More brides informing guests with wedding websites

November 7, 2011

By CARYN ROUSSEAU
Associated Press
With friends and family headed to her California wedding from all over, bride-to-be Carrie Shields decided online organization was key.
“Really the wedding website was one of the first things we did,” the 32-year-old public relations director from San Diego said. Shields is marrying fiance R.J. Jones, 36, who was born and raised in Wales. Their April wedding in Napa Valley comes four years after they met through friends.
“I knew people were going to have a lot of questions about what to do and how to get there,” Shields said. “I wanted to make it fun and personal. I kind of jumped right on things because people were traveling so far.”
Wedding experts at TheKnot.com and its partner WeddingChannel.com say this year’s annual survey found 64 percent of brides now have a website to share details with guests about ceremony and reception logistics, registry information and travel accommodations. Web companies exist that allow couples to host wedding sites for free while others charge a fee for access to fancier templates and tools.
Experts at WeddingWire.com recommend that couples launch their website at least six months before the wedding date to give guests as much information as early as possible. That allows enough time to make travel arrangements. WeddingWire also offers other online tools, including a program that lets guests RSVP directly from the website.
Carley Roney, editor and founder of TheKnot.com, said her site and WeddingChannel.com together host more than 500,000 wedding websites for couples.
“It’s a simple, easy way of communication,” Roney said. “It’s really like going to the website for a restaurant or a concert event. Everything is in one place.”
That’s why more wedding website addresses are appearing in fancy fonts on the bottom of printed invitations.
Some sites let couples upload music or an audio track of their voices, video, animated graphics, or polls asking guests what songs to play or which appetizers to serve.
To personalize her website, Shields added a “glossary” of Welsh and American words, and photos of the 20-member wedding party.
Couples who choose WeddingChannel.com to host their websites can choose from templates by high-fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier and Vera Wang.
“You still want to make the investment in it to make it uniquely you,” Roney said. “Just like you do on the wedding day.”
Roney offers three tips for setting up a wedding website:
1 -- Don’t assume your audience is only younger friends, and remember your etiquette. “You want to keep things ‘wedding and older people friendly,’” Roney said. “You don’t want to go on and on forever. You don’t want to put things like, ‘please ship our gifts to.’ Some of the etiquette that is wrong for wedding invitations is wrong for this too. To be making specific demands of your guests isn’t appropriate.”
2 -- Include your registry information. According to TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com survey, about 61 percent of guests find out where a couple is registered from their wedding website ‚Äî a figure that has grown from 47 percent in 2008. “It really is becoming the absolute de facto way that guests are going to find out where you’re registered,” Roney said. “It used to be that brides were worried it was tacky, but it’s simply not tacky. It’s how it’s done now.”
3 -- Get the word out. Don’t just create and publish the website and assume everyone knows it exists. “Send the information directly to your guests,” sometimes more than once, Roney said. “You can’t assume that something you put on your website was acknowledged by all.”
© 2010 The Associated Press.

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