A good friend of mine recently asked me if I would set up a wedding website for he and his fiance so they could post pictures, information about the ceremony and accept RSVP responses all in one place.
So I thought it would be neat to document what I did for them and create a video / post of the process for your reference.
I understand there are “free” services out there already for folks to use who want a web presence for their wedding. The most popular among those is called The Knot. It basically offers everything you would need – but it does have a few side effects. The main ones being they place their ads at the bottom of your site and they do get commissions off any registries that you might have listed on your site (so when your guests click on your registries to buy you a gift, The Knot will get a little kick-back).
That said, the site is used by a lot of soon-to-be-married folk and it is FREE.
But, if you are looking for a little more control over your website, want greater freedom with it and the ability to “own” it yourself (I believe The Knot's website's are deleted after 3 years) – here's how to go about it.
Step 1: Get a domain
I'm going to assume that you know nothing (really) about setting up a website and getting er going. The most important things to understand about websites is they contain a couple of important elements which you need to familiarize yourself with.
The first is something called a domain. It is the web address. For example: “ThreeThriftyGuys.com” is the web domain for our site.
Domains are something which need to be renewed on an annual basis. Think of it as the registration for your car (which sadly reminds me that ours is coming due the end of July). :(
There are domain registries out there where you need to sign-up or reserve your special address for the Internet.
I have been using Dreamhost for years. I can register domains, host my websites and install content management systems all within their dashboard.
To get a domain with Dreamhost, it is $12 to register a “.com” address for a year. There are other addresses that are cheaper (.us and .org's to name a few).
Dreamhost does have a deal though, if you choose to host the domain with them after you check the domain's availability and wish to purchase it, they will throw in the free domain renewal for the life of the website (so long as you don't cancel before the first year is up). Typically hosting fees for a website can run any where from $4 – $10 a month for shared hosting and more for specialized hosting services. Currently, Dreamhost charges about $9/month for their most basic plan (about $120/year – but still cheaper than those wedding invites).
Step 2: Host the domain
The next step is to find someone who will “host” that domain up on the Internet for you. The “host” will store the pages of your website and serve them up when people type in your domain.
Like I mentioned, Dreamhost (and other services) can register AND host your domain for you.
There are a few things to keep in mind about hosting. Many basic sites today run on shared hosting. This is really the way to go when you are starting out and you don't have a lot of web pages with your site. This means there are many different websites being hosting on a server. Prices for shared hosting are generally much lower than other hosting services.
If your site is more robust and gets a lot of traffic, it may be beneficial to host your site on a dedicated server. This means that your site is the only one a particular server. Because of the specialization, costs are generally considerably higher for this type of hosting.
While this all might seem a bit foggy – especially if you haven't a clue about how websites function – it really is a lot easier than you might think.
I've put together a quick 3-minute tutorial just to run you through the basics of setting up your wedding website.
My friend and his fiance hope to save a lot of money by doing the website themselves. They plan to send many of their invitations out via email and then have their guests register through their website. Though they might mail out a few postcard invites – they will save quite a bit of money by skipping postage and the printing/costs of invitations.
Did you use a website for your wedding?
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