6 tips for making your wedding website useful AND stylish

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free wedding websites from joy alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Are you engaged? YAY! I have a feeling that a lot of you are thinking about wedding hashtags and websites and social media, oh my. Weddings are way more high tech these days and a wedding website is pretty standard fare now. They're not required, of course, but they do offer a great way to share information that just won't fit on your invitation.

And you won't have to keep repeating all of the details over the phone or email… well, you might, but at least you'll have an easy place to send guests to snag it. When I got engaged in 2018, I went on a hunt for a really slick wedding website and stumbled upon Joy, who offered more than I even knew I wanted in a wedding website. I bit the bullet, started our website, and have a few quick hit tips to share to make your wedding website both ultra useful and seriously captivating.

Keep it simple

There's no reason to add in any information or details that you just don't feel compelled to share. While your love story, how you met, things to do in town, etc. are all fun and draw guests in, they are absolutely not required. If you're hosting a destination wedding, for instance, there may be tons of information that guests will need to absorb about travel and lodging. You may want to keep everything else more streamlined so that guests can get straight to the information they need.

That said, feel free to include all of the information you couldn't fit on your invitation (or wouldn't want to include there) such as your registry, dress code information, hotel blocks, transportation information, and more.

Utilize photography

One way to make your wedding website stand out is to utilize large photos to make a big impression. If you decided to have an engagement photo session, now's your chance to finally get some eyeballs on those cute-ass photos. Otherwise, you can always find Creative Commons or stock photos that match your city, venue, or general vibe of the celebration. Flickr is a good place to snag some.

Think forest shots for your enchanted forest fairy wedding, a city skyline for your urban loft shindig, or confetti shots for your huge barn bash. Photos never hurt to make a website compelling. Plus it keeps guests from getting text blindness from big walls of information. Speaking of…

Focus on the hierarchy of information

This is a term from my graphic design education that I think is underutilized in life. It means that you're structuring your information with the most important first, biggest, and most bold. So if your date and location are the most important to your guests, that will be front and center and easily accessible. Then as you go along, you can add in your more minor details — like what to do around the city — as more secondary in the content.

An RSVP tool, for instance, might be of super importance to you, so keep it high up in the general hierarchy of the site.

wedding website with rsvp tool from joy alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Offer an RSVP

Oh yes, RSVPs! One huge bonus that I found with my wedding website vendor of choice (Joy) was their super slick RSVP collection tool. It's set up in a Mad Lib-style format, which is super fun and customizable. I was able to indicate how many guests can RSVP (just them? plus a guest? a whole family?), and also allow for “Maybe” answers, additional event RSVPs (like welcome parties, rehearsal dinners, and day-after brunches), and collection of tons more data like hotel information, food preferences, dietary restrictions, and even song suggestions.

It was also super easy to add the RSVP section to wherever I liked on the site. I can also add in guests manually (like if they call me instead of RSVPing on the site), export all of the RSVP data, and add password protection to keep randos from trying to crash all the fun.

Of course you can totally DIY your RSVPs via mail-ins or with a Google Doc or something similar, but these tools are SO useful and I don't know that I'd want to tackle the RSVP process without them myself now that I'm working with them.

Cheat with a beautiful template

Again, I have to throw a shout-out to Joy for their absolutely stunning wedding website templates. I'll admit that my first priority was finding a wedding website that looked lovely. There are lots of wedding website companies from which to choose, but not all of them offer super lovely, mobile-first designs that look modern and clean. So find one that looks great to you and feels like your vibe.

Take advantage of perks from your wedsite

If you decide to use a dedicated wedding website company to create yours, there are often perks you may not even know about on top of RSVP collection. Matching invitations, design assistance, and referral bonuses are a few perks you might find. Peep the FAQs or “Features” section of your chosen wedding website company to see what they offer.

Have you started a wedding website yet? What tips did I miss?

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Comments on 6 tips for making your wedding website useful AND stylish

  1. Congratulations on your engagement and on your dynamic website. Thanks for this post — the design does look so much nicer than a lot of other template sites I’ve seen.

    In your experience, was the RSVP tool customizable in terms of look (did you have to use their specific Mad Libs version and language or could you mix it up) and function (could you limit the number of people guests could RSVP for, could you use their RSVP tool to also send people reminders to RSVP if they don’t do it on their own)?

    And, was there any way you could add new sections that are not about bridal party or the traditional sections they list, such as “theme” (so we can explain the weird/fun/offbeat elements) and “values” (so we can explain how we are planning the wedding as a way to honor not just our relationship but our community of chosen family, and how our feminist and social justice values will be structurally built into a variety of wedding elements)?

    You’ve probably seen a gazillion wedding website options, so I’m wondering if there were any functional options you missed, that other sites have? I am basically trying to weigh how much we want the wedsite to be visually stunning like yours seems to be — that’s super appealing! — vs. whether we want to squeeze every possible bit of functionality out of the existence of the site. Any additional thoughts about Riley & Gage and other sites would be so appreciated!

    • In seeing this post, I had a lot of similar questions to what you have! It looks like Riley & Grey lets you set up and edit your website before actually paying for it and whatnot, so you can fiddle around with it and see if it meets your needs.

      What I’ve found so far is that yes, you can add other non-traditional sections (like Values and Themes), and you can remove anything you don’t want there. It looks like the RSVP section is pretty much set, though it does allow you to change the number of plus one’s a guest can bring, and add/remove sections like food allergies (this brings up a textbox where the guest can describe their dietary restrictions). I don’t think you can change the wording itself or the madlibs style, but you can fiddle with it before making a decision which is dope 🙂

      • Thanks, that’s helpful! Do you know if we can add a faq?

        Also, this post inspired me to spend a few days looking at various wedsite builders, and some of the tools that exists seem amazing, like allowing guests to communicate with each other through the website way ahead of time, which I think would be useful for my out of town guests to may not know many people, and being able to export RSVPs to spreadsheets and share those with vendors. The frustrating part is that the sites that have the most functionality don’t seem to be the ones that are the prettiest. So it seems like it’s a choice between functionality first, versus design. Still trying to figure out where to find a happy medium.

  2. This post was SO useful to me! I’ve made like, five draft wedding websites using different sites trying to find one that meets our needs while also not looking too traditional or just plain not our style. Looks like I’ve finally found something that’s a match, thanks Catherine!

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