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Your Destination Wedding Website

by Tamara Baker, Celebrate Our Lives Wedding Websites

You've made the big decision to have a destination wedding and you now face the daunting task of making sure that people from around the globe meet up in one location for your special day. Meanwhile, you want to be free to enjoy one of the most joyous events of your life. Admittedly, it can be a difficult balance to strike, but there is help. A well designed wedding website can facilitate good communication, something any wedding planner will tell you is a critical ingredient to ensuring the success of and simplifying the planning for your destination wedding. Your guests need to know all the necessary information about your wedding so they know where to go and how to get there. At the same time, feedback from your guests can give you the information you need to plan an event everyone will enjoy. An informative and interactive wedding website can help open the lines of communication between you and your guests and thus make the event more enjoyable for everyone involved.

In order to reap the full benefits from your destination wedding website, you'll need to take what are some common features in wedding websites and adapt them to accommodate the special needs presented by your destination wedding. Here are some features to look for and some tips on how to use them to their full potential.

An online RSVP can be a handy tool for any wedding; for a destination wedding, however, it can really be put to work. A creatively designed RSVP gives your guests a convenient way to give you their vital information as well as their input on your wedding plans (if you want it!). In addition to asking for the typical information, you might consider additional entries such as flight information and arrival date, hotel where the guests would like to stay, any special requests they might have for activities and anything else pertinent to your wedding plans. Arrange to have the results sent to your wedding email address and you'll have all this useful information stored away in one place for future reference.

Since it's likely that not everyone can make it to your destination wedding, two common website features take on an even greater importance for your wedding website. First, a guestbook allows all your friends and family to send well wishes across the miles. Their messages can be sent to your email and/or posted on the site for all to enjoy. After the wedding, these messages can be saved and treasured as part of your wedding memories. Second, having links to your online gift registries provides your friends and family a quick and convenient way to send gifts whether they can make it to the wedding or not. Obviously, this is a great deal for them and for you!

Last but certainly not least come the critical information pages that provide the meat and potatoes of your site. Some important things to detail for your guests include local information such as maps and directions; local travel information (airports, ground transportation, etc.); restaurants and local activities to keep them well fed and entertained; local weather links and wedding specifics. In providing this information on your site you will have created a handy reference for your guests and a simple way for you and your family to avoid having to repeat information. Be sure to include any other information or deals you've arranged for your guests such as airline discounts, hotel deals, rental car arrangements, and anything that you feel would be of use to your wedding guests. If you're planning pre- and post-wedding activities a wedding itinerary may also be a useful edition to your site.

Finally, let's take a look at some helpful tips for making the most of your wedding website. If possible, it's best to announce your web address with your "save the date" cards. This gets your web address to everyone who needs it and clues your guests in on your plans to communicate with them via your site. By no means does this mean that you have to have your website completed by that time. Having at least one working page with a welcome message and a note on the how you plan to use the site is sufficient. The critical factor is that your guests know to check your site for updates. This alone can save you hours of phone calls and other correspondence. You might even consider creating a mailing list for guests who would like to be contacted via email when your site is updated. This point leads us to our final necessity for a successful destination wedding website: flexibility, and lots of it! Since wedding plans evolve over time, you will need a website designer that is willing to update your site as information comes in and as it changes. Make sure you understand your designer's policies before committing to any one company. A cheaper site may not end up so cheap after you've made 8 changes at $15 per update. You might consider making an advance agreement for a certain number of updates at a price you've agreed upon in advance.

Ready to start simplifying your destination wedding with a wedding website? Yes or no, you'll do well to remember the cardinal rule of weddings: if things get too overwhelming, too involved, or just plain too much, you can always elope! Rest assured that no matter how you choose to wed your website won't be wasted. Should you cut the guest list to two, you can always use your site to display your photos and tell everyone about the wedding they missed!

CREDITS

Tamara Baker
info@celebrateourlives.com
Celebrate Our Lives Wedding Websites
www.celebrateourlives.com


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