Nowadays, many happy couples decide to make use of the Internet to create a wedding website.
If you are getting married, creating a wedding website can fulfil a number of useful purposes:
1. The site provides a modern, eco-friendly alternative to sending out traditional invitations.
2. The page can act as a handy “one stop shop” to provide information for all of your guests – including everything from directions to the wedding venue to details of gift lists and local hotels.
3. The site can provide the ability to upload photos and other media. Once this process is complete, the site can act as a wonderful online “time capsule” of the big day.
However, we think the best option for a wedding website is to use a dedicated wedding website tool like WeddingWindow – and that’s the platform we’re going to use for this detailed tutorial.
Here is a quick rundown of the reasons we think WeddingWindow is the best way to create a wedding website:
1. It’s free (or inexpensive): It’s possible to get started with WeddingWindow without spending any money at all. However, there are also some premium options available should you wish to unlock extra functionality or additional storage space for photographs. We strongly recommend you choose one of the premium options.
Even at the very top of the WeddingWindow range, the entire package costs just $129 for a website that remains live for two years. Compared with what you will pay for various aspects of a typical wedding this is a mere drop in the ocean!
2. Keepsakes are available: WeddingWindow allows you to download a keepsake version of your content, or to order an inexpensive CD as an alternative.
3. WeddingWindow offers extensive functionality: The people at WeddingWindow really have thought of everything. You can integrate your wedding site with social networks, export your guestlists, and even integrate with Google Maps to help people find the venue. It’s as useful as an organisational tool as it is as an interactive journal of your happy event.
How we will help you
Here at Make A Website we have developed hundreds of websites, and feel that WeddingWindow offers the perfect mix of functionality and ease-of-use for a wedding website.
We aim to get you up and running with WeddingWindow and show you the basics of putting your site together. By the time you’ve finished this tutorial, you should feel confident to add new content and progress to a more powerful premium package, should you feel the need.
What You’ll Need
You don’t need much at all to get started with WeddingWindow, but here are the basics:
- A Web browser of your choice (we prefer Google Chrome or Firefox)
- All the key details about your wedding: your venue information, your guestlist, and all the information you wish to share
- A few photos to kick off your content
- A credit card or other payment method if you wish to choose a premium package
Without further ado, let’s get started on the tutorial.
The first thing you need to do is create a free account.
1. Visit the WeddingWindow website using this link. The WeddingWindow site will open in a new window or tab so you can continue to refer back to this tutorial.
2. Click on the “Create Your Free Site” button, as shown below.
3. Fill in the requested details on the sign-up form. Then drag the requested symbol over to the circle (this is a spam-prevention measure), before clicking the “Create Free Account” button.
4. On the next screen, you will be asked to fill in the names of the bride and groom, and choose a domain name for your free wedding website. Fill in these details and then click “All Done!”
5. You are then taken to the main dashboard for your wedding website. Here it’s clear what is and isn’t included with the free package, along with the opportunity to upgrade any parts you need to at any time.
At the time of writing, it’s possible to try some premium features free of charge for a limited period.
One key thing to look at here is the available space for content, which is limited to 50MB with the free package. You will probably want to upgrade this if you wish to have unlimited space for uploading photos of the big day.
Next, let’s do a little customisation to personalise our wedding website.
Wedding Window uses a system of themes to control the basic appearance of your wedding site. You will see that, by default, our new site was created using the free “Bliss Wood” theme, but there nothing to say we have to stick to it:
1. Click the “change / modify” link beneath the theme photo.
2. You will see a whole host of alternative themes to choose from as you scroll down through the page that appears. Some are free and others are “premium” themes. These typically offer more functionality or more advanced designs.
For the purposes of this tutorial, we are going to go for the free “Bliss Floral” theme, but you can choose any that takes your fancy.
3. Click the purple “select” button under your chosen theme.
4. You are then taken to a customisation page, where you can change various elements of the theme design.
The theme changes available to you are all shown on the left-hand menu. You can change colours and fonts, and swap the dummy photos for pictures of your own (assuming you pay for the premium package).
5. Go ahead and tweak the theme options however you wish. You will find that switching between photos and suchlike is no more complicated than using a social networking site like Facebook. Once you are done, click the “Preview Site” button to see the results of your changes.
For the purposes of the tutorial, we’ve made the following changes. It’s up to you if you follow these exactly (we suspect you won’t!) or make changes of your own choice.
- Changed our theme background image to a beach picture from WeddingWindow’s built-in library. (Please note that we had to activate the ten-day “premium trial” to unlock the ability to customise pictures).
- Changed our default picture to a photo of cartoon characters, The Flintstones. (in our fictional wedding, Wilma is marrying Iron Man!)
- Changed to a cleaner font for our text and menus.
This is the outcome of the changes on our own demo site after clicking “Preview site” and switching to the “Welcome” page.
When you preview your site, you will notice that there are already plenty of pre-configured pages (such as “The Couple,” “Ceremony” and “Travel Information”) shown on the left-hand sidebar (assuming you are using a similar theme to us).
These pages start out empty so you obviously need to fill them with the correct content. That’s what we will do next.
1. From the WeddingWindow dashboard, click on the “Content” link.
2. You will see a list of all of your site’s pages. You will probably want to switch some of them to inactive if you don’t need them all. Simply un-tick the “active” checkbox for any you don’t require. You can also rename them from this page, easily change their order or activate others that are switched off by default.
3. Once you have made all your desired structural changes, click “Save Updates/Reorder.”
4. Now it’s time to start to add content. Simply click on the name of the page you want to work on to progress to the editing screen, then click the orange button that says “Add Text/Photo.”
5. You will see a simple editing screen that looks much like a simple word processor and functions in the same way.
6. Below the text editing screen, you have a box where you can upload images, resize them, and select where they appear within your page.
7. Once you’ve finished editing your page, click the “Submit Entry” button to finish work on your page.
In the screenshot below, we’ve made some changes to the “Ceremony” page. We’ve added some dummy text, and a photograph of Westminster Abbey below the content.
You now know how to add your content, change the structure of your pages, add images, and customise your theme. In your own time, you can repeat the above process to complete all of your site content.
NOTE: The Guestbook page, should you choose to activate it, works as a standalone guestbook. You cannot change the content or add apps to it. However, you can control whether comments require moderation before appearing on the site within the “Manage Pages” area of the dashboard.
Now, for the purposes of the tutorial, let’s move on and explore a few more advanced features.
Showing you every single feature of WeddingWindow is obviously beyond the scope of a tutorial article, however, here are a few key features you may choose to use on your wedding site.
Please note that most of the advanced features require you to sign up to a premium package. We would strongly recommend doing this as the packages really are good value.
When you first began adding content to your pages, you may have noticed the “Add an App” button next to the “Add text/photo” button. This button allows you to add extra functions to your pages.
The Apps selection is quite extensive:
Let’s add a Google Map to our “Travel Information” page.
1. From the dashboard, click on “Content,” then click the link to the “Travel Information” page.
2. Click the “Add an App” button.
3. Find the Google Maps app and click the “Add App” button below it.
4. Fill in the address details, and the desired size of your map, and then click the “Submit app” button.
5. If you flick back to a preview of your site, you will see the map is now in place.
Adding other apps to your wedding website is always a similar process, but the exact details you have to provide will vary.
As another example, here we are adding a Facebook “Like” box to our “Welcome” page. As you can see from the screenshot below, the options are different. The site needs to know you Facebook details and the properties of your desired “like” box, rather than an address, as was the case for the Google Maps app.
Have fun experimenting with all the free apps available as you create your pages. You can always deactivate an app on a page if you wish, so there’s no risk to a little experimentation.
Controlling the overall appearance of your wedding site is only one of the reasons to use WeddingWindow. The package also allows you to send out your invites and manage your guest list.
You will find all the related features if you visit the dashboard and then click the “Plan” link.
You will see from the screenshot below that the functionality becomes quite complex here, and what’s available to you is dependent on the exact package you choose.
You probably won’t want to use every feature available, as there’s every chance you already have some checklists and reminders in place. However, all the features are self-explanatory and easy to use.
The one feature you should try to take advantage of is the guest list and RSVP functionality. Take the following basic steps:
1. Add your guests to the guest list.
2. Create an RSVP event containing all the key information and choices available to your guests.
3. Encourage your guests to use the RSVP page on the website to send their replies, rather than paying for cards and postage.
That concludes our tutorial on WeddingWindow.
Hopefully you now have your site up and running, so you can begin to publicise the address to your friends and family. If you’ve yet to get started, we recommend you head over to WeddingWindow now and give it a try. Don’t forget that it’s completely free to get started.
IMAGE CREDITS: Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia