We all love technology—it’s so much easier to send a text than make a call… so much quicker to send an email than to hand-write a letter (does anyone even do that anymore?) But when it comes to your wedding, there’s a fine line between embracing technology and social media and keeping your poise and grace as an elegant, distinguished bride-to-be. Wedding websites are an invaluable tool, and they can be an integral part of planning your big day, but it’s becoming just as important to understand wedding website etiquette as it is to have basic table manners. You want to be yourself, express your personal style, and communicate the vibe of your event with the look and feel of your website, yet you have to understand the accepted rules. Feel free to break them—that’s up to you— but it is important to know what they are.
Photos by One One Photography
1. DO Inform Guests but DON’T Define Unrealistic Expectations
How you decide to do your wedding website wording can be crucial. We don’t want to overload you with wedding website tips, but it’s important to have an understanding of some of the basics before you create your site and share the link with family and friends. Wedding websites are ideal for planning, organization, and sharing information between the couple-to-be, bridal party, and invited friends and guests. It’s a great way to communicate updates, provide basic details, and convey essential information, but it’s always a good idea to make your suggestions sound like guidelines rather than rules. If you’re having a destination celebration, use your website to provide valuable information in regards to travel arrangements, lodging, itineraries, and pre- and post-wedding events such as rehearsal dinners and day-after brunches. On the other hand, if you’re throwing a hometown affair where most of your guests are traveling locally, don’t overload your site with inordinate details. In this case, it’s likely that most of your guests will only check out your site to see what photos you’ve posted, get information on where you’ve registered, or seek out directions to and from the venue.
2. DO Provide Dress Code Suggestions, but DON’T Tell Them What to Wear
Unless you’re a Kardashian and you expect everyone attending your nuptials to show up in white, it’s a good idea to provide suggestions without dictating what your guests should wear to your event. Letting your guests know what to wear is extremely important in two scenarios: you’re having a destination wedding on a tropical beach or you’re throwing a black-tie affair with some high expectations. It’s perfectly fine to let your guests know what to expect and give them guidelines on what they might be most comfortable wearing. You should never lay down the law or make them feel as though they might be turned away at the door if they’re not in the proper attire. If you’re having a celebration on the beach, let the women know that it’s okay to wear a short dress, go barefoot, or rock a pair of flip flops. The men should know that they’re not expected to wear a three-piece suit. A simple button down shirt and a pair of khaki pants may suffice. Conversely, if you’re having a five-star affair in a grand ballroom, let your guests know that tuxedos and full-length gowns are suggested (and recommended).
3. DO Give Guests Some Background Information, but DON’T Write a Novel
If you’re looking for wedding website ideas and don’t know what to focus on first, let us give you one crucial piece of advice—provide lots of information but don’t write a novel. If you've invited relatives, distant cousins, and co-workers who only know the bride or the groom, you may want to include a short and sweet story of how you met, how your relationship developed, or how you got engaged. What you shouldn’t do is write a lengthy story about every date you’ve had, every trip you’ve taken, and every special moment you’ve shared. Select just one or two personal anecdotes that have special meaning and write only about those. In this situation, less is more! Most people with access to your wedding website will already know your story, so keep it brief! This is the perfect opportunity to include candid shots from when you were dating or professional engagement photographs. In the age of social media, your guests are much more likely to scan through photos than read pages upon pages about your life together to this point.
4. DO Include a Registry
Most people who know a thing or two about wedding website etiquette will tell you that it’s uncouth to add your registry info to your formal invitations – and for the most part, they’re right. Registry info is expected to appear upon a bridal shower invitation – and that’s precisely where it belongs. But if you’re a modern bride who’s spending hours creating a site and packing it full of information down to every last detail, it may make sense to include this info. The details of your registry should never be a main focus or a featured page on your site. Add this info in subtly…a brief mention of the stores you’ve registered at or links to your online registries are sufficient. Remember to keep the focus on the bride, the groom, and the celebration itself. After all, you’re not getting married for the gifts, are you?
5. DON’T Include Exclusive Bridal-Party-Only Events
There is absolutely no need to make second-string friends and relatives feel even worse about your plans than by flaunting all the bridal-party-only events you’re hosting and not inviting them to a part of. At some early point in the planning of your wedding day, you’ll need to invite your bridal party to take part in your special day. But we all have at least one or two friends or cousins that come close to making the cut but just don’t make the final lineup. Don’t make those people feel any worse. If you can avoid flaunting the details, the photos, and the timelines of your bridal-party-only events, you should. A wedding website can be a stylish, personal, and cost-effective way of sharing information about your upcoming event. If every auntie and out-of-town cousin has to call you for updates and information, you may go crazy. But if you have a site that you’re managing, updating, and sharing on social media, you can save yourself from non-stop texts and emails as well as endless hours on the phone.
We have but one last suggestion to help you make sure you’re following the proper protocol for wedding website etiquette. While we’re always willing to break the rules and bend tradition, proper etiquette dictates that you never, ever list your web address on your formal invitation! Yes, you have to spread the word and let friends, relatives, and guests know that you’ve taken the time to create your unique website—but it’s much more tactful to include a link to the site on your save the date cards than on your actual invitation. A wedding website is a great way to communicate your plans and get people excited about your big day in advance. Choose fonts and colors that coordinate with your theme, complement your bridal party colors, and exude your unique personality and distinctive sense of style!
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