The Game is Over on 09.09.17

How I Built My Wedding Website On Squarespace In Two Days — Day 37 of 99 Days of Wander

A step by step process of the details involved plus the final wedding link. I hope this will serve as inspiration for all the upcoming brides who, like me, had no idea where to start and what to do next.

Our four-day digital nomad destination wedding is coming up in September. Being a bride who is travelling full-time is not an ideal scenario for organizing such an event. The good news is that one of my best friends in Moldova has agreed to organize the wedding and my beloved future husband is acting as a trusted advisor.

I’m past the stage when I was really stressed about the whole organization of the wedding because now it all came together: the dates, the agenda, the venue and the guest list. I feel like once the major parts are figured out, it’s all easy. Now, we have a website and we’ve sent it out to our guests to RSVP :)

Most of our guests are coming from abroad so having all the information in one place, on a website, was essential. I am quite proud of the result, especially since I’ve built it all myself. And you can too.

Here is a post with more details about the wedding planning.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Game Over of Anna & String, the digital nomad destination wedding website:

www.annastring.com

IMPORTANT: Please do not RSVP (fill out the form) if you’re not invited personally by me or String. We would appreciate if you respect our privacy and our willingness to share this event website with the public. We would love to share this celebration with everyone, however, this is a small wedding with only family members and close friends.

This is the final site I’ve put together in two days with Squarespace. It has six wedding templates in their library! That was great because I didn’t have much choice and didn’t overwhelm myself! And, quite frankly, I had no idea how I’m going to do this.

What you need is common sense, patience and the time to read through their guides and FAQs. That is what helped me the most. Here are the steps I’d recommend taking to put your wedding website together on Squarespace. I assume some of these would be helpful even if you’re using another platform to build your wedding website.

Step 1: Choose a wedding template and try it for 14 days for free.

Look through the wedding templates, pick a template you like and that suits your wedding needs and sign up for a 14-day trial to check out the platform. I chose the “Naomi” template because I wanted to have a one-page site with all the details and sections stacked under each other. I also love the page-wide images and how they look on the screen and on mobile devices. You can start filling in the template with your own info and upload your photos right away. It works like magic and it’s super simple to use (unlike wordpress!) BUT — check step 2!

Step 2: Go through the basic tutorials.

Read about general page organization, structure, how templates work and watch the tutorial videos. Trust me, it will make things so much easier. I didn’t do that in the beginning since I thought I’d jump in and figure it all out. Everything was great until I ran into trouble with, for example, making sure the navigation menu was visible on the site. Such a small detail but it took me hours to figure it out because I haven’t read the template instructions and haven’t organized the page structure properly from the beginning.

And boy, details can overwhelm and stress you out. By end of Day 1 I had a huge headache. So avoid the headache and take it easy, step by step, and read the instructions. Although Squarespace is one of the easiest platforms to use, you need to understand a bit about how coding works, how pages are organized and linked to each other and how things behave on web and various devices. But it’s totally doable and you’ll be so proud of yourself when th site is done, you’d wanna hug a unicorn and watch it shit rainbows :)

One more thing: be patient. It can get frustrating and hard, especially if you fon’t know anything about coding and have never worked with anything web related. Just remember what Marie Forleo says:

Everything is figureoutable.

Step 3: Make sure to understand how YOUR template works.

Squarespace offers different templates for your website needs that are customizable. Templates are grouped into “families” and each template family has its specifics. I spent hours trying to figure out how to change one small thing, only to realize that for my specific template, this small thing is done differently (f*ck my life…)

So again, read the general instructions AND your chosen template instructions.

Step 4: Choose your sections.

This step might get overwhelming but once you start searching and looking at other websites, you will realize that all of them are very similar and have pretty much the same sections. Here are the sections of our website:

wedding website sections.

The RSVP section is, obviously, the most important one. Being an online marketer I guess it really helped to think: “What is the #1 goal of this website and the call to action?” — to get people to RSVP! So that’s why the first button they see is the RSVP button that also includes the RSVP deadline: April 1, 2017.

I have also included the RSVP button after the sections that made sense to include it after: agenda, accomodation and gifts. (Getting the RSVP button to link to the actual RSVP button form at the top of the site was this little annoying detail that was very specific to the template I was using so figuring this out took me about three hours.)

I thought of what will be most helpful for our guests and placed the sections strategically one after another in the order of most importance (marketing experience talking ;) That’s why “gifts”, “facebook group” and “about moldova” are the last sections our guests will see.

Step 5: Your RSVP form.

I have spent a lot of time on building this form and thinking what information I need from guests to organize this in the best way possible. I knew that the RSVP form would be our best chance to get all the essential information from our guests:

  • Coming or not and who’s coming with them?

Obviously, this is the most important piece of information because we need a headcount. Every person arriving, needs to be picked up from the airport, placed in the hotel, booked a spot for the cultural activities and the seat at the wedding table as well as dropped off at the airport.

  • How many nights they’re staying in the hotel and what activities are they joining us for?

We chose to cover most of the activities for our guests and asked them to only cover their accommodation at the hotel. Unfortunately, things are not as developed in Moldova with online bookings so we have booked the whole hotel for our guests for the 3 nights and will be placing everyone at the hotel by ourselves. For this purpose I’m getting my maid of honor to help me and organize the payments and placements. We are also organizing all the tours and extra-curricular activities for our guests so need to know who’s coming for what. Or at least give them a choice to attend what they want to attend.

  • Dietary requests?

Being gluten and lactose free, I know what a pain it is to come to an event with no dietary options. So I made sure to ask our guests in advance of their dietary requests so we avoid any surprises or miscommunication.

Step 6: Most answers are in the “Help” section.

I found most of the answers to the issues I’ve been having with the site on Squarespace’s “Help” section. I was quite surprised and grateful to find a very organized help section with videos, examples and step by step tutorials. They understand who their users are: bloggers or small business owners who are not coders so providing step by step visual tutorials is essential. Thank you, Squarespace!

If, however, you are really stuck — google it :)

If, however, there is no way out — contact their support team. They are very helpful and should get back to you within 24–48 hours.

Step 7: Create a closed Facebook group

I knew that our guests will have questions about the wedding and their travel plans I also knew that we need a way to communicate with our guests and update them on the details, dates and for example, the wedding party. A closed Facebook group is the perfect way to do that so everything is in one place.

Step 8: Sending out the invites and asking for RSVPs.

We have just sent our invitations and have started getting RSVPs! So far so good, no major questions on the wedding and logistics. And quite a few congratulations on the website itself :) That is how I measure the success of the website: by the amount of questions about the event.


Note 1: I’ve taken web design classes in college and I also managed my own website of the Maninside Show podcast hosted on Wordpress for about two years. So I have a bit of experience in managing websites and a bit of coding. As in, I know when a tag is <opened and where it closes/> and different sections of code. So that helped a ton. But you don’t need to know any HTML, CSS or any coding to put your website together in Squarespace.

Note 2: Squarespace is a paid service with $16 per month to maintain your website. This package includes a free domain. We went for an annual option that gave us a 25% discount so we paid $144 and added that amount to our wedding budget. Easy peasy! I suggest that you get a paid option that is going to give you less headache and plenty of options. Free websites are okay but they are limited in their functionality and you’ll be constantly annoyed by them truing to sell you the paid version or something else.

Note 3: Squarespace is not sponsoring this post.


— “Why do we need a WEBSITE?!” asked my beloved future husband.

— “Eshhhtring, (we’re in Brazil remember, so Estring is now Eshhhtring,) how do you imagine people RSVPing to a destination wedding that will last four days without giving them a full run down of the agenda, the place, or the couple (a lot of our friends haven’t met us together yet!)?”

— “Oh…yeah…I guess you’re right. Why don’t you build it on Squarespace since you’re going to be building your ‘next project’ there.”

— “OMG, I knew I’m marrying a genius.”

Men are like children sometimes: very clever and yet very unaware ;-) I’ve heard about Squarespace a long time ago mostly on entrepreneurship podcasts promoting it. Obviously, Squarespace is trying hard to grow its small businesses client base.

I’ve also been researching all the wedding websites and was quite overwhelmed with everything. There are tons of blogs, resources, checklists, “how-tos” etc. on wedding organizatios and websites that support the whole thing to make it easier for everyone involved.

Just google “wedding website” and you’ll find plenty of options. Essentially, they give you a template that you fill in and have all the wedding sections and info that you’d need like “About Us,” “RSVP,” “Registry,” and others. Some of the sites are fancy, have various apps, integrate with calendars and invitation lists. It’s a whole industry! Some are free (and limited) options and some are paid.

I wanted something easy and beautiful. I want it to be bold and inspirational. I wanted it to feel like “us” — easy and free. The whole thing was starting to really overwhelm me and it felt like putting together a website would be that huge milestone that I need to get over. And when it’s all done, I shall release about 15 kilograms of weight off my fragile “bridal” shoulders. And so it happened. The feeling when it was done — was amazing!

Any questions? Please ask away, I’d love to share this experience and the journey with you!

xoxo,

The “Coder” Wanderova