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Build a wedding website

If you build it, they will come

for The Brooklyn Paper
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You have ironed out a bunch of imperative planning details — you’ve booked a venue, hired a caterer and photographer, taken engagement photos, and scaled down your guest list — now what?

Time to send out your save-the-dates, which are fun, informal, personalized little announcements that need to pack a lot of information such as important wedding day details, registry information, and provide out-of-town guests with travel and entertainment suggestions.

And how the flip are you supposed to include all that info on a tiny save-the-dates?

Simple. Just add a link to your wedding website.

Many couples are building customized wedding websites as a means of simplifying the process between wedding planning and wedding execution.

A site dedicated to your big day eases anxiety during your next phase of wedding planning by allowing you to manage your guest list (guests can RSVP online), share all pertinent information in one place, and make announcements regarding last-minute changes. Plus, guests who don’t know each other can become acquainted via comment threads on your site, and you can even send out invitations directly from your website and save a tree or two.

Sold? Great! Now here are a few things to keep in mind while carving out your little romantic corner in cyber space:

Should you really build?

First and foremost, decide whether you actually need a wedding website. If your wedding will be an intimate affair (generally 30 guests or less) and all your guests live nearby, building a site may become a time-killing task rather than a time-saving tool. Keep in mind however, that a wedding website provides several additional benefits other than sharing information. It can serve as a digital photo album that all your guests can easily access. It can also serve as a keepsake. Wedding builder sites such as eWedding will let you keep an offline copy of the site as a memento. Plus, you can share the story of how you met, the sweet story behind the proposal, and eloquently explain why (and give guests time to digest that) cell phones will be banned the ceremony.

Get started early

If you have decided that a wedding website is the way to go, set up the site six months before the wedding, so you (and your guests!) have time to plan for peripheral events such as bachelorette parties, meet-and-greet brunches, rehearsal dinners, bridesmaid skydiving excursions, or in-law hot air balloon rides.

Keep it simple

Just use your name and your to-be’s as the web address, like “RobinandAlex.com.” If you both have common names and the URL you want is already taken, add something simple at the end such as “towed,” “wedding,” or “tietheknot.”

Be prepared to repeat yourself

Don’t expect people to remember you have a website. You need to remind guests during any and every opportunity — and don’t get annoyed if you have to give or repeat the URL numerous times (hence a simple URL). Include your wedding website URL on save-the-date cards, invitations, and mass e-mails so everyone knows where to get the latest 411.

Decisions, decisions

There are many wedding building sites available. The Knot, Wedding Jojo, or Glo are just a few popular options. Most have a free trial so if you have some unexpected time on your hands, try out a couple of these sites and see if one of them strikes your fancy. Features may vary from site to site, but they all usually include an online RSVP option, the ability to upload photos, and the ability to customize your domain name.

Pimp your site

You checked out a few wedding building sites, but couldn’t find one that offered all the features you want to include. Consider hiring a web designer who can deck out your site with all the bells and whistles. When you factor in the price of maintaining you wedding website on a building site, there may not be much of a difference in cost. Plus, if you hire a professional to design your wedding website to your exact specifications, you will capture the essence of your love story in a truly unique way.

Build bridges

If you provide a little more detail on your site, it can help distant relatives and guests feel closer to you as a couple, and make your wedding a truly interactive and inclusive experience for everyone. For instance, post a wedding party roster that includes names and photos of your maid of honor, best man, ring bearer, and other integral members of your wedding party. This will make your select circle feel all warm-and-fuzzy and gives out-of-towners, such as your college roommate, a chance to pick your mom out of the crowd and offer a congratulatory squeeze. You can also blog your wedding planning experience and include silly photos of you and your partner.

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