As I mentioned when I wrote about our invitations, Ben and I opted to keep the print materials minimal and direct our guests to a wedding website to fill in the details. Neither of us know the first thing about creating a website, so we knew a template would be our best bet.
There are a lot of options out there these days—and some of them are really gorgeous—but since I was adamant about sticking to a free option we didn’t have a ton of choices. That’s probably just as well, since we were looking for something that would fulfil a few basic functions—not looking like it came out of the ‘90s was nice, but not necessary.
The main thing we were looking for was a template equipped to handle electronic RSVPs in a straightforward fashion—because of our international situation, with guests split between the US and UK (and elsewhere), it would’ve been complicated and expensive to do paper cards. After a bit of online sleuthing, I concluded that WeddingWire seemed like our best bet: their RSVP function has lots of positive reviews, it allows for a meal choice along with the RSVP (which I’ve been able to tweak into a dietary restrictions section, as we aren’t actually offering a general choice of entrees but do need to gather this info), and the system is set up to prevent guests from adding uninvited plus-ones—you enter all of your invitees’ names, and guests can only respond with names that match up to the guest list.
Since we didn’t include any information beyond the date, start time, and location of our wedding on our print invitations, we also wanted to use the website to provide the kind of info that might otherwise have been included on enclosures—on travel, accommodations, and what time we plan on winding things down.
I wasn’t sure just how much information I needed to provide, though, and in how much detail. I mean, our guests are functional adults who know how to use the Internet—surely they can figure out how best to get from, for instance, London to Oxford on their own? Or research accommodation if they’re planning on staying the night? And on the chance that anyone isn’t proficient in online research, they’re not likely to have made it to the website in the first place.
In most instances, I took kind of a half-assed approach, like “Here is a link to the train website. Here are some links to the bus websites.” “Here is a link to TripAdvisor’s best accommodations in Oxford.” The one thing I felt I needed to flesh out was the section with information on options for getting to our venue itself, since it’s a bit of a hike from central Oxford.
We’re also including a link to our registry, though as of my writing this post in early May we still don’t actually have one. Since neither of us has ever set up a household, we need all that old-fashioned home stuff—and though I know there are lots of options for registering online, I thought it’d be fun for us to go to a bricks and mortar store and pick stuff out together. I’m hoping we’ll get to do it before too long, once I’m in London, but for now our site just has a note requesting that guests check back later for our list
I know a lot of couples include photos, bios, the story of how they met, and even intros for the members of their bridal party, but that’s not really our style—I may be a chronic oversharer, but public sappiness makes me uncomfortable. So we opted to limit ours to the practical stuff.
Are you using (or did you use) a wedding website? If so, what service did you opt for—or did you build your own from scratch? And what kinds of information did you choose to include (or leave out)?