Personal wedding Web sites allow engaged couples to share wedding details with their guests at the click of a button. A bride and groom can not only deliver important wedding information in one place and make updates at any time but also create a template that fits their artistic taste.
"WeddingWire's wedding Web sites are a simple and free way to inform your guests of wedding details as you plan your day," says Megan Hermeling, senior marketing manager for WeddingWire. "Many couples also use their wedding Web site to share their love story and fun anecdotes with friends and family who visit the site."
Matt Kelly, creator of eWedding.com, says wedding Web sites have become popular because of the growth of social media. Since developing eWedding.com in 2002, Kelly has seen the site become a common resource for engaged couples. Tech experience isn't essential to build your own site; sites offer step-by-step processes for couples to develop their own wedding pages.
"Freemium" sites, such as eWedding.com and The Knot, provide limited features for free -- for example, a boilerplate URL, limited photo uploads, a guest list and a wedding party list, according to Matt Snodgrass, senior vice president of digital marketing at Lippe Taylor. For-pay features usually include video uploads, song uploads, unlimited photo uploads, vendor lists, polls and a custom URL (your own .com).
"These 'wed sites' offer services that typically step you through a 'wizard' setup to register and fill out personalized information," Snodgrass says. "At the end of the wizard process, they get a unique URL that they can then share with family and friends."
The Knot has a "manage your Web site" feature to help couples develop their personal sites, according to Lauren Howitt, director of marketing, registry and commerce for The Knot Inc. First, choose from a selection of designs and colors. Or you can look at designer-inspired templates for ideas. A site editor aids users along the way.
"The site editor even gives the couples sample information they might like to include," Howitt says. "Plus, we also feature sample wedding Web sites from other couples to help them get ideas. Think of it as a template; you just need to fill out the information and it populates in the template."
Hermeling suggests setting up your Web site about six months before the wedding day. This way, guests will be able to make travel arrangements ahead of time. Hermeling says to post at least these items on your Web site: wedding date, location, time, dress code, hotel accommodations and transportation information.
In addition, couples can tell the story of how they met, how he proposed and how long they have been together. Introduce your bridal party. Upload photos from dating, the engagement, bridal shower, etc., according to Howitt. The Knot allows users to post at least 20 photos. Create an interactive guestbook for family and friends to leave their comments. And by creating a password, you can make sure only certain eyes see your personal Web site.
To save time and be more efficient, Howitt recommends posting links to your gift registries. Once accessing your personal Web site, guests easily can purchase their gifts directly from your registries. An online RSVP option is also helpful for guests, as they may lose their printed RSVPs.
"There are so many aspects to a wedding (maps, lodging, travel, seating, registry, honeymoon, etc.)," Snodgrass says. "Having a service provide a comprehensive list of planning considerations takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process. Plus, guests can (and do) lose their invitations. A Web page doesn't get lost."
It is easy to provide guests with information to view your personal wedding Web site. Kelly says couples send out an e-mail with the link, or some print it on their mailed wedding invitations. You even could distribute the link through social media sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
"As small details are nailed down and any changes are made, users can update their Web sites at any time with new information," Hermeling says. "These wedding Web sites are just a great way to stay in contact with your guests throughout the entire planning process."