Your wedding website is more than just a formality: It’s an important resource that will keep your guests informed and help them plan their schedules and transportation—meaning, they’ll be able to easily get into town and know where and when to celebrate. From must-have details to etiquette faux pas to avoid, here’s what to put on your wedding website, what to avoid, and wedding website ideas to make sure yours really works for you.
DO Stick With Your Theme
You’ve put so much effort into planning your wedding’s theme and palette, so make the most of it. Use the same style when designing your wedding website, too. "If it's country chic or a sophisticated black-tie event, the site should make it clear by its very nature," says celebrity wedding and event specialist Donnie Brown.
DON’T Mention Invite-Only Events
Yes, everyone who has access to your website is on your wedding guest list, but that doesn’t mean they’re on all the guest lists. If you’re having exclusive events, like a rehearsal dinner that’s just for the wedding party or a bridesmaids-only luncheon, leave those off of the site and share that information separately so you don’t make other guests feel left out. "It can come across as rude to do so, especially when the guest is traveling a long distance to celebrate with you," points out Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events.
DO Use a Password
Most wedding website platforms give you the option to password protect your site, and it’s an option we recommend you use. Wedding websites contain private information, from your venue and wedding date (fodder for wedding crashers) to your mailing address (for non-registry gifts).
Use that access code your platform provides—or upgrade to a custom password that will be easier for guests to remember—to make sure that only your invited guests see the details.
DON’T Use Online RSVPs
While this feature might seem tempting, think about the last time you put an event on Facebook. Chances are you had a lot of friends show up to your birthday party who didn’t RSVP—as well as friends who said they’d be there and then bailed. Yes, your guests know that your wedding is more “official” than meeting for drinks, but online RSVPs aren’t taken as seriously as paper cards, so it’s best to go the formal route. Plus, your older or less tech-savvy guests may not be able to successfully RSVP online, meaning your count could be off or replies could be late. (We do, however, totally support the use of online RSVPs for more casual gatherings like your morning-after brunch, where you’re looking for an estimated guest count and not a formal RSVP.)
DO Include Detailed Travel Information
Whether your celebration is local or you’re having a far-flung destination wedding, there will be guests coming in from out of town, so it’s a good idea to give them the 4-1-1 on travel and accommodations. Include information about the nearest airport or the best way to get to town, as well as the websites, phone numbers, and booking codes for any local hotels where you have a room block. Don’t forget any discounts you’ve secured for airport shuttles or rental cars.
DON’T Forget the Timeline
If you’ve planned any events around your wedding date (that everyone’s invited to), make sure to include them on your website. Add the time, location, and dress code for each event so guests can pack accordingly and make sure they’re on time. If you’ve arranged for transportation for your guests, be sure to put this on your website, too. Let guests know where to meet the shuttle, when and how frequently the shuttles will leave, and when transportation back to their lodging will be available.
DO Recommend Local Activities
You’ll be spending your wedding morning getting gussied up, but that gives your guests a few hours to kill before they head to the ceremony. "We love including recommendations for out-of-town guests, with a guide to the wedding area and the couples' favorite locations and things to do," says Kelsey Doorey, founder and CEO of Vow to Be Chic. "If local spots have special meaning to you and your SO, let everyone know. For example, if you met, went on your first date, got engaged, or even kissed for the first time near the wedding location, those can be fun facts to share."
DON’T Write a Novel
Wedding websites are a fun peek into the couple, their love story, and who’s in the wedding party, but keep it short and sweet. Give a quick overview of each bridesmaid and groomsman (think how the two of you met and a fun fact), and go with the long-short-story version of how you and your partner met, fell in love, and got engaged. Hit the highlights, but skip the nitty-gritty.
DO Include Registry Information
It’s an etiquette no-no to put your registry information on your invitations, but your wedding website is the perfect place for all the details. Include direct links to your online registries so guests can simply click through and hit “buy.” Asking for contributions to a honeymoon or house fund, or charitable donations? Add a few lines about how you plan to use the funds so guests writing checks can feel connected to the life you’re building together.