Have a really good think about it;
if you decide to communicate EVERYTHING about your wedding to ALL of your guests in person, on the phone or via snail mail (save the dates, invitations, RSVPs etc.) you are handing over a LOT of your precious time.
And we know that there are at least a dozen other (read: fun) things that you would rather be doing than licking envelopes, chasing RSVPs or having repeated, lengthy calls with his family about their interpretation of the semi-formal dress code.
Here are what some of the cooler wedsites (wedding websites) now offer soon-to-be-weds at a pretty low price or in some cases, for FREE!
RSVPs - some sites offer the ability for your guests to RSVP online. It saves you time, money and energy to not have to track them manually. You can also easily check to see who hasn't responded by your cut-off date and include specifications for dietary needs and special access (wheelchair etc.) requirements or song requests to get your guests on the dancefloor.
Gift registries - let your guests know where you are registered (for specific gifts, experiences or even cash), if you are having a wishing well or would prefer donations to a charity and when and how they can contribute.
Directions - tell your guests where to go (in the nicest possible way) to the engagement party, bridal shower, hen's do, buck's show, rehearsal, ceremony, reception, after party or recovery breakfast using online maps and links.
Accommodation - your out of town guests will appreciate being given some recommendations on where is good (quality-wise and geographically) and this is a great place to put some links to any reservations or special deals you may have already arranged.
Dress Code - are you having a black tie affair or a more relaxed vibe? Let your guests know.
Child Care - if some of your guests have kids, they will appreciate finding out about group babysitting or creche services in advance.
Guest Book - a section for your guests to leave their best wishes, photos and videos.
Your Couple Story - you can share photos, stories or a timeline of how you met.
Introduce Your Bridal Party - there is a good chance that the reason you chose your fabulous bridal party in the first place is because they're amazing people - so clue your other guests in on it too! You can include photos, bios, their most embarrassing moment, how you met, their favourite icecream flavour or how long you've been friends for. Remember that some of your guests may not have met all of your bridesmaids or groomsmen - it can be a smart way to break the ice before the wedding day.
Photo uploads - a secure (read: no immediate public humiliation) spot for your guests to upload photos they take of the planning, pre-wedding parties and the wedding itself for everyone to be able to share regardless of their social media involvement.
You've convinced me, now where do I start?
Here are some of the leading wedding websites with grown up and sleek templates (rather than the ones that will rot your teeth with a sickly sweet colour scheme or waaay too many pics of white doves and interlinked wedding rings!):
Best part: Your personalised wedding website and app has every piece of information you (and your guests) will ever need at the click of a button. You can change your design scheme at any time and keep it active for as long as you need. Features include: video + photo cover page, guest list manager, RSVP manager, family group option, +1 capability, travel concierge and photo sharing.
Cons: Ummm, when I think of one, I will let you know..
www.appycouple.com - Appy Boutique $59AU (1 time fee) / Appy Luxury $159AU (1 time fee)
Best part: They provide free wedding websites that integrate with your international cash wedding registry, gift list, honeymoon registry, honeymoon gift list or charity gift list. The websites are customisable and mobile responsive. Zankyou collaborates with Greenpeace so that you can set up funds to donate towards protecting the environment with a green registry.
Cons: Their designs are focused on function rather than aesthetics.
zankyou.com - FREE
Best part: the iOS and android app, being able to control Facebook and Instagram sharing of your photos and handy guest notifications, for those who are a little slack with their RSVP.
Cons: The interface can be a little slow to load, but all things considered (i.e. FREE!) it seems to be an amazing service.
www.withjoy.com - FREE
Best part: The biggest number of free unique website designs by independent artists. Many designs can be complemented with the matching printed invitations.
Cons: The Minted interface is a bit slow which can get a little painful and after the first year of the premium service, your custom URL can be renewed for a fee. But apart from that I'm having trouble finding things to complain about - seems to be a great service..
www.minted.com - FREE up to $20US for premium
Best part: How intuitive and functional their platform is plus their modern templates and designs.
Cons: As Squarespace websites aren't purpose-built for weddings, they are more of a one way communication tool rather than an interactive space for all of your guests.
www.squarespace.com - FREE 14 day trial, then $16AU per month (if paid annually for the Personal plan)
Best part: Fairly easy to use and tweak things as you go.
Cons: Their designs are not as slick as Joy, Appy Couple or Minted.
www.wix.com - FREE to $8.50US per month (paid for year) on Combo plan
Which wedding website are you using and how has it been received by your guests? Please let us know in the comments below!