One of the best ways to be a good hostess is to let your guests know what to expect when they attend your wedding. Imagine yourself as a guest. You’ve just shown up at your fiancé’s cousin’s wedding is a killer new long purple gown only to discover that the happy couple and almost all of the other guests are wearing jeans. How embarrassing. Knowing a little information about the dress code (or even just what other people will be wearing if there isn’t an official “dress code”) could have helped you avoid that embarrassment.
Now, how can you go about letting your guests know what to expect? However you want! Drop some extra info in with your invitations, tell everyone in person or on the phone, send a mass text or email, or hire a skywriter. Or you could set up a wedding website. Better yet, you can set up a wedding website that will entertain your guests even before your wedding day!
What is a wedding website and do we need one?
A wedding website is an online collection of information all about you, your fiancé, and your wedding. It can be as complicated or as simple as you like. Nobody needs a wedding website! I promise. If the thought of creating one is stressing you out, then this is definitely something you can skip.
If you aren’t totally overwhelmed by the idea of putting one together, a wedding website can be a great way to not only share the details of your big day with your guests but also give them a sense of what your wedding will be like and what they can expect. This is especially useful if your wedding is going to be as unique as you and your fiancé.
What should we include on our wedding website?
The basic things that are useful to have on a wedding website are:
- Logistics including the date, time, and location
- Directions to the venue
- Registry information
Anything else your guest might want to know is also useful to include. Think about weddings you’ve attended and what you wish you knew ahead of time. Some examples include:
- Suggestions for where out of town guests can stay, including information about booking a room in your hotel block if you have one
- Dress code, if any (you can link to a description of what it means or even provide fun images showing outfits that fit your dress code). And do your best to be clear about it instead of just using a cutesy name. We just want to know whether to wear heels!
- Whether guests will be standing for a portion of the day
- Whether there is grass to walk through at any point so guests can wear appropriate footwear
- If you’re having a cash bar
- If you’re having an unplugged ceremony (guests will forget and need to be reminded that day, but this can help explain the concept to them)
- Whether one or both of you are changing your name (in case they want to give you a check)
- My friend Sarah suggests including a straightforward statement about whether kids are invited and says, “I support either decision but I don’t want to pester the [couple] by asking, and it’s an important detail!” [You may be feeling like an expert on wedding invitation etiquette when you’re addressing your invitations, but if you or your guests aren’t then it is helpful for everyone to be clear about it]
If you’re doing anything that might be unconventional for most guests, that info can be super helpful to include so they’ll be more comfortable that day. For example:
- That you’ll have karaoke at your reception
- What a ring warming ceremony is and how it will work
- That you’re buying everyone tickets to a festival after the ceremony and reception to keep the party going
- That your dress code encourages costumes
You can also include any background information you like, including the story of how you met, your engagement story, or who your wedding party is. Lots of guests like to read this information, but if you feel like you don’t have any good stories to add here, don’t stress about it. [Although, I’m a fan of honest low-key stories like you and your fiancé were driving home one night and just decided to get married. The more those stories spread, the less pressure people can feel to do some big over the top proposal if that isn’t their style. But I digress…] If you do include background stories, mention things that you’ll be referencing in your wedding. Seeing that you met at a cosplay convention will make your encouragement for guests coming in costume make a lot more sense.
Is there anything our wedding website shouldn’t include?
You can find all sorts of opinions on what to include or exclude, so know that you’ll never please everyone. The best advice is to include what you want and feel comfortable including. One thing that you shouldn’t include though is information about events that some guests aren’t invited to, such as a rehearsal dinner. It is best not to risk uninvited guests showing up or feeling confused about whether or not they’re actually invited.
Can I put my wedding website on invitations?
That’s the best way to get the information to all of your guests. Remember though, some people won’t read everything, so you may still find yourself sending guests links to your site. The beauty of a wedding website though is that if it has enough information you can respond to all sorts of questions by directing guests to the website. Picture it. You’re out for a date night with your fiancé and you start getting texts about all sorts of specific details.
Them: What’s the address again?
You: I don’t have it in front of me, but it is on ourweddingwebsite.com
Many invitation templates already include a place to include your wedding website URL. Depending on the aesthetics of the invitation, you can list just the URL at the bottom of the invitation itself or include an insert that suggests guests go to the website for more information.
How can I make our wedding website feel like us?
Now that you have a handle on what you want to include on your wedding website, it’s time to brainstorm how you can use it to show off your personality and any themes you’re planning for your wedding. It’s helpful to think through each element and what you can incorporate into it.
Overall Design and Feel
If you’re picking a free website theme (or even coding it yourself), think about what colors or graphics represent you. Maybe your house colors for your Harry Potter wedding. Or, if you’re great at web design and incorporating your love of games into your wedding, what about including an easter egg or two? Try styling it as a captain’s log for a Star Trek wedding, using a font that mimics the opening credits of a movie or video game, or writing it in olde English for a ren-faire wedding.
My husband wrote up directions how how to get to our venue by car, public transit, or starship to go with our Star Trek theme. We could have included the stardate of our wedding too. Is there something transportation-specific about your theme? You could mention Nimbus 2000 parking when describing the venue’s parking situation or request that the TARDIS be parked outside the venue instead of in the middle of the reception. Make sure to include the straightforward information too though so it’s clear even to guests who don’t get the references.
Use the traditional dress code language (formal, cocktail, etc) but also think about including examples. You could show pictures of your favorite characters to show what appropriate and inappropriate clothing looks like. Or, if you’re encouraging cosutmes, put up some of your cosplay photos. Or ren-faire pictures, etc, etc.
What other places and ways can you think of to include your personality or theme? Anything you can do to work your theme or inspiration into your wedding website is a great way to give guests a hint about what is to come on your wedding day. And if you make it fun, your wedding website can entertain your guests long before your wedding day.
Go Forth and Design
Wedding websites are super useful for most weddings, but especially great for anyone planning a wedding that will be out of the ordinary. They are a great way to give your guests an idea of what to expect at your wedding and yet another way to work your personality into your big day.