You need to get a wedding website!
I have only ever been to 1 wedding as guest and i'm not too sure if that’s because all of my friends hate me or if it's because i’m a wedding photographer and I love shooting weddings. Either way, I got invited to my second ever wedding as a guest recently. Well, I will be a semi guest as I am shooting part of the day and then leaving the rest to my trusted colleagues.
Although I may have only been a guest at a very limited number of weddings, I have attended and photographed thousands of them so I thought I knew all of the cool and innovative trends that exist.
However, I was wrong!
For my new semi wedding invite I received a lovely physical invitation. Wedding invitations are stunning and some of the creative ideas people like By Invitationly and the The Paper Doll create are top drawer!
However, there was an element to this invite that was new to me! A wedding website! Now yes I agree that on the surface this sounds a little nerdy and the type of thing my wife would love to create with her 1000 spreadsheets and colour coded folders. But even with my cynical opinions I can see what an amazing idea this is! When I got married I don't think these existed, or if they did I certainly wasn’t aware of them.
There are websites you can sign up to who offer the service free of charge. There is a little bit of work involved on your part but nothing someone capable of operating a washing machine couldn’t handle.
What's so good about these sites is it gives your guests the opportunity to find out all of the relevant information about your big day. This may sound like a minor detail but considering what we have all just been through with many of our clients having to postpone their big days, this provides a really easy way to communicate with all of the guests invited.
As an example, our friend who used a company called withjoy to create a wedding website, had to postpone their date in May 2020 and re arrange to 2021. Via the website we received a really nice notification, complete with personalised images Keyhole Studios had captured from their pre wedding shoot.
It detailed all of the information about the date change and allowed all of the invited guests to RSVP, giving the couple a loose indication as to how many of the guests could attend the new date.
If you are in the process of planning a wedding you will already know how difficult it is to create the guest list. Slowly a task that on the surface appears straight forward turns into a political nightmare. If you invite Aunty Brenda then you need to invite her 5 kids and their 15 children….. Any assistance you have in this nightmarish challenge is beneficial.
When using www.withjoy.com you are able to manage your guest list and organise all the details, collecting RSVPs, tracking responses and communicate with the guests all in one place. Sure you can do this with spreadsheets and your Blueyonder account, but this just feels a little more straight forward and consolidated.
If you have been to a wedding fayre you will have a sense of how costly invitations are. Don’t get me wrong, there is a reason for this as many of them are beautifully crafted and hand made. Expectations are that you will create a save the date invite, a wedding invitation and finally a thank you card.
A save the date invite is the first invitation you send to your guests, so once you and your fiancé have spent the month arguing over who to invite and created a guest list, you then need to send a formal invitation requesting the guests presence at your wedding.
For our wedding at Carden Park we sent these around 18 months prior to the wedding, our thinking being the sooner the guests have the date in their diary the sooner we will get confirmation of their attendance and be able to confirm our final numbers.
The tricky part to this flawless plan is not all your guests respond. You may get comments such as ‘Yeah, we should be fine, I’ve just got to check with work.” Or “Grand, looking forward to it, it just depends if we can get someone to look after the kids.”
These are all valid reasons for not knowing if you can attend one of the most important days in a close family or friends members life, but for you and your fiancé it's a logisitcal nightmare contacting all your chosen guests to get a RSVP.
So that’s another great thing about these wedding websites, not only do you save the moment on your save the date invite but you get to manage the communication through one central portal.
Personally I love physical wedding invitations and although you can send them through these websites, I would encourage you to send a physical invite along with a digital one. The physical invite is something guests hold onto for life and is a lovely reminder of the special day. The digital invite allows your guests to return dietary requirements, details such as accommodation can be included, questions about rehearsals can be sent to selected guests and you can easily send announcements and reminders.
You can design and send matching physical and digital invites so there is consistency throughout.
One of the main reasons we all get married is of course the wedding gifts….. This is another reason why these sites are great! No longer do you have worry about receiving toasters and bags of multipurpose compost. You can create digital gift lists and detail specific items. More and more common is couples requesting monetary donations and this can be done via PayPal through these sites. This provides an easy bridge to what can be a difficult request and also eliminates the requirement for a wedding post box full of money at your venue!
After the wedding we present all of our wedding photos on a personal online gallery which allows the couple to browse their images, hide selected shots they don’t want to share and then pass the link to the gallery to friends and family. If you have a wedding website, it's easy to create mass messages that goes to all guests with the gallery from your wedding! This is fantastic, because how many times have you been to a wedding and not seen the images? This way everyone gets to experience your special day afterwards and save images to cherish.
www.withjoy.com is free to use and the process of setting a site up is easy. There are of course alternatives and platforms such as The Knot & Wix offer web building platforms. However, the specifically built offerings seem to present an easy, modern way of inviting and managing your guests.
We think it's a great idea and anything that lightens the load for a couple on the lead up to their wedding is a good thing!
For more information about our wedding photography & film, visit us at Keyhole Studios or call us on 0151 708 7077 to arrange an appointment. You can view our fleet of wedding cars at Keyhole Motors. You can view all of our blog posts by clicking here.