sending out formal invitations you should still enclose self-addressed, stamped snail-mail reply cards and add your wedsite address on the reply card as an optional method of responding. Not only will you be following proper etiquette but you’ll be providing guests with a tangible reminder to reply and two convenient options for doing so; you’ll be covering two bases to encourage timely responses, the receipt of which is one of the major challenges in planning a wedding. If your wedding will be less formal and not include engraved or embossed invitations with enclosed reply cards, simply include your R.s.v.p. wedsite address on the invitation.
- Registries: These should be approached with a light touch to avoid any appearance of greed or a lack of sensitivity with regard to receiving gifts. While links to your various registries on your wedsite are a welcome convenience for your guests, they should be handled with delicacy and, of course should never ever be the only items on your wedsite.
- KISS (Keep It Simple and Sophisticated): A clean, streamlined and attractively designed wedsite that contains interesting facts about the wedding couple and essential information that guests need to know should be the goal. Busy, cluttered pages with extraneous items can appear confusing and even juvenile.
- Privacy Concerns: Ask about privacy settings if you want to avoid having strangers view your wedsite, either intentionally or by accidentally coming across it while conducting a search.
Please join me next week as The Wedding Series expands on the topic of wedding registries.
Until next time,