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How to Choose the Right Wedding Website

Wedding Websites image


As you can see from our listings in this category, there is a lot of choice in the wedding websites market so it can be hard to work out which site is best for you. With a range of useful features on offer, brides and grooms who are trying to put together a wedding on a budget will want to know that the site they choose offers them the best value for money. As no two weddings are the same, it’s important to know in advance what sort of features are on offer and which of those features will be useful in planning your wedding. This buying guide aims to arm you with that information and help you choose the best site for your needs.


What are Wedding Websites?

It may seem like quite a simple question to ask, but the truth is there are a significant number of different types of wedding website out there (some of which are free of charge and some of which require users to pay subscription charges) so it’s perhaps a little more complex than you might think. Broadly there are three types of sites

  • 'functional' sites that offer a range of practical tools that will help you to plan your big day,
  • 'site builders' that offer website building services so that you can design a wedding website that is personalized to your big day and
  • 'creative sites' that offer you access to a range of features and tools that help you to develop your wedding theme and bring it to life.

Many of the sites we have reviewed in this category operate across all three of these broad categories, so you might get more than you need, but having a think about what you really require will help ensure that you choose the site that offers the best value.


What Important Wedding Website Features Should You Look Out For?

As discussed above, there are a number of features that are common to wedding websites (although not all will be featured on every site). The discussion below will help you to work out which features you really need and what to look out for when reading our expert reviews.

1. Website Building Features

One of the more popular trends of recent years is that most modern couples now opt for some kind of personalized website that they can share with their guests in advance of their wedding. As well as being a great way to share information about accommodation options, venues, gift lists and transport (to name but a few) they are also an excellent way of collecting together the photos of your big day that were taken by your guests.

  • Site Builder: The first task of a good wedding website is to make it easy to design your own personal site, through which you will communicate with your guests. Many couples will not have a vast experience in website design, and so they must look for a site that will do all the work for them. Most wedding websites include a site builder, making it very easy to create your site and add text, photos and other content. They mainly vary in terms of the amount of freedom you get with this. More freedom means a more personalized site, but also more work.
  • Templates: Most wedding websites provide a selection of templates for you to choose from, so you do not have to design your website from scratch. These will have a pre-set layout, background, color-scheme and even decorative photographs and fonts. Different sites tend to offer different styles: some are modern and stylish, others are more classic and sentimental. The best sites offer a combination of both. Some sites offer Flash templates, which are more interactive and look more professionally-designed than standard ones. Others provide standard templates with Flash headers or intros. Some sites also offer templates that have been designed to match a set of invitations provided by a separate company, which you can purchase separately.
  • Customization: How much control you have over the template varies between different sites. Many sites offer each template in a variety of color-schemes; and some allow you to exchange the pre-loaded photographs with your own. The more you can alter the look of your site, the more suited it will be to your own personality, culture and wedding theme. If you immediately find a template that suits you, you will not need to opt for a site that has a large range of options. However, if you are unsure of what design to go for and want to try out a variety before you fix on one, you would be better to go for a site with a bigger range. The number of templates available varies from a handful to hundreds, so this can be an important factor in picking a website.
  • Usability: Other than choosing a template that is attractive, your main concern should be usability. Flash templates can look impressive, but may have slow loading times. Other templates may be hard to navigate or have color-schemes that distract guests from your text and photographs.
  • Pages: Most wedding websites will give you a selection of pre-designed pages to which you can then add content. Common pages include Bride and Groom Bio's, ‘How We Met’, Honeymoon, ‘The Proposal’ and other basic information. There may also be several pages dedicated to providing information to your guests, such as the time and place of the ceremony and reception, nearby accommodation, and even up-to-the-minute weather forecasts. Some also give you the option to add extra pages. The more premium services usually offer extra features, which may sit as separate pages or be embedded into other pages, such as polls, quizzes, guest book and even a gift registry.
  • Photos and Videos: Just like all websites, wedding websites have more photos on them than ever before. Many providers will allow you to upload videos or music as well, so you can have your favorite song accompany your proposal photographs or provide samples for different songs that might be played at the reception.
  • Restrictions: Some providers put a strict limit on the number of pages you are able to add or the number of photos, videos, and other files you are allowed to upload. So if you intend to use the webpage a lot to communicate with guests, bridesmaids, groomsmen and family, you may want to go for a website that allows you to add more. Likewise, many websites place a limit on the number of photographs and songs you can upload, so look at this before you commit.
  • Hosting and Domain Names: Wherever your website is hosted, it will have a URL address. However, this may include the name of the site you are hosting with and will most likely follow one of these formulas: www.yourname.sitename.com or www.sitename.com/yourname. This may not be a problem for you, but if it is you should make sure you go with a site that gives you the opportunity to buy a personal domain name (www.yourname.com). Not all wedding websites do this. The majority offer it, but charge in the region of $15 a year for it. Some include it as standard, but do not be fooled: the cost of the domain name is already included in the membership fee. If a personalized domain name is not for you, therefore, you should make sure your site does not include it as standard.

2. Wedding Planning Features

Many of the sites we have reviewed in this category offer users access to a number of planning tools that make planning their weddings so much easier. Most brides and grooms will not have planned an event on anything like the same scale as their wedding before, so seating charts, RSVP managers, checklists, table plans and all of the other similar features on offer can be a lifesaver.

  • RSVP managers: Most wedding websites offer some degree of help with planning your wedding. At the most basic level this involves an online RSVP feature, so that guests can RSVP via your website. This updates a list you can access at any time to check how many guests have replied and are likely to come.
  • Meal Preferences: Sometimes this also involves a meal preference function, so you can see online how many people are planning to eat which dish and provide your caterers with accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Table Planning: It may also link to a seating plan, so that you can see where you have spare spaces and can re-arrange your tables if you have any unexpected changes. The best websites go beyond this, however. Some offer online task lists, 2D table arrangement plans, calendars, budget planners and other functions to help you with every imaginable task in the run-up to your big day. Although much of this is available from other sources for free, the ability to link all of these functions with your website and guest responses is a real benefit, particularly if you are doing a lot of the planning yourself.
  • Inspiration: There is so much material out there that it can be difficult to imagine being stuck for inspiration, but trust us, it does happen! Users of these sites can enjoy checking out gallery upon gallery of photos and cuttings that can help make planning even the most intricately themed wedding a total breeze. Even if you’re completely set on what you want, you’ll almost certainly still enjoy browsing through the photos!
  • Wedding Shops: A number of sites we have reviewed host in-site wedding shops that offer couples everything from wedding favours to decorations, stationery and pretty much everything else in between. Many of these online shops offer products at knock down prices or in bulk and are generally a great place to look if you’re struggling to find a particular item to complement your theme. Perhaps even more importantly, if you’re struggling for inspiration, they quite often offer packages that are built around a particular theme (say, medieval), which can help you to decide on the key things you need to make your wedding go off with a bang.
  • Additional Features: Because there is so much competition on the web, wedding websites are always expanding and adding new features to stay on top. Some sites offer online articles about everything wedding-related you could possibly imagine, from flower arrangements to bridal showers. Increasingly, sites are also including a discussion forum so that you can share stories, concerns and excitement with other couples. None of these features may be essential, but all add to a site and having everything in one place can be a real benefit.

3. Wedding Websites Costs and Fees

Many sites in this category are completely free of charge and largely rely on advertising income (and affiliate payments from on-site purchases) to generate income. These sites tend to have thriving online communities and can be excellent choices either as additional sites to use alongside subscription sites or as standalone resources (especially if you’re on a budget).

Subscription sites vary in cost considerably, but generally expect to pay around $5-10 per month (or the annual equivalent) for a premium service. Some services offer more bespoke services, however, and for these sites, you can expect to pay significantly more. Check out our reviews for pricing information for each site we have reviewed.

Each and every one of the sites we have reviewed in this category offer something different and all will help you to plan the perfect wedding. Many brides and grooms will be primarily concerned with the cost of their wedding and these sites can be a great way to manage cost – but only if the site you choose isn’t a huge additional expense! Choose a site that offers you the key features you need at the right price and we’re pretty sure you won’t know what you would have done without it! 


The Bottom Line

Wedding websites have grown greatly in popularity in recent years, as couples have realized the many advantages of communicating with their guests online. As well as creating a special way of publicizing your wedding details online, websites can provide you with a time-saving way to keep track of your guests, tasks, catering and other arrangements. Wedding websites have a number of purposes.

The first is to help you design and host a personal website where you can post information, share your excitement about your wedding and receive RSVPs. Essentially, all wedding websites will offer this. The second main purpose is to give you access to planning tools, which can help you plan budgets and seating arrangements or organize your tasks. Unfortunately, not all sites offer these, but the best are increasingly adding them to strengthen their service.

Finally, websites may offer you extra features, such as wedding-related articles, forums, online shops and even discounts to other sellers. With so many different services available and so many strong sites out there, it can be difficult to see which is offering the best service and the best value-for-money. We hope that this Buying Guide has offered some useful insights.