"My own wedding website…huuummm, that sounds like a FAB idea but I don’t have a degree in IT and I haven’t got a Scooby Doo where to start!"
Sound familiar? Well that was definitely me! Although I think I’m fairly competent when it comes to finding my way around website building having managed one or two (including my lovely Wedding Library site!), one quick search of Google for ‘wedding websites’ left me feeling overwhelmed with the thousands of results comparing themes, domains, pricing options etc.
Then, as one lovely bride-to-be pointed out recently, there’s the question of security – how do you know which sites are trustworthy and safe to subscribe to? After all who wants their wedding details, date, location and personal photos visible to anyone with a search engine?
So let’s start at the beginning and have a look at why you might like a wedding website, and then have a look at five of the top recommended easy-to-use, trustworthy sites.
What is a wedding website & why do I need one?
Creating your own personal wedding website is a totally brilliant way to give your guests a central point of information about your special day. Once set up, I promise it will save you a whole heap of time from an admin point of view (which I say leaves much more time for cake tasting or tracking down that ‘I said YES’ to the dress!).
No matter how meticulous you are sending out info to your guests individually, a dedicated website will help people find the information they need quickly and easily, so that you can focus on your big day without needing to answer 101 emails and texts about timings, dress code, meal requirements, gifts etc.
Having a dedicated site also means that should your best-laid plans hit a bump in the road (Coronavirus shaped or otherwise), and you need to change your date, venue or your ceremony etc., you can let your guests know really easily, without incurring additional expense on new stationery or sending out individual time-consuming e-mails.
How much will it cost?
If you are counting the pennies and would rather save your wedding budget for other wonderful things, then setting up a wedding website needn’t cost you a penny! That’s right, there really are totally FREE options! But just because they are free, doesn’t mean they offer a sub-standard service. In this Blog, I have chosen to focus on five of the best free website building sites offering the most fantastic, customisable options. They will do pretty much everything you need them to do.
If however you are looking for a package with more customisable elements above and beyond the essentials, then there are lots of fee paying wedding websites you might like to take a look at too, such as Gettin' Hitched Rocks or Appy Couple.
What can I include in my wedding website?
Generally speaking, whichever site builder you opt for, there will be space for:
Your story. Have some fun with this with details of how you met as a couple, your proposal, favourite photos, stories etc.
An RSVP option. Asking your guests to respond to your invitations online really does simplify the entire process when it comes to keeping up to date with your guest list.
Timings on your special day.
Details of your venue, parking etc.
Menu details (option for your guests to advise you of any special dietary requirements).
Accommodation - options at your venue or nearby.
Travel details, maps & directions (super useful if you are getting married overseas).
Space for your guests to chat, exchange info and well-wishes. It’s a great way to start building excitement ahead of your big day!
Weather update – always handy so your guests know whether they are likely to need an umbrella or Factor 50!
All of my recommended wedding website builders offer these features. They simply differ in style and choice of designs. They also have the option to customise your privacy settings and even password protect your information, so that only people who know the password can access your full wedding website.
So without further ado, here’s my ‘I do’ rundown on five of the best:
1. With Joy
Out of all the free wedding websites, I think With Joy is one of the absolute best in terms of content and ease of use. It really is intuitive and guides you through the process step-by-step. Before you know it, you will have a beautiful personalised site to be proud of! Highlights for me include:
A brilliant downloadable app for all of your guests to easily access your wedding info.
Stunning designs, with a choice of colours, fonts and photos to match your wedding theme.
A dedicated space for your guests to upload their phone snaps on your special day (and control what goes on social media!).
An option to send beautifully styled paperless Save the Dates or Invitations. However, should you prefer to have stationery printed to match the style of your website, you can even use With Joy's print partner, Paperlust.
Another brilliant and totally free site builder that is super easy to use and top rated on Trustpilot (you can also upgrade to ‘Premium’ for additional features such as background music or exclusive design templates). Zankyou allows you to design and personalise your space and add content in just a few simple clicks. Here’s why I love it:
There are 50 beautiful templates for you to choose from, which you can then customise with your preferred colours and fonts.
You can include localised maps detailing accommodation recommendations.
There’s an option for your guests to upload videos of your day, as well as photos.
You can set up a wedding playlist, which your guests can add to ahead of your big day.
You can choose your very own website address. Many couples prefer this to having a longer URL with the website company name as part of your address. Choose something unique, personal, short and memorable. In my case for example this might be ‘Dieterandnaomigethitched.com’ or ‘Dieterandnaomi.wedding’. Be creative, have some fun!
Wix really is brilliant if you have no experience of web design and feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of where to begin. It perfectly combines ease-of-use with complete creative freedom, allowing you to design your site, in your own unique style to WOW your guests. Some of my favourite features include:
The option to add a fun countdown clock to your site.
You can share your professional wedding photos to your site so that all your guests can see them.
The option to add ‘galleries’ of images – perfect if you want to share an engagement wedding shoot, or hen/stag party images.
You can easily add a gift registry to your wedding website. Many of Wix templates have this page included, allowing you to link to your registered shops and let your guests do the rest.
4. Getting Married
Getting Married provides a fabulous free wedding website service. It comes highly recommended (4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot), with people rating it with five stars for helping them minimise the time, effort and stress involved in creating a beautiful site, and ease in communicating with guests. There are so many reasons to have a look at Getting Married, but these are some of my favourites:
The site promises you can ‘get started in 5 easy steps in less than 2 minutes’. I’ve tried it and yes – you really can!
The design templates are gorgeous! You can choose from a wide range of styles including romantic, rustic or minimal and there are sample templates set up, so you can easily envisage what your own site will look like.
Guest management options really are fabulous. You can easily keep track of invitations, RSVPs, menu choices and those all-important thank you messages.
If a guest list isn’t your thing, you easily include a ‘Honeymoon Fund’ option to your site.
You can create an online ‘Guest Book’ for people to leave their wedding wishes and messages.
You can even use your site to plan your Stag Do or Hen Party!
5. Wedding Wire
Before I checked out their website creating functionality, I made full use last year of their table seating chart and planning facility for my own wedding. Both were so easy to use and made organising my special day so much easier (and here at The Wedding Library, we are all for super-easy wedding planning!). So here are some of my top reasons for taking a look at Wedding Wire:
You really can set up your site in minutes. There are 37 fabulous templates to choose from and the site guides you through each stage step-by-step, so it’s absolutely perfect for beginners.
As with Zankyou, you can choose your very own website address, making it very easy for your guests to find you online with something personal, memorable and unique to you.
You can easily create guest surveys for meal requirements, travel and accommodation. Surveys are very quick to set up and the site collates all the responses for you.
·As people RSVP, responses automatically sync with your Guest List, making keeping track of numbers for catering and table planning a doddle!
So those are my top five personal recommendations and if you have a go at setting up your own lovely site, I would L O V E to know how you get on. Wedding planning can be stressful at the best of times, but having the admin under control really can make such a difference, leaving you free to focus on and enjoy other aspects of your special day.
Aside from designing, creating and hiring out our beautiful and unique wedding props and decorations, I am always on-hand to help out with wedding planning tips and advice. I have over 20 years’ experience of organising functions and events, managing guest lists, venue décor, catering, floristry etc. and I absolutely love being able to put that to good use, hopefully saving you time and money and making your wedding journey a whole lot of fun along the way!
When you choose to hire with us, whether it’s one or two items, or our wonderful All-inclusive Wedding Library Package, wedding advice and support is included and it won’t cost you a penny extra (much like the websites above!)
Until next time, happy wedding website designing everybody!