I received a question from one of our readers Kara who is also in the throws of wedding planning. She feels a little anti-tech savvy and needed some help designing her wedding website, here is her question:
Catharine,I have yet another post request! As you know, you are my yoda of wedding planning lol. Every time wedding wednesday rolls around I get very excited/nervous to see if I am on track or not! Lately I am obsessed with your wedding website. It is so informative and beautifully done! My Fiance and I are really wanting to make one for ourselves so our guests know where to stay and all the specifics. That being said… we are semi computer illiterate. I was hoping you could come up with a post to give some suggestions to those of use who aren’t so fantastic with the whole website thing. I would really really appreciate it! (and just in case you need a little convincing I included a picture of one of our little cherubs with his “worry” face on hoping you can help us figure out a website!)Thanks!Kara (and Fievel the cherub)
Okay Kara you definitely know my weak spot. How can I possible say no to a cherub? :) And I’m still blushing over here that you consider me your wedding yoda. I’m just learning as I go, seriously. Now when it comes down to designing your wedding website there are a few different options. You can A. have someone professionally design it for you, B. design it yourself [requires a wee bit of skill, C. use a premade template., D. use a wedding website’s wedding website. What? I know.. that sounded confusing, but is actually the easiest approach other than hiring someone. Below you will find more information about each option:
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
Pros: easy (they do all the work)
Cons: usually a little pricey
Hiring a professional to design or help you design your website is not always an option for people because it can be a little more expensive, but it will look.. well.. professional and is completely customizable to your liking. I personally offer this service to clients so if you want more information about discount pricing let me know!
USE iWEB – TEMPLATES
Pros: most of the work is done for you, you just enter the information/photos
Cons: limited to template constraints, costs a little money to host
If you happen to be a Mac user then your computer should be already equipped with iWeb. iWeb is a very simple to use web design platform for simple websites like weddings, personal portfolios, small blogs, etc. It comes with several pre-made templates for you to choose from:
They may seem a little blah at first, but they are all completely customizable allowing you to change the color of the background, text, fonts, positions of elements, tabs, you name it! But if you don’t feel very tech-savvy then by all means stick with the pre-made templates and be on your way! You can start off with a basic home page to welcome your guests and direct them to other elements of your wedding website:
Then each time you add a page you can choose from the type of template you want whether it be photo gallery, blog, videos, about, etc. And it will automatically add that new page to the navigation menu at the top of your website:
And although the template titles might be misleading you could use the “About Me” template to list all of your bridal party, your hotel accommodations, your registry, etc. Everything is totally up to you!
DESIGN IT FROM SCRATCH USING iWEB
Pros: complete control over the design
Cons: requires a little graphic design/computer skill, costs money to host
Once you get the hang of how easily the templates can be manipulated in iWeb you can start applying some basic graphic design knowledge to design your own template to your liking. Simply build everything using shapes, text, and active hyperlinks to make everything 100% custom. I usually start with the white template:
Then delete everything I don’t want, and uncheck the box to remove the navigation menu bar at the top of the page so that I can create my own buttons.
And you’ll quickly learn that these guys will become your best friends :)
The downside to to using iWeb though is that you have to pay to host it somewhere like GoDaddy or BlueHost, because iWeb is just a program to design with. You also have to pay extra if you want to have a custom domain name like www.derekandcatharine.com which runs us about $12.99/year with GoDaddy (for the host + domain name).
USE A BLOGGING PLATFORM
Pros: free (mostly)
Cons: requires a little graphic design/HTML skill, limited to the parameters of the provided templates
You also have the option of using a free blogging website like WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, Posterous, etc. but you are limited by what the template allows. Once you find a template you like you can simply download it then change all of the titles and text to include information about your big day!
I don’t recommend this route though if you lack HTML skills, it can be a little confusing, because not all templates are geared toward weddings so they will require a little tweaking.
USE A PREMADE WEDDING WEBSITE
Pros: super easy and free
Cons: limited to provided templates, categories, space, etc.
This is probably your best bet if you want a quick and easy wedding website without a lot of legwork or moola. Several wedding websites like The Knot or Wedding Channel offer free wedding websites for couples who sign up for accounts (also free).
We have an account with The Knot so they’ve automatically set us up with a wedding website, but obviously we don’t use it considering it’s totally blank. But they have very cute templates to get you started and you just fill in the information about your wedding that it asks for and voila! Wedding website done!
Personally we decided to take the custom iWeb route. I designed our wedding website from scratch starting with the “white” template, removing the navigation menu, creating all of our tabs, and making a sidebar. After that was all done I used this as my own “template” and copied and pasted all of the information onto each page and then changed the names and info on each one. You can include whatever information you want (I mean.. it’s your wedding!) but I think it’s helpful to include the following pages:
How We Met – a lot of your guests may not know much about you if you have a lot of distant relatives. This gives you a chance to introduce your story to everyone. It’s also great for stalkers like me that aren’t close enough with some of their engaged friends and want to know every detail about their wedding.
The Proposal – same goes for this section. People eat this stuff for breakfast!
Wedding Party – this is a great way to introduce everyone to your closest friends and family who will be standing up at the alter with you on your big day.
The Wedding Day – here you can include all dates, times, venues, etc. to keep everyone in the know and to avoid lots of phone calls to your mom.
Registry – it’s nice and convenient to include links to your registry here so that your guests can easily start shopping for gifts for the happy couple.
Accommodations (if applicable) – here you can either list the hotels where you have blocked rooms for your guests or help them out by listing hotels they should stay at for their convenience, especially if they aren’t familiar with the city and don’t know where to stay.
I also think it’s fun to include photos, a guestbook, a countdown, and an RSVP section if you know everyone has access to a computer. We opted out of this option because we are having our guests mail back RSVP cards and accommodate those who may not be very internet savvy.
Well I hope this at least helped point you in the right direction it really isn’t as scary as it looks, and if you need anymore help with it or if any of our readers have other suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments below!
If you’re finding yourself in a design (or wedding!) pickle shoot us an email and we’d be happy to solve your dilemmas!