Let's face it, when you're planning an event for hundreds of people, all the little questions about directions and times really start to add up. Wedding websites are a great tool for couples to answer a lot of those repeated questions and give guests an easy reference for all kinds of important information like what time everything kicks off and where do they need to show up on the big day (complete with maps and directions, so they have no excuse). Granted, it's not going to stop people from asking, but you can spin them right around and point them to the site before the inevitable 15 follow-up questions.
So what should you include on your wedding website?
The Basics for Your Wedding Website:
At a glance your wedding website should let your guests know the wheres and whens of your wedding day. What's the location of the ceremony? What time should the arrive? Where will the reception be held? What time should they be there? This can be a very detailed timeline or a broad overview.
A basic wedding website should also include dress code, hotel information (especially if you're reserving a block), as well as links to your registry.
The Details for your Wedding Website:
One of the great advantages of a wedding website is how it makes it easy to give your guests a little or a lot of information, depending on what they need. Once you've covered the basics, you can add additional pages or dynamic elements for guests to dive deeper. Adding details and styling your site can also help to set the stage and tone for your wedding.
Include a menu with mouth-watering descriptions of the dishes - after all "pan-seared wild salmon filet on a bed of organic wild rice" will get people a lot more interested than just "fish."
Add in local information. If you have guests coming in from out of town (or are facing the Catholic gap) then consider including some information about local attractions and events that guests might enjoy in addition to the wedding. More detailed directions and transit information can also help - especially if you're using a shuttle service to get people around between events.
Explain your traditions. If your wedding is blending different traditions, then use the website as an opportunity give your guests any relevant religious or cultural information they might need to fully appreciate and enjoy the ceremony.
Frequently Asked Questions. Think of questions your guests are likely to ask (or have been asking) and collect them (and the answers) all in one place, so if your second cousin wants to know something she can look at the site first before calling you.
Photo galleries! Maybe a slideshow of the two of you going from when you were little right up until your engagement session (speaking of which, have you booked your favorite Boston Wedding photographer yet?).
The love story - include a little bit of a story of how you met or how the proposal happened.
Biographies - Some couples include brief bios on themselves, their VIPs and members of the wedding party.
Tips for Your Wedding Website:
So, you know all about the content you're going to have on your wedding website, but there are still a few other things to think about when it comes to putting your
Privacy: Consider putting your site behind a password (especially if you're doing online RSVPs). You don't need random people booking up your hotel block or crashing your party. Also see if your site provider will let you opt out of being indexed by search engines if you have privacy concerns.
Simpler is Better: Your wedding website should be easy for any of your guests to navigate and understand. So while slick presentation is nice, you don't need to turn your site into a coding tech demo if it gets in the way of sharing what your guests need to know.
Keep it Short: I know, that's rich coming from your favorite Boston Wedding Photographer, but try to keep you text down to fun-sized bites. So those bios for your bridesmaids should maybe be a paragraph or two and not a page.
Additional Events: Unless your site allows you to set up specific audiences, only use your site to list events that are open to every guest. Your grandmother doesn't need to know the details of the bachelor party.
After the Wedding: Once the wedding is over, you can keep the site live to share wedding memories (especially with free sites).
What are you planning to do with your wedding website?
Ryan Richardson is a wedding and engagement photographer serving Boston and beyond; including Cape Cod Weddings, New England Weddings, Massachusetts Weddings and Rhode Island Weddings.