Roughly 75 percent of engaged couples now create a wedding website, according to 2012 data from TheKnot.com. Wedsites act as an online repository for all the pertinent details about the big day, everything from date and location to hotel information to registries. They’re a helpful information hub for guests, and can help cut back on the onslaught of texts, emails and phone calls from curious friends and family members.
As we covered in a previous blog post, several essential elements go into designing an effective wedding website. Increasingly, couples are choosing to go beyond the basics to create interactive sites that offer friends and family a unique user experience. A growing assortment of tools, widgets and plug-ins can make your wedsite stand out from the rest. Check out the list below, all of which are free and compatible with a Jimdo website:
Note: It's really easy to install these tools on your own website. For more information on widgets and installation instructions, check out our post 20 Widgets to Improve Your Website.
Tools and ideas to make your wedding website even better
PollsPlanning a wedding means making dozens of decisions ranging from the small details (like picking a first dance song) to the big-ticket items (like choosing a venue and ceremony location). Save yourself some anxiety by crowd-sourcing answers to some key decisions. Include a poll where guests can vote for the first-dance song, wedding-party entrance music or even meal choices. PollSnack, Poll Maker and EasyPolls are all good options.
TimelineMany couples include an “About Us” section that describes who they are, how they met and how their relationship evolved. Make your story interactive by creating an embeddable, scrollable timeline with text, photos and even video. Try Dipity, Tiki Toki or TimelineJS.
Online CountdownBuild excitement—and remind guests how quickly your wedding is approaching—by installing a countdown clock. Try Time and Date, Counting Down To, TickCounter, or Online Countdowns. Gif Countdown even takes users’ time zones into account.
Guest BookMany of your friends and family will want to share a special message or wish with you ahead of the wedding. Others may have questions to ask. Create an online guest book that allows you to receive and respond to messages publicly. Bravenet or Brolmo are both good options.
ForumsYour guests may also want to interact with each other via an online forum. This feature could be helpful for helping guests arrange car pools, share tips on what to do in the area, or just get to know each other before the big day. Try Muut, Tal.ki or Nabble.
DirectionsRemember that many of your guests will be coming from out of town, and won’t know their way around. Help them navigate to key locations like the rehearsal dinner restaurant, ceremony site and reception hall by embedding a Google Map.
Weather ForecastHelp guests pack and dress appropriately by including a weather forecast widget. Some widgets will even feature multi-day forecasts, such as Accuweather, Forecast and TheWeather.com.
Song Request FormThe music your DJ or band plays sets the tone for the reception. Will your guests sit around at their tables looking bored? Or spend the night grooving on the dance floor? Ensure it’s the latter by installing the Freak Music widget, which lets guests like or dislike songs on your playlist, or suggest their own song.
Pinterest BoardMore and more couples are using Pinterest to visualize the look and feel of their perfect wedding, “pinning” photos of flowers, decorations, centerpieces and more to their virtual wedding board. Help guests share your vision by installing a Pinterest board widget. You can even create a group board so that guests can recommend flowers, hair styles, dresses and more. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to take their advice!)
RSVP FormAccording to TheKnot.com, the average couple spends $443 on invitations. Save money and paper by creating an online RSVP form. RSVPify allows users to create an online RSVP form that’s embeddable on your own website.
Social Media StreamsMany couples create a hashtag to promote social-media sharing on the big day—typically, some clever combination of the bride and groom’s first and last names. Embed a Twitter or Instagram feed that will capture all your guests tweets and photos that are tagged with that hashtag. It’s a great way to crowdsource candid photos, and it gives your guests the ability to look back on all the fun they had at your reception. Or, if you want all guests to see social-media sharing in real time, try Eventstagram. The tool lets guests snap photos using Instagram and tag them with a hashtag. All the photos are then streamed on the Evenstagram website and broadcast through a projector or TV screen at your reception.
Photo SharingRemember that you don’t need to shut down your wedding website as soon as you say “I do.” Use it as a place to share photos from the rehearsal dinner, wedding, honeymoon and more. Create an online photo gallery or slideshow using Wow Slider, Quick Gallery or Juicebox. Let your guests know that they can check your website for photos by including the URL in your thank-you notes.
It will take some time to create the perfect wedding website, complete with interactive features and tools, but remember that it’s well-worth the investment. A robust wedsite can ultimately cut back on costs, answer the steady of stream questions from friends and family, and help ensure that you and your guests have a great experience—one that you can look back on through social media stream and photo albums.
Do you have a wedding-related widget, tool or plug-in that you would recommend? List your favorites in the comments section below.
Sarah is a freelance writer based in Silver Spring, MD. Her work has also appeared in Popular Science, Audubon, OnEarth, GOOD, Grist.org, Inhabitat.com, and several other publications. When she's not creating compelling online content, Sarah enjoys reading, cooking, watching bad reality TV, and pampering her dog, Clancy.