Weddings Weddings Weddings

Wedding Web sites help spread the word

Planning a wedding is no small task, and most couples look forward to the day when they're no longer fretting over floral centerpieces or agonizing over seating arrangements. Though weddings have become more complicated in many ways, the Internet has made some things simpler for couples planning their nuptials.

Perhaps nowhere is that more true than with regard to sharing information. The Internet has made it easy for couples to keep friends and family abreast of the details that go into a wedding. Many couples have even developed their own wedding Web site, updating the site whenever they make important decisions, such as when and where the wedding will take place, where guests can stay and all the other information guests might need. Such information used to be sent out via traditional mail, but now couples can simply direct friends and family to their wedding Web site, saving time and money while also benefitting the environment.

But before couples design their Web sites, it's first helpful to determine if it's actually necessary. Couples who are planning more intimate affairs with few guests might find a Web site isn't necessary. In addition, couples who are having a local wedding in which most of the guests live in town and won't need to travel or make hotel arrangements, can probably get by without creating a wedding Web site. However, couples who are planning a larger affair and/or an out-of-town wedding and are expecting guests from all over the map can utilize the Internet to make it easier to communicate with prospective guests. When developing a wedding Web site, there are some things a couple should consider.

* Timing: Don't establish the Web site until you have settled on a date and location for the wedding. The site can be a great way to share your story with friends and family, but its primary function is to act as a resource for guests. If no date or location has been picked, then the site won't prove too helpful to guests. But once a date and location has been chosen, set up the Web site as soon as possible, ideally several months to a year in advance of the wedding. Doing so gives guests plenty of time to clear their schedules and make airline and hotel reservations.

* Information: When designing the site, make it easy to navigate so all the information a guest might need is readily available. Couples who are not tech-savvy can utilize an existing Web site like TheKnot.com, which allows its members to create a premium Web site that can include exclusive designs, links to a couple's online registry, photos, maps of the event location, and a host of other pertinent details. Some wedding Web site services charge a relatively small fee to keep the site running for up to a year. Couples who feel they can create a site on their own should be certain to include the date, location, directions and maps to the event locations, hotel accommodations, and wedding registry information. Those who want to go the extra mile can include photos, the story of how they met, information about members of the wedding party and a guestbook that well-wishers can sign.