How To Make the Website for Your Lesbian Wedding

With less than a month to go before my own lesbian wedding, I’m trying to impart some wisdom I’ve gathered over the past year+ of wedding planning, which if I’m being honest has been quite fun! With periods of stress, sure. If anyone tells you they planned a wedding with zero stress ever, they are either lying or have achieved superhuman levels of cognitive and emotional ability. Something I realized early on in the wedding planning process was that soooooo much of the easily searchable advice is not only written under the assumption of straightness but also just woefully heteronormative, catering to strict ideas of gender, family, etc. Even a lot of queer wedding advice out there can be frustrating and broad! And while I don’t think I’m exactly reinventing the wheel here, I hope my wedding planning advice has been practical AND imaginative beyond the basics. My guide to queer wedding dress codes was definitely intended as such. But alas, sometimes you also just want to know about the basics when planning a wedding. Perhaps you just want to know what the fuck to even put on your wedding website. Well, I’m here to talk about exactly that!


Wedding Website Basics

My first rule of wedding websites is to not get toooooo bogged down with the look. The Knot and other wedding planning services offer free website services with so many templates to choose from. Unless HTML is your passion, you don’t need to design a whole website from scratch. Pick a template, pick your colors, and roll with it. If your wedding has a visual theme, pick something to match, but again, don’t get too fussy! There are plenty of other things to get fussy with. Keep the URL simple, too. The usual way to do it is to just include your and your partner’s first names.

There are a few other overarching decisions to make: Do you want to password protect your website? I did this, because my fiancée is a bit of a public figure and because she wrote about our wedding for a major national publication, and idk, I just didn’t want randos knowing where and when our wedding is! If you password protect your website, make sure the password is on the invitations when you send them out. Accept the inevitability that at least four people will text you to ask for the password for the website even though it is on the invitation. In my personal experience, GAYS APPARENTLY CAN’T READ.

Your wedding website is where you’ll collect RSVPs. All the major wedding planning services have straightforward ways of doing this. My fun piece of advice is to include a couple questions on the RSVP form that are personalized! The Knot, which we used, allowed you to add custom questions, so we did one where we asked people to make song requests (in theory, this will reduce the need for people to make requests of our DJ on the actual night) and another where we asked people to say what they’re looking forward to about the wedding in six words or less. Since it’s easy to pull a spreadsheet of all our RSVP responses, I’ll have all those answers in one place, so I can maybe include some in the zine I’m hoping to put together for me and my partner after the wedding. Some of my favorite answers include: “Gay literary wedding of the century,” “to yell gayyyyy (non-derogatory) at you 2 (on the dance floor),” “screaming about love in public,” and “the girls and the gays.”

You can choose to make your guest list available to all guests or keep it hidden, depending on your preferences. We decided to make ours visible, because we figured the nosy gays would wanna know!


Components of a Wedding Website

The following are the different tabs to include on your website, which are super easy to edit, add, and adjust when using an online wedding planning service for your website, especially if you’ve ever put together a newsletter or used a block editor of any sort. Some of the following tabs are optional, and I will indicate when that’s the case!

Homepage

On the homepage of your website, make sure all the MAJOR details are included: date, time, location. A countdown can be fun (and are usually built into most templates). One photo on the homepage, perhaps from your engagement shoot if you did one, will suffice, but don’t get too fancy just yet. You want this landing page to drive home the most pertinent information without distractions. My wedding website says the date…three whole ass times. Again, just trying to make sure the gays are actually reading.

Photos

This is an optional one! But if you want to include photos from something like an engagement shoot on your website so you can show off your wonderful, disgusting love, make it its own tab so that only those truly interested are bombarded with your faces.

Wedding Party

Another optional one! If you’re having wedding parties (we call ours our VIPs instead of using any gendered language, and plus it just sounds cooler), it can be nice to create a tab that includes their names, photos, and bios that you write. These can be the stories of how you met each of them, things you like about them, etc. You can even drag them a bit here, because as queer people it is our right to playfully drag our friends. For mine, in addition to doing individual photos and short blurbs for each person, we also included a gallery of photos of us with our VIPs and officiant through the years. It’s a cute touch, even if the only people who really look at it are the people featured.

FAQ

Non-optional in my opinion! Even if you are having the most simple wedding in the world, if it’s big enough to necessitate a website in the first place, it’s big enough for an FAQ. You can use the FAQ to reiterate the time when people are expected to arrive at the event (which should obviously be on your homepage, too, but it’s good to state it again, right at the top of the FAQ for the gays who will be late no matter what).

Other logistical details such as parking, directions to the venue, etc. can be included on the FAQ. It’s a good place to outline your policies on +1s or bringing children. For sample language if you’re doing a wedding where you aren’t letting people bring anyone they want, here’s what I wrote:

Our wedding is strictly RSVP only. We have so many people who we want to celebrate this day with, and we’re pushing the capacity of our venue. As a result, we’re not doing blanket +1s for all guests. Your invitation is addressed to the folks invited (in some cases, they’ll just be listed as “guest”). If you have questions about +1s, talk to Kayla!

I specified “talk to Kayla,” because if people were to ask my fiancée to bring a rando, she would 100% say yes, because she is a Sagittarius who likes to include everyone! So maybe figure out ahead of time if you or your partner is the stronger choice for being on +1 mediation duty. Our wedding is also children-free, so I made sure to say that on the FAQ along with a note that my niece would briefly be in attendance as the flower girl before leaving the premises. It’s totally fine to not allow children at your wedding!

You can also use the FAQ to explain any details you think your guests should know about the food being served. We’re not doing a formal sit-down dinner but rather will have stations throughout the event, and I explained all this on our website so people know what to expect.

The dress code and your wedding hashtag, if you have one, can also go on the FAQ. And then you’ll want to think about some more specific things that might apply to your wedding in particular. I included “what will the weather be?” on mine, because I anticipated people being confused about Florida in February (the short answer, however, is we can’t know what the weather will be in Florida). At the very end of the FAQ, I included an open invitation to guests to ask me and my fiancée about any concerns they may have about traveling to Florida in its current political climate. That’s obviously very specific to my wedding, but I encourage you to think about those kinds of things when putting your FAQ page together. The day is about you and your partner, but you want your guests to feel safe and comfortable, too. How can you best serve that?

On the note of hashtags, your FAQ can also include any kind of social media “rules” you might have. Don’t want people to use their phones during the ceremony? Say that. Want people to wait 24 hours before posting so they can live in the moment? Let em know! My fiancée and I aren’t doing any strict social media rules, because we met on Twitter, so anything seems fair game at our wedding.

Accommodations

Technically optional, but I do think it’s nice to include a few potential options for hotels you recommend to your guests with notes about how close to the venue they are/what the best way to travel to the venue might be. I also included a list of recommended neighborhoods for folks looking to book an Airbnb and encouraged people to reach out to us with questions.

Things To Do and Eat

While this is optional, it is the number one thing I recommend when putting together your website (other than putting the time and date in multiple places). I spent the most time on this part of our website, and I have received so much positive feedback about it! I broke my list into categories of Activities and Restaurants + Bars. For activities, I included a mixture of genuinely fun touristy things as well as things my fiancée and I like to do together, like bowling and going to our independent movie theater. For each entry, I included a short blurb about why it’s fun. For the Restaurants + Bars section, I grouped things mainly by type and loosely by neighborhood. So coffee shops go together, along with brunch spots, dive bars, cocktail places, our favorite spots, etc. I also included a few splurgey options (and noted they’re more $$$ in the blurbs) in case people want to treat themselves while here.

Most of our guests are out of town guests, so it felt especially important to provide all these recommendations. It also just felt personal. My fiancée and I are hoping to show some of our guests who have never been to Orlando (or who only associate it with the theme parks) why we love it here so much. Sharing our favorite things to do and places to go feels like really welcoming them into our lives for the weekend.

If my guests decide to go off-book and go somewhere that turns out to be mediocre, I don’t want to hear about it!!!!!!!!!!!

Registry/Gifts

You can automatically add a registry to wedding websites so your guests can easily find where they’re supposed to go to get your gifts. But even if you’re not doing a traditional registry, you’ll want to include a tab for whatever it is you ARE doing and label it either “registry” or “gifts.” (If you’re not doing any gifts at all, then put that in your FAQ, because people WILL ask or buy you things you don’t ultimately need/want.)

For example, my fiancée and I are asking for cash donations only. Half of the contributions will go to our honeymoon fund, and the other half will go to Zebra Youth, an LGBTQ+ youth org in our city. We explain this on the website and include several ways for people to give money to the fund. We also specify on the website that we’re asking for contributions on a truly sliding scale basis and that no one should feel like they have to give.

Weekend Itinerary

In addition to the time and date displayed clearly on the homepage, you’ll want a more detailed schedule of events in a separate tab on the website. This can include your rehearsal dinner if you’re having one and any pre-wedding or post-wedding events. Even if those events are informal/unofficial, it’s good to include as much info as possible in case people are planning their travel around when people will be hanging out/doing wedding adjacent things. For example, while we’re forgoing the day-after-wedding brunch some people do (hello, we want everyone including ourselves to SLEEP IN), we have teased on our website a special outing the following evening for anyone who might still be in town…

Your Story

Optional (and in fact, we didn’t do this) but sweet! A lot of couples like to include their love story on their website. It’s cute! I love to read about love, especially queer love. I literally think the only reason my fiancée skipped this part is because we’ve told the story of how we met a million times? In fact, you can read about it right here on Autostraddle.


It might sound like a lot, but the more thorough your website is, especially when it comes to more personal aspects, the fewer questions you’ll get from guests later on when you really should be focusing on other aspects of planning! My recommendation is to set aside a few date nights with your partner where you work on the website but also do something nice, like going to a cafe to do it or having a glass of something sparkling. It doesn’t have to feel too much work if you mix it with pleasure.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 869 articles for us.

9 Comments

  1. Then: Give us marriage equality we said, we we will do it different, we’ll challenge and deconstruct the heteronormative patriarchal capitalist construct of it, we will queer it up!

    Now: How to make a wedding website.

  2. 20 years ago, people would stand up a one page wedding announcement on Geocities.

    Now, because so many of us have been made helpless by Instagram and Facebook’s nonsense, we cant.

    The answer to how to make a wedding website is go on neocities. And put up a one pager.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. Gays CAN’T read and you should say it!!! Shout out to the key workers (people who repeat information) for their services.
    I’m not married/engaged but I’ve been to a lot of weddings. From a guest perspective, a site like this would be an absolute dream. It’s really thoughtful to set out the bios of your VIPs (trust me, everyone will look. Gays can’t read except when it’s time to be nosy and/or identify the cuties lol), spots to visit in Orlando and also safety considerations for your guests. That extra level of care in your organisation is truly touching and if I were a guest it would read as a real gesture of love from you to us as the guests.
    I also love that it’s an enjoyable process for you and that you’ve said that. This is reassuring to hear in case I ever do get married.
    I hope you have a really smooth run up to your wedding! It sounds like you love your people well – I’m sure they’re going to be loving on you right back on your big day.

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