Your wedding is about you and your future bride or groom. Of course, as you’ve probably already discovered, there are a lot of other people involved as well. Family and friends from around the world (and across multiple time zones) will want and need wedding information on an on-going basis. Keeping up with everything can be a challenge.
My wife and I just recently celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary. Back then at the time of our wedding I remember thinking that how great would it be if we had a wedding website, but I gave up that idea as I didn’t know how make one. If I only knew then what I know now. Hopefully this blog post will show you how relatively easy and affordable it is to create a site about you and your future wife or husband.
One popular option for many couples is to create a wedding website. This site can serve a variety of needs from the engagement until after the honeymoon. Generally, couples use a wedding website as a:
- place to showcase photographs
- way to communicate information about the wedding
- gift registry
- way to capture RSVP’s
- and more
Setting up a wedding website is pretty easy, even if you’re not particularly internet-savvy. Plus, a wedding website can really save you a lot of time. By posting the answers to common questions directly on your site, you can provide an easy source of information for your guests.
Of course, probably every family has at least one member who needs to be told the same thing a million times – but a wedding website can still significantly reduce the number of questions you’ll have to deal with.
Here below is a step-by-step guide on how to make a wedding website.
- 1 How to Name Your Wedding Site
- 2 Hosting Your Wedding Site
- 3 Installing Your CMS
- 4 Selecting a WordPress Wedding Theme
- 5 Adding Content to Your Wedding Site
- 6 Setting up Your Email Accounts
- 7 Checking that Your Site is Live
- 8 Setting up a Wedding Registry
- 9 Connecting to Social Media
- 10 Is a Wedding Website for You?
How to Name Your Wedding Site
Your site will need a name which your guests can remember. Typically, your best bet is going to be you and your partner’s last names. Let’s face it, not everyone who uses the site is going to be necessarily very familiar with the internet, so you want a site which they can easily find.
Along those lines, you probably want to link your site to your Facebook page. If someone has difficulty finding your site, they can still probably find your Facebook page.
You can use any commercial domain name provider and purchase whatever available domain name you desire. However, usually a better way to obtain a domain name is to use a hosting provider which provides a free domain.
Using a host to set up a domain name is usually the easiest and fastest way to get up and running (see next section)
Hosting Your Wedding Site
One host we recommend is Bluehost. They’re low cost, reliable and offer free domain names. For wedding websites, we like Bluehost’s pricing options. You’re probably not going to keep your site up for years and years. With Bluehost you won’t be locked into a long-term contract you don’t need.
Check out our step-by-step guide on how to sign up with Bluehost
Change Your Name Server
The hosting company needs to connect your domain name before your website can go live. You’ll need to point the name servers of your domain to the host. Don’t worry – most of the work is done automatically.
You’ll locate details in the registration email sent from the host. They’ll send two name servers to you, which will look like xxxxx.hostname.com. Locate your domain name within your account, and then look for something like Transfer DNS. This is where you enter your name server. It can take up to 48 hours for your hosting company to recognize your domain. This is called “propagation.”
If you buy hosting with Bluehost then you get a free domain name and you don’t have to worry about changing nameservers
Installing Your CMS
A wedding website without content is like a wedding without a dance floor. People will show up, but there’s not much for them to do once they arrive.
In order to publish your content on your site you need a Content Management System. WordPress is probably the most popular CMS out there, and it’s probably what you want to use. It’s simple enough for beginners but complex enough that you can really customize your site.
Customizing the look of your website isn’t terribly complicated, and it’s really something you should consider. Ideally, your family and friends will visit your website often. Why not take some time, sit down with your loved one and design a site which truly reflects the two of you? You’ll be creating more than just a website – you’ll be creating a memory.
Selecting a WordPress Wedding Theme
Once you’ve selected your content management system, you can now build your website. The WordPress dashboard is where you’ll actually add and edit pages. To get to the dashboard, simply follow the instructions WordPress will send you.
The theme is the overall look of the website. You select a theme by selecting Appearance & Themes. There are free and paid options. While the free ones are nice, they’re also pretty basic and common looking.
You don’t have to design a look from scratch in order to have a look all your own. There are many popular sites with themes specifically for weddings. We like some of these wedding themes from themeforest.net.
Adding Content to Your Wedding Site
After you’ve selected a theme, it’s time to add content. Go to the Pages tab and edit the content on your home page. You can then add more pages as you wish. Here is some of the content you might want to add:
- Details about the time and place of the wedding
- Information about hotel accommodations and routes to and from the airport
- Photographs. What’s a Wedding Website without a bunch of photos? Besides the wedding, you can include photos from the engagement, the rehearsals and even the honeymoon
- Whatever else you like. The more content you provide, the more visitors to your site will feel like they’re a part of your wedding
Setting up Your Email Accounts
Your web host will likely offer a free email service. You can create a custom email associated with your domain. You’ll also likely have an Email Accounts section on the dashboard where you can create new accounts and read messages.
You might want to associate two email addresses with your domain name. You can give one email address to your friends and family, so they can contact you directly. Then you can give another email address to people you’re dealing with in a professional capacity, such as a florist, a caterer and so on. This can help keep you organized during what’s often a pretty frantic time.
Checking that Your Site is Live
Once you’ve got your content up (or at least started for now) and you’ve selected the perfect theme, you need to make sure your site is online. Most likely, you’re already good to go. Still, you want to type your address into a browser (or several different browsers) just to make sure your site is displaying properly.
If your site doesn’t load, your first step is to update your domain nameservers. If you’re not sure how to do that, or if you think there might be a different problem, contact your web host for specialized help.
You want to launch your site at least a few months before your wedding. Your guests will want info about travel and hotel arrangements as soon as possible. After the wedding, you should probably leave the site up at least until you can post some pictures from your honeymoon vacation.
Setting up a Wedding Registry
You can list wanted right items on your website, but that’s just the start. You may also be able to help your guests shop virtually for your wedding gift. Many stores offer an online registry where your guests can purchase a wedding gift without leaving home.
Connecting to Social Media
Whether you want people to or not, they’re going to turn to social media for information on your wedding. Most websites will let you easily embed your Facebook, Twitter and other social media profiles.
As far as social media posts, you can always direct people towards your website. Another idea you might want to try is to create an email list of your guests. When you have new information on your website, you can use your email list and social media profile in order to send out a notification that your wedding website has new content.
You won’t be able to escape social media, but you might want to consider keeping the bulk of your wedding talk on your website. Your social media friends might include co-workers, acquaintances and others who might not want to hear every detail of your upcoming nuptials. On your website, however, you can post as much content as you like. After all, that’s why people are visiting.
Is a Wedding Website for You?
In one word: Yes.
Large or small, most weddings will benefit from a wedding website. A website helps connect friends and family around the world. You’ll save valuable time by providing guests with easy-to-use resources for travel and logistical information. Plus, everyone can enjoy photographs and other fun stuff – even if they’re unable to attend in person.
Getting married and planning a wedding can be busy and chaotic. Fortunately, setting up a wedding website is pretty easy, even if you’re not really a computer person. After the wedding is over and the excitement settles down, your site will be a wonderful virtual souvenir you can treasure forever.