When you’re planning a wedding, you’ll quickly learn everyone has an opinion on how you should do things. Your parents. Your partner’s parents. Your postman. Me. (Hello.)
Googling for a simple answer will bring up a hundred thought pieces on why your wedding needs to have something – a phone ban, a confetti ban, a complaining about the bans ban – and a hundred more on why those thought pieces are unforgivably wrong.
It’s overwhelming. It’s hard to know if you’re making the right choices for your wedding when everyone gives you conflicting advice – whether you ask for it or not. So I want to reassure you there’s no such thing as a wrong choice for your wedding. Whatever you do, whatever you wear, whoever you invite, at the end of the day, you’ll be married – and that’s the only bit that matters.
The little decisions don’t matter in the bigger scheme of things. Doing something – or not doing something – won’t wreck your wedding.
Except this one. Here are seven reasons why you need a wedding website, or your wedding will be ruined forever*.
* This is obviously a (terrific) joke. You do you!
Your friends are idiots
I mean this in the most loving way possible but, well, you know your friends. And your cousins – just think what your cousins are like! Muppets, the lot of them!
Pictured: your friends. Henson Productions
It’s not just them (sure, Uncle Jeremy’s in a league of his own, but…) people in general just aren’t good at remembering exact addresses and GPS directions and times.
You know, the things you don’t want them mucking up on your wedding day.
The things you don’t want panicked phone calls about ten minutes before your ceremony because your Uncle Jeremy lost the invitation somewhere back in Tooting, and he has no idea how to get to your venue. (And of course you wouldn’t think to phone anyone else, Jeremy! Jeez!)
Wedding websites make things easier for everyone. Your guests can get the details they have infuriatingly forgotten about your wedding anywhere, any time. No phoning you on the day. No asking you questions you’ve already answered on their invitation. (Well, less.)
Invites really do get lost in the mail
Your friends aren’t just idiots – they’re lazy and rude as well. (Don’t blame me, I didn’t strike up meaningful life-long relationships with ‘em.)
It’s an infuriating fact of life: most people just won’t RSVP when they get a invitation through. They’ll put it off and put it off and miss your cut-off date if no one reminds them about it. (And no – the way to get round this isn’t not having a cut-off date. Caterers and venues and bar staff all need to know exact numbers. In advance. And even the Y-est of DIY weddings needs a solid idea of numbers!)
When I was planning my wedding, I used a little white lie to chase my guests up about RSVPing; I didn’t want to come across as a demanding bridezilla (‘Mell wants to ply me with food and drink for a whole day? The nerve!’), so I’d gently remind people they needed to RSVP by saying some invites had gone missing (bloody Royal Mail, eh?) and I wanted to check they’d gotten theirs.
I thought it was ingenious – the perfect alibi – until someone said no, they hadn’t received an invitation.
I was flabbergasted. Turns out things really do get lost in the mail!
Now, I have nothing against traditional paper invites. (I mean – I run a whole range of them on Gettin’ Hitched Rocks.) But let’s get real. Do you really have the up-to-the-minute address for everyone you’re inviting? Every far flung relative? Every friend from uni? Or do you have addresses your mum, or aunt, or friend-of-a-friend has given you? Addresses that might not be right when you send your invites out?
That’s what I had and, by the time I’d found that out, it was way too late to send a new invitation in the post.
Luckily, everything was on my wedding website; my paper invites were just to make the invitation feel fancy and more official. I texted (I know) my friends the link and their unique password, and they RSVP’d in the nick of time for the final caterer numbers.
Details change, stationery doesn’t
Unless you’re living in the Harry Potter universe (and if you are, please invite me there), there’s no way to change an invitation once it’s printed. You need to print a whole new one. (Or pick up a Sharpie.)
But things can change in the lead-up to a wedding. You might have to move your outdoor wedding for bad weather. You might not have all the budget-dependent details decided by the time you need to post invitations. You might need to let people know there’s a new plan.
You can update a website at any point. But when paper invitations are sent, they’re sent.
You don’t want to answer the same questions over and over (and over, and…)
People are going to ask you the same questions, over and over again. Some people will ask good naturedly, trying to prompt you into a fun, light-hearted chat about your wedding, not realising you’ve had the exact same chat eight times today and now hate the sound of your own voice. (It is a bit nasal, to be fair.)
Other people will ask you because they can’t be bothered to actually read the information you spent weeks poring over, agonising over how to get everything to fit on one eighth of an A6 card while still being helpful. And legible.
They’ll ask about the venue. They’ll ask about the parking. They’ll ask about the dress code. They’ll never stop.
Sure, you can try to tell them it’s on the invitation, but they’ll just ask you what they did with that.
Instead, you can smile and tell them it’s all on the website.
(And if they ask you about something you hadn’t thought of, you can add it in super-quick on your phone.)
No counting and re-counting numbers for chicken (painstakingly, mind-numbingly, and can’t-we-just-have-some-telly-on-or-something-dammit-I-lost-count-again-ingly)
It’s an indisputable fact: asking your friends to RSVP online just makes your life easier.
Think of all the questions you want to ask your guests – are you coming? Are you bringing a plus-one? Are you bringing your kids? What are you eating? What are your kids eating? Why are their fingers so sticky?!
With paper RSVP cards, you have to ask everyone the same questions – even if they don’t have children or sticky fingers – or else pay a fortune to get a load of different cards printed and spend weeks working out which card should go into which envelope. (Pro tip: this is an awful idea and will make you hate all of your friends.)
Then you need to wait for all the RSVPs to come back, hoping none of them get lost in the mail (or, more likely, ‘lost in the mail’). And then you need to count them. You need to sift through every response by hand, tallying up all the numbers, checking and re-checking to make sure nothing was missed… Not only does it take a lot of time, it’s boring.
And there’s no good reason to do it that way.
If you’re worried about the aesthetics of an online form, don’t. It doesn’t have to look like something made by Survey Monkey in 1999. It can look like something Survey Monkey make now – or it can even look better than something survey monkey make!
They said it couldn’t be done. They said Survey Monkey was as good as it could get. But we dared to dream!
Online forms can be just as gorgeous, on-theme, and personable as paper RSVP cards – just look at ours!
If you’re worried about people not seeing the invite as being as formal as a paper invite (and so taking the whole ‘RSVP’ thing as more of a suggestion than a requirement), why not have the best of both worlds? Send out a postcard invitation asking people to RSVP on your website. Your friends still get something exciting in the mail, but you can be confident in the exact numbers your venue needs without re-counting a stack of invites for the tenth time.
And, if you get a Gettin’ Hitched Rocks website, you can customise your website to every guest in a way that would be almost impossible with cards. (Unless you’re the world’s most detail-conscious eccentric billionaire.)
You don’t need to show your evening guests questions about what meal they’re having and hope they realise they’re not actually invited to dinner – just mark them as an evening guest and the question will never show for them! Swish!
It’s easy on the environment – and your bank account
Sure, everyone loves getting an invitation in the mail and, while you’re in the early stages of wedding planning, you might be happy to splash out on that five-piece letter-pressed, laser-cut, rose-gold-foiled, diamante-stickered, pearl-encrusted, unicorn-tear-washed invitation set to make your guests feel fancy but a) you have terrible taste and shouldn’t be allowed to post anything to your friends, and b) you’re going to regret it when your budget gets tight down the line.
Printed invitations are expensive. But what are you paying for, really? For your family and friends to stick your save the date to their fridge and put the rest of your intricate five-piece rose-gold-pearl-unicorn invitation set in the recycling bin?
Why spend the money? Why make the unicorns cry?
You could have stopped this! via GIPHY
You don’t need to; if you want to be environmentally (and unicornilly) friendly, e-vites that link to your website are a fantastic alternative. Your friends will get their invitation immediately and can go straight onto RSVP, right then, while they have the time. (They probably won’t but there’s a much better chance, at least.)
Or, if you still want to send out something so your guests (especially grandparents and particularly old school etiquette minded aunts) can get excited about receiving your invitation, a postcard with the address of your website is a terrific compromise. It doesn’t cost nearly as much as a full, fussy, five-piece invite – and one card is much better for the trees than five – but everyone still feels they’ve been invited to an occasion.
There’s not a good reason not to have a wedding website
If over-the-top headlines written by baby boomers, angry and confused to discover they’re no longer twenty-four, have taught me one thing, it’s that people are always online these days. (If they’ve taught me two things, it’s that I could afford a house if I stopped my occasional indulgence into avocado toast, though I’m still fuzzy on how.)
A website is the easiest, fastest, most reliable way to give your friends and family the information they need to know.
And if you’re iffy about putting your wedding day information online for anyone to see – don’t. That’s a stupid idea. Don’t do it even if you’re not iffy about it.
Your wedding website should have a password that your guests have to put in, so no Owen Wilson-wannabes (or, worse, exes) can see the details of your day.
At Gettin’ Hitched Rocks, everyone you invite has a unique password which we use to customise your wedding website for them, welcoming them by name and showing them just the content you want them to see. (Last pitch, I swear.)
No The Graduate-style exes allowed. (Or any other style, when it comes to it.)
Wedding websites just make your life easier. They’re cheaper than paper invites, easy to update when you need to, and I-know-I-put-that-invitation-somewhere-proof.
Check out our sexy and amazing demo here. (Okay, that was the last pitch.)
And, if you want more advice on how to plan a stress-free wedding, check out our free email series.