Wedding Websites – No One Has to Click Them, Right?

Once upon a time, the bride and the groom might have their own wedding website if they were web designers, wanted to cough up the dough to have someone design a wedding website for them, or they were content to muck about with a free website that wasn’t wedding-themed, but got the job done. Then came the low-cost customized wedding websites and the free (but still pretty good) wedding websites, and it wasn’t long before having a wedding website wasn’t a novelty, but something every bride and groom ought to do if they love their guests even a little bit.

Full disclosure: I made a wedding website for myself and The Beard, and I wish I could link to it but it’s nowhere to be found. We tossed up a few pics, our non-registry info, directions, and info about hotels, and then we made up a very silly how-we-met story that had people raising their eyebrows. We did not post pictures of ourselves from infancy or give lengthy bios of our wedding party or way too much personal information a la those wacky Christmas letters that let one and all know that Jimmy won his school spelling bee championship!

free wedding websites

Would Double X’s Noreen Malone have approved of our wedding website? Doubtful, considering she simply cannot stand the things.

My roommate and I spent a solid hour on the couch one evening discussing a wedding Web site we’d been sent. The people getting married were strangers, but that didn’t stop me from forwarding it to a friend or two I thought might get a kick out of it. In the months preceding their marriage you can watch the Flash slide show that explains how [Jane and Tim] met while rooting for opposing teams during a Yankees-Red Sox game as many times as you want. But that’s only if you tire of the video showing Jane and Tim lovingly washing their dog, Mr. Snuffles.

Jane and Tim have chosen to color their special story various shades of soft green, with tan accents of faux ribbons, shadowed floral flourishes, and a highly stylized fake script font. The vibe is perhaps meant to be “classy,” but it’s very hard to achieve an understated aesthetic when the message you most want to telegraph is LOOK AT ME. The main page features a black-and-white shot of Tim adoring Jane while she reciprocates with the upturned chin angle that telegraphs true, moony love, taken during the couple’s (extensive) engagement photo shoot. Visitors can choose one of several unrecognizable soft-rock songs while they browse (but no mute button option). There are a grand total of 651 pictures featured—from baby photos to Solo-cup-filled college dorm-room shots to shots of their four—count ’em—engagement parties.

Instead of being tasteful, utilitarian affairs, these sites inevitably turn into showcases for unbridled narcissism—and open the couple up to a great deal of mockery from friends and strangers alike.

Do you agree? Have you created your own wedding website or paid someone to create it for you? As for my opinion, I think they can be a tad annoying when overdone — autoplay music doesn’t belong anywhere, and I do hope that if I’m attending your wedding I at least have some notion of how you and your intended met — and there are plenty of other ways to find out where a venue is… hello, Google Maps! Still, if your wedding website sucks (which I’m sure none of yours do, natch) then all I have to do is close Firefox and never visit your URL again.

11 Responses to “Wedding Websites – No One Has to Click Them, Right?”

  1. Toni says:

    AutoPlay Music = HATE

    That said, I don’t mind wedding websites, as long as I can easily find clickable registry information, and mapquestable directions. (And just because I want the registry information to be easy to find doesn’t mean it has to be plastered on the main page. A discreet sidebar link is fine.)

    Like you said, I can always close the dang window.

    (And I’d be totally willing to link to my wedding website from 7 years ago, but I piggybacked my dad’s domain, and he’s since retired, closed his business, and shut down the website.)

  2. Melissa B. says:

    Toni, I agree. AutoPlay music is the devil. (Note to wedding photographers: stop using it. Seriously. Please.)

    I thought that article was unpleasantly snotty and hipper-than-thou. Most wedding websites *are* pretty utilitarian, at least the ones I’ve seen. Maps, hotels, registry, done. So because one couple she doesn’t even know went a little crazy, all wedding websites are “inevitably” narcissistic? And really, who’s forcing you to Google the best man and all the groomsmen just because their names are on a website? If you don’t want to arrive at the wedding creepily prepared to hunt down the most successful single guys, then … don’t. The website isn’t forcing you to do anything, including spend hours of your life mocking perfect strangers.

  3. Twistie says:

    I’ve been known to go searching the internet for personal wedding sites just for giggles to see what people are doing… though now that I think of it, I haven’t done that in quite a while. Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to take another look.

    Anyway, AutoPlayMusic is why I always keep the sound off on my computer unless I’m specifically checking out something I would like to hear. That way even if there is no mute button, my ears are not assaulted by tinny versions of soft rock tunes from my childhood or faux Mozart filtered through a low-rent version of PDQ Bach.

  4. AmazonPrincess says:

    I set something up at wordpress for ours. It’s still in the works, but I’ve put up a little “how-we-met” story since our families don’t really know the story. Also I’m planning on putting up pictures of our attendants, so people will know who is who because I’m not wasting precious printer ink on programs. I’m trying to stick to the KISS philosophy.. keep it simple stupid. 🙂

  5. Gina says:

    I have a wedding website that is short, sweet, and protected by a password for guests only. I wanted to have the basic info regarding registries, directions, lodging, etc in one easy to find place not bore our friends and family with TMI. Everyone coming already knows our story (we’ve been together for 6 years).

  6. Mary says:

    I read that entry on Slate, and found myself thinking that the writer seemed unaware of her own narcissism. She’s writing for publication on a website, and thinks all website exist for her to snark on. Has it crossed her mind that therefore her Slate columns exist for others to mock? What kind of friend mocks her buddies who are getting married? (A bitter one is the answer that comes to mind.)

    Yes, some wedding websites are tacky. So are some wedding invitations, some wedding programs, some wedding ceremonies. It’s not inevitable. If you don’t like it, move on.

  7. JayKay says:

    My fiance and I made a wedding website only because both of our entire families do not live on the same side of the country that we do. My aunts and uncles and cousins have never met him, and I haven’t met many of his family members either. We figured the website would be a great way to get our story out there to everyone along with some pictures of who’s who in the wedding party.

    No AutoPlay music, no registry info, but yes, there’s some silliness that people might find tacky. Frankly, though, those people weren’t invited anyways. 😉

  8. My cousin and her husband had a wedding website that was really useful. She met her husband when she was in optometry school in Memphis. She and I were the only family members living there. Every other person from her side (12 aunts and uncles plus her friends) came from out of town. They didn’t know where to stay or eat in Memphis. Most of them had not met her fiance’. The site was simple and discreet. It did have the “how we met” story and a little about her fiance’, but nobody but her parents and siblings had met him before the wedding.

  9. timmy t says:

    “…these sites inevitably turn into showcases for unbridled narcissism.” — and that’s all, kids…

  10. Mary says:

    “Mary,” I could not agree with you more!!!

    In my eyes, that was SO narcissistic and bitter and self-centered on her part. Plain and simple. She appeared miserable, insulting, judgmental as well as jealous of people who are happy.

    Also something tells me that she is not happily married and/or did not have the wedding of her dreams. But that’s just me…:)

  11. Kelly says:

    I agree – they may have once been for purposes of directing the wedding guests to the ceremony/reception, but the ones (yes, ALL of them) that I’ve seen over the last 3-4 years are truly over-the-top in the gag-inducing department – it just seems almost like they are trying to “sell themselves as a couple”, if that makes any sense. And before anyone starts accusing me of being “bitter and jealous of the people who are happy” – you couldn’t be more wrong. I am happily married, and – GASP – I managed to accomplish it without one of these web sites.