Why a destination wedding website will save your sanity

I met Mell from Gettin’ Hitched Rocks through the wedding fair I am co-hosting, the Tiny Weddings Fair (High Wycombe, 30th Sept 2018, if you’re reading this in time, get your tickets now, it’s going to be awesome).  Once in a while I meet another wedding supplier who I think my clients will love, because their thing totally compliments my thing.  Mell is one of those suppliers.  She makes fabulous wedding websites that would be so incredibly useful to anyone planning a wedding in Central Park with 20-50 of their nearest and dearest, many of whom either haven’t been to a destination wedding before, or haven’t been to New York before, or who just need to know all the details of what is going on!  So, I wrote a post for Mell’s blog, all about the unexpected things that crop up when planning a destination wedding, which a wedding website can help to manage, and she wrote a post for my blog, explaining why you need a website to help communicate all your plans to your guests.

save your sanity

I don’t need to tell you that planning a destination wedding takes a lot of organisation, co-ordination, and forethought – but I will.

Planning a destination wedding takes a lot of organisation, co-ordination, and forethought.

You don’t just have a wedding to organise – vetting vendors and venues and v- uh, dinner options – you’ve got a fifteen-person family vacation to sort, too.

You’re planning hen dos, stag dos, group photos, kid-friendly events, kid-unfriendly events…

It’s difficult to co-ordinate that with a big group – or, really, any size of group.

You’re scheduling around people who have never been to this place before and don’t know where anything is. Or how they’d find it if they knew. You’re planning around people with young kids, who have bed times and feeding schedules to work round. You’re co-ordinating with people who want to get in some quick sightseeing – and don’t realise nipping across to the Statue of Liberty requires a return boat trip and two security checks stricter than they have at JFK…

Trying to get everyone on the same page – never mind to the same place at the same time – isn’t easy. The saying ‘it’s like herding cats’ gets repeated for a reason: organising people is difficult. More difficult, in fact, than organising cats, which you can pick up if you need to.

That’s where a wedding website comes in.

gp_wcp_hartfield

A (beautiful) wedding website on the (beautiful) Hartfield design from (the beautiful) Gettin’ Hitched Rocks.

We’re not in the nineties any more (no matter what Netflix’s trending now section says); most people have an easy way to receive notifications and access the internet in their back pocket. Why not take advantage of it – and take the pressure of organising everyone else’s schedules off your shoulders?

A wedding website can help you…

Organise hotels and travel

Most couples will put information about hotels near the wedding venue on their website. This is for two very good reasons:

  1. A lot of hotels will give a discount for reserving a large number of rooms, so it makes sense to block-off a group of rooms and tell everyone what to ask for to get the cheaper rate.
  2. Half your guest list is going to assume you are – somehow – an expert on the area and will always find the worst possible time to ring up and ask you about every possible hotel. Better to head them off at the pass.

Giving everyone the same links to book nearby hotels is easy – but what if you’re also covering the cost of the wedding party’s hotel rooms? (A cunning ploy that looks like a huge favour, but is actually a clever way to ensure everyone’s where you need them to be at 6am…)

You need to give everyone in the wedding party the details for their room (without giving them to anyone else) and make sure they don’t get confused and book their own, because the website’s telling them to.

At Gettin’ Hitched Rocks, we give every family you invite a unique password so, once they’ve logged in, we know exactly who’s looking at your website. We know how many people are in the family, if they have kids, if they’re in your wedding party, if you’ve booked them a hotel room… And that means we can get really clever with things.

We can show your best man his room reservation details, show your maid of honour hers, and show everyone else information about hotels in the area, with links to reserve a room.

Because no one has to read through anything that doesn’t apply to them or see anything you don’t want them to see, there’s no confusion.

(Someone will still find a way to ring at the worst possible time, though. It’s unavoidable…)

gp_wcp_different-view-comparison

The same wedding website showing different content for different guests.

Organise your friends

The biggest problem facing anyone planning a wedding – and especially couples planning a destination wedding, where you need to know exact numbers as soon as you possibly can – is getting people to RSVP.

Let’s face it. No one RSVPs as soon as they’re asked to. It’s against human nature. Instead, they:

  • stick the invitation to the fridge.
  • think, ‘Oh, I need to do that,’ every time they make a cup of tea.
  • don’t.
  • only get back to you after your second just-wanted-to-check-it-didn’t-get-lost-in-the-mail phone call, three weeks after the deadline you gave them.

Having an RSVP form on your wedding website helps with this a lot; once people are on your website, it’s quick and easy to RSVP and get it off the to-do list.

And you have tools to help with that, too. At Gettin’ Hitched Rocks, we give you a dashboard where – along with your exact numbers and all the answers to your RSVP questions – you can see who’s RSVP’d, who’s been on the website but not RSVP’d yet, and who’s not yet been on the website.

gp_wcp_admin-panel

The Gettin’ Hitched Rocks dashboard, showing different, useful information.

But the most powerful part of it is: you can send reminders.

You can schedule in emails or SMS messages to be sent on a certain date, and choose who sees them. If you want to remind everyone who hasn’t RSVP’d yet, only the people who haven’t RSVP’d yet will get the message. (And so not striking fear into the hearts of your very responsible, deadline-respecting friends.)

If you want to send reminders to everyone except your Uncle Jeremy, because you wouldn’t mind too much if he didn’t reply in time, you can do that too. (Or send warnings to everyone else when he does reply.)

And it goes beyond RSVP’ing; you can send reminders to get your guests booking flights and hotels, tell your wedding party when the dress or suit fittings are, or just send out a ‘whoo!’ now and then, to celebrate how cool it is you’re getting married. (Whoo! You’re getting married!)

Organise itineraries

You probably have a list as long as your arm of things you want to do and see while you’re abroad with all your favourite people.

And you probably want those people to join you. (Being your favourites and all.) (Maybe not Uncle Jeremy.)

But you don’t have to go back and forth with fifteen people on dates and times and oooh, I don’t know if it’s too expensive to get it organised.

Add a poll to your wedding website, with options for different days or times. If they want to come, each family can indicate which slots will suit them best.

After everyone has answered – or after a set amount of time has passed – you’ll get a notification of what works best for the most people, so you can get it booked.

Or, if there are activities you’re already planning to do at a certain date or time and you just want to ask your friends if they’d like to tag along, you can organise that on your wedding website, too.

At Gettin’ Hitched Rocks, we have a ‘register your interest’ widget we can add to our websites, where your guests can click a button to, well, register their interest in something.

gp_wcp_register-interest

A register interest widget used to get guests signing up to help with different jobs at the wedding, instead of a traditional gift registry.

It can be locked down, so each family can only register their interest in one thing – useful if you’re trying to get everyone to share rented villas, for example! – or you can let your guests sign-up for different options, ticking down the available spaces in each one – fantastic for pot-luck dinners.

It’s also great for getting your guests to sign-up to different activities. And – because we can hide and show different things on your wedding website, depending on who’s looking at it, we can curate the activity list to suit them.

If you’re having an adults-only brunch, we can tell the family with a seven-year-old that the seven-year-old can’t come. Or we can not tell them anything about the brunch at all.

And, once your guests have signed up for different activities, we can send you a list of everyone who’s coming – and send them a reminder of where they have to be and when they have to be there, a half-hour before you meet. Sorted!

gp_wcp_magment

A (beautiful) Gettin’ Hitched Rocks website on the (beautiful) Magment design.

Wedding websites are, if not a lifesaver, certainly a headache-saver when you’re organising your wedding.

As well as having all the information everyone needs where they can get it any time, anywhere, rather than relying on a paper invitation The Borrowers will inevitably run off with, as well as handling your RSVPs online so you can see them as they come in (and avoid counting and re-counting and wait, I lost track, counting again by hand), as well as being able to update everyone when details change, as well as making your wedding planning easier and something you can do from your bed, on your commute, or – I won’t judge – from the Louvre in Paris, a wedding website can:

  • customise what everyone sees to remove any confusion
  • help you co-ordinate with your guests
  • send email or SMS reminders to the people who need them, when they need them
  • and take the stress out of organising a wedding, a honeymoon, and a group vacation, so you can spend your time with the awesome person you’re marrying – not with (much less awesome) spreadsheets.

And, if you need another reason, until the 31st of March 2019, we’re giving Wed in Central Park readers 10% off our wedding websites with the code ‘CENTRALPARK’. Check out our (gorgeous) collection of designs, or get something (gorgeous) designed bespoke for you at gettinhitched.rocks.

Follow us both on the social media platform of your choice:

Gettin’ Hitched Rock on Pinterest, Wed in Central Park on Pinterest.

Gettin’ Hitched Rock on Facebook, Wed in Central Park on Facebook.

Gettin’ Hitched Rock on Instagram, Wed in Central Park on Instagram.

Gettin’ Hitched Rock on Twitter, Wed in Central Park on Twitter.

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3 Responses to Why a destination wedding website will save your sanity

  1. smartiebabie says:

    I loved my wedding website, even though I had a UK wedding and I didn’t use it to its full potential. I can say the wedding website the husband and I created stopped us from having to answer the same questions over and over again for our guests, as they were able to get so much information on the website.

  2. Jen Morrow says:

    I love the interactive maps for the venue and other locations. Everyone can access from smartphone and not worry about getting lost or going to the wrong location!

  3. I never thought of having one for a destination wedding but it makes sense for travel arrangements. Then to see you can delegate tasks makes it even more useful!

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