It takes commitment to make a good wedding website. Luckily, this isn’t the lifelong, through-sickness-and-health kind of commitment, but one of time and money. And given everything else that goes into planning a wedding, it’s more than likely you’ll be short on both.
But a wedding website is a worthwhile investment. Unlike an invitation, it can be an ongoing communication with your guests, a place where they can find information about your wedding day timeline, venue details and gift registry. Compared to most other sites, wedding websites tend to be simpler and to the point—and these days, there aren’t as many barriers to creating a site, and there are solutions available for every budget.
Of course, if you have never made a website before, even a simple website can feel daunting. With this in mind, we’re going to walk you through each step for creating a gorgeous wedding website so that you can save your bridezilla energy for the actual wedding.
Step 1: Start with your wedding’s brand
Before you get started on your website, consider your wedding’s brand. You might be thinking We’re a couple, not a company! But a brand can be a way of conceptualizing the personality you want to communicate through a design project. Companies, for example, use their brand to communicate their values and voice (among other things), and these qualities are expressed through the writing style and visual design elements.
Similarly, a wedding can use branding to convey the intended mood (be it rustic or modern or classic, etc.). Because consistency is important for a cohesive brand, you can apply the visual direction to everything from your website to your invitations, menus, table placards, etc. This is why it’s useful to establish your brand at the very beginning.
For a website, the common graphic design elements used in branding are fonts, color schemes and imagery. Different types of fonts can set the mood from elegant to silly, and colors can connect with emotions on a primal level. Imagery for wedding websites commonly involves photos featuring the happy couple and/or the venue location. If you don’t feel comfortable making these aesthetic choices yourself, consider hiring a freelance graphic designer to create a wedding logo and expand on your visual brand from there.
Step 2: Decide on the website content
The design of your wedding website will depend on what and how much information you need to include. And that content will depend on the reason you are creating a website: Do you just want to create an online reference for wedding day details like parking, scheduling and dress code? Do you want to give guests a place to access your gift registry? Do you want to sell guests on the destination for your destination wedding? Maybe all of the above.
Deciding on this information ahead of time will help you map out the number and content of pages for the website. To give you a place to start, here is a quick list of common wedding website content:
- Time and date
- About the couple
- Location/venue info
- Photo Gallery
Step 3: Decide on the website features
Website content is rarely static—most websites are designed to be interactive. This is your website’s functionality, where you consider what you want your guests to be able to do with your website (beyond passively reading).
True, wedding websites rarely need the high levels of complex functionality you’d encounter in the latest Silicon Valley startup app. Regardless, it’s a good idea to review your options of what your wedding website can accomplish and to decide on these features as early in the process as possible. That way, you can research the additional cost ahead of time, whether that comes in the form of designer/developer effort (if you are getting a custom website made) or purchasing feature plugins (if you are using a website builder).
Here is a quick list of some common wedding website functionality:
- Registry integration
- Google maps integration
- Social media integration
- Email signup
- Password protection
- Guest photo uploader
Step 4: Choose a method to create a wedding website
Creating the actual website can seem like a complex undertaking, but there are ways to get it done—and you don’t have to be wealthy or tech-savvy. Your two best options are implementing a DIY website builder or hiring a freelance designer. The following is a snapshot of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, but be sure to check out our in depth comparison of web builders vs. web designers.
Template website builder
A website builder is a free or low cost solution that allows users to create working websites without writing code. The user simply picks a template, customizes it with their copy and media, and publishes the site.
Though most of the more popular website builders like WordPress.org, Squarespace, and Wix offer wedding websites within their template library, there are also wedding-specific website services like The Knot.
- Cheap or no price
- Easy to learn and use. Made for non designers
- Generally fast to develop and publish website
- Though the tools make it easy, you do have to build the website yourself
- Template websites can have a generic look
- Limited functionality
- Pricing goes up with additional features like unique URL, hosting, and add-ons
Custom web design
Getting a custom website means hiring a designer to create the visual layout of the site and a developer to write the code, all from scratch. You will also need to purchase a unique domain address and hosting to store your website files.
Although there are more steps and costs involved to create a custom website, the unique design that results can be worth it. Often, it can even be less expensive than you might expect. A creative platform like 99designs allows you to connect with a global pool of freelance designers, who charge significantly less than a full service agency. Some designers may even double as developers, reducing the number of contractors you’ll need to hire, though you should ask the designer about this ahead of time.
- Unique website
- Capable of a much wider range of functions than templates
- Hand the building of the website over to professionals rather than doing it yourself
- Higher cost, depending on the designer or developer. $800 and up at least
- Custom websites can take longer to develop
- May be more difficult to make changes to the content yourself after publishing
Step 5: Design the website
In most cases, the design of the website will largely be taken care of for you. Either the designer will make the aesthetic choices themselves, or the template will predetermine the layout. It’s good to consider what goes into quality wedding website design so that you can confidently choose the right template or give feedback to your designer.
There are two key purposes your wedding website design should serve. The first is information delivery: your website exists as a reference for your guests (on scheduling, directions, menus, etc), and the information they need should be straightforward to find. Because wedding websites are rarely complex, they can support minimalist approaches, meaning sparse layouts with plenty of white space and clear visual hierarchy are essential.
The second is to engender excitement: a wedding website exists to promote your big day, and the visuals should get guests celebrating months ahead of time. Of course, you should have plenty of high quality engagement photos featured prominently throughout the site, but you can also use other graphic design techniques to foster a jubilant mood. A bright, vibrant color scheme makes a design feel warm and inviting, which is why pinks, reds and pastels are common on wedding websites. Rounded shapes in both font styles and abstract lines can also convey a bubbly, joyous energy as opposed to hard geometric ones. For a more formal approach, use neutral tones like white or black and use elegant, curly script-style fonts.
Step 6: Launch your finished wedding website
Once you have your website built, all that is left is to publish it to the internet. You will need to secure a domain, in which you purchase a unique URL or website address for a yearly fee from a company like GoDaddy. You will also need to purchase space on a host server to store your website files (many domain services also offer hosting). If you have used a website builder service, some will offer domain and hosting through their platform. Once you have done both of these, simply connect your domain to the host server (which your developer or hosting platform support can help you with) and the website will be live.
Make sure that you test the website to make sure the layout works across multiple different browsers and devices and that the interactive features function as expected. In the event that you do need to make changes or simply want to update information, a good content management system will make it easy to do so. Ideally, you should research CMSs ahead of time, but WordPress is easily the most common. And there you have it—a wedding website for your guests to fall in love with.
Match with an awesome wedding website designer
Whereas an invitation is a one-time correspondence, your wedding website is where your guests can look for up-to-date information and photos—the party before the party. While it does not have to be the most complicated or expensive item in your wedding preparations, it also shouldn’t fall below the standards of the rest of your wedding assets. It should be a beautiful page that informs your guests while celebrating you and your partner. And the best way to make sure that you get a wedding website that makes you swoon is to work with a talented designer.