Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Q & A: Postcard Invitations and Wedding Websites

Reader Questions: For your invites, you mentioned that you put a personal note on them, but I'm not sure how that worked out because the addresses had to be on the back to mail the postcards. Where did you add your note, on top, below, etc? Did you have any problems with random people visiting your site or anything like that?

On one side of the postcard, we painted a tree with two birds. We also pasted a little piece of paper with our wedding information. There wasn't a lot of text because we put most of it on our wedding website.

On the other side, we wrote the address, placed the stamp, and wrote a personal message. We didn't have any problems with random people visiting our site.

Question #2: I need to set up a website with an online RSVP as well (I don't want paper ones either), but I want my own domain name to keep (not a Knot.com, Wedding channel.com, etc). How did you set yours up, and do you pay a yearly fee? Any advice you have about this would be much appreciated. I'm pretty good with computers, but domain and website building has not been something I've played around with.

I'll punt this one to readers: Has anyone found a free wedding website service that actually lets you use your own domain name? (i.e., www.mattandsara.com, not www.mattandsara.knot.com)

We couldn't find one when we were trying to put our site together. That's why we had to go with a free blog from www.wordpress.com and a $7/year domain name from www.1and1.com. We tried to make it look like a wedding website rather than a blog by only having one long post on the front page (see http://ofafeather.us for an example). My web-savvy best friend helped us create the online RSVP.

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Anonymous said...

Its pretty easy peasy to set up your own domain name. I don't believe that ANY of the wedding websites will let you choose your own name because after all its another form of advertising for them everytime you guest has to type in the URL.

What I did to bypass the annoying-ness of the situation was use the free wedding website services of weddingwire.com I think they're great and they have the online RSVP set up so all you have to do is enter the names of all your guests and when your guests RSVP you get an email. They have other
great little extras you can add to your site as well, all free!

To get your own URL simply go to any hosting/domain service site (I used ipowerweb.com) and purchase your domain name ONLY, not the full hosting service. Then (at least with my account) you go under domain name preferences you set it up as a redirect. That way your guests only have to type in dickandjane.com to get to your site, and you still get to use the freebies of the other wedding websites. The domain name should only cost you about $8/year.

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Vanessa: That's brilliant! I didn't think of setting up a redirect.

With a redirect, is it true that your guests will type in your personalized domain name, but when it redirects to the site the other domain name (the one provided by the free wedding website service) will show up in the navigation bar? It's not a big deal if it does, but I just want to clarify. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

It usually does, but that's when masking comes in! This article explains it: http://www.weddingbee.com/2008/11/22/once-upon-a-wedding-website-a-cautionary-tale/

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Anonymous: Perfect solution! Wow, thanks for being so insightful.

Meg said...

Oh! Skip all this, and wedding websites all together. I used blogger to set up our site, but we actually set it up so it looks like a webpage, not a blog. We set it up so only one post shows at a time (our welcome page is what you see, and it's a post dated to be the first page on the site) and comments are off (as are date and time of posts). Then we have links down the side to each of the other "pages" (or really posts). Then, you can just stick with the URL you are given if you want "www.ourweddingwebsite.blogspot.com" or spend $10 to buy a direct URL through google/blogger: www.ourweddingwebsite.com. It costs all of $10. We did the latter, and the joke was that getting a direct URL was my 'bridezilla' moment. Ha. You obviously don't pay a hosting fee since blogger is free.

Anyway, setting it up on your own through blogger is great because you can set up your website however you want, and include whatever you want. We looked into wedding websites for about two seconds. I wouldn't have minded paying $50 for one, if they were not terrible and useless and poorly designed ;)

TAL said...

Vanessa's suggestion is a great one.

Buy the domain name then set up a re-direct. It's simple and the most cost effective, if you want a specific URL for your wedding website.

Becca said...

And to expand upon what Meg suggested, google sites offers similar free websites and easy formatting with google aps add-ons. Like calendars. And countdowns. And photos. And probably something message-boardy or rsvp-ish if you want. It's free (and would look like http://sites.google.com/your-website) or you can buy a direct url to cover up the ugly name.

Diana said...

HI! I am wondering what card stock you used? When I did my trial, the card bends where I painted. Is it special water color paper? Thanks!

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Diana: We did use water color paper. We used stuff we had at our house (Matt paints for fun). When we ran out, we purchased the cheapest water color paper we could find at Michael's. Good luck and let me know if you have more questions!

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Meg and Becca: What are the benefits of using Blogger or other free google sites as opposed to free websites that are specifically designed for weddings? Matt and I used a free blog service, but if I were going to do it again, I would probably get a free wedding website (because they offer a lot of easy-to-use templates and lots of easy functionality like RSVPing), now that I know you can get your own domain name and redirect it to any site (and mask it). I'm curious to know why you prefer a regular blog. It seems like it would be more work trying to install ad-ons and stuff. Thanks (in advance!) for your edification. This is really helpful.

warthpublishinginc said...

. In my opinion 1and1, with CEO Oliver Mauss, is a horrible company and many customers have voiced a host of complaints on various blogs.
It should be a warning that when their phone is answered by a recording that tells you if you have gotten a notice from NCO, a collection agency, to press a certain number. If they are a reputable business, why do they have to send so many accounts to a collection agency?
Patrick Frey (Patterico) of the Los Angeles District Attorneys Office alleges his domain was high jacked and put up for auction on SEDO. SEDO is an associate company of 1and1.
Patterico: “I believe I’m facing massive incompetence, thievery, or very possibly a deliberate combination of the two. It feels like evil intent — but not for political reasons. It feels like cyber extortion — people going after the almighty dollar. Commenters have pointed out corporate ties between 1&1, which can’t seem to process my timely renewal, and Sedo/Domcollect, which stood to profit from 1&1’s failure. Usually, corporate incompetence does not earn the corporation money — but 1&1 and its related companies have found a way to make money off of their own slipshod procedures.”
Patterico was able to regain his domain.
Also Investigative journalist, Kelli Jack, has written 30 articles about this company and has a suit pending against them. Kelli alleges that 1and1 stole her domain name and sold it. Kelli states: "1and1 should be shut down." As of today Kelli is working with the Pennsylvania Attorney General.
I have filed complaints with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Trade Commission, Eastern Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau, ICANN, and others. I recommend everyone else having a problem consider doing the same.

The Washington DC, Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau has them listed as "Unsatisfactory" Read comments on the BBB why. Read some customer comments on Red Flag.
Warth Publishing Inc

Anonymous said...

We looked at using wedding websites, but couldn't get a name we wanted and/or didn't like the templates they offered. Also, although it's helpful that they have set-up wizards that help you add pages and content, but after messing with it for over an hour I realized it was making my site WAY more complicated than it needed to be.

My fiance has made websites in the past, and he set us up on webs.com. It was totally free, and we were able to get a great site name, only it ended with webs.com. (i.e. www.myidealaddress.webs.com)

They have lots of templates, and I was even able to use my own images for a header logo and background, so I was able to match my invitations perfectly. And they have widgets like countdowns, and forms for RSVP, blogs, photogalleries, etc. Pretty easy.

the un-bride said...

Wow @Vanessa! I never thought of using a re-direct. I looked at dozens of sites with URLs I hated (and refuse to put on my invitations.) Finally ended up registering a domain ($2.19) and a year of hosting (about $56) on GoDaddy.com. Not as budget-friendly as "free" sites, but at least I have full creative control.

Anonymous said...

If you go to this link on the knot: http://weddingshop.theknot.com/weddingwarehouse/WeddingWebsites.aspx?cId=Planning(KnotShop) They are offering 50% of a wedding tracker website that allows you to have a personal.com address.

Mountain Girl said...

I second the recommendation for google sites since that's what I'm using.

The set up is really easy and it's completely free. A little tech-savy-ness and you can do really creative things with their basic templates. Did I mention free?

I've been able to make the sire look like our invitations and I love being able to send people to sites restaurant and hotel sites in the area.

The URL is a bit long, but we were able to put our names to it, so that was enough for me.

Anonymous said...

We're using www.pingg.com
for invites, website, everything.
It's awesome and free!
And they'll even mail postcards out for you. So far we've spent $40 on invitations for $130 people.

Andrea Marie said...

Just wanted to add my .02 cents regarding the wedding blog. I too, decided against going with a 'wedding' website (like the knot) and going with what I know - blogger.com. It was super easy to turn a "blog" into a personal wedding website of your own. The only thing that wedding websites like ewedding and the knot have over blogger is the features built in such as the electronic RSVP option, but with a little googling and exploring, you can mold blogger into anything you want. This site tells you how to make a google doc and embed it into blogger as an RSVP form http://www.slideshare.net/ericcole/embed-a-google-spreadsheet that is what I did and it works great. It then stores all of the responses in your google account which can be accessed and imported right into an excel sheet. I also played around with some templates ( a lot of them converted from wordpress) on http://btemplates.com/ and found one that I liked, modified it in photoshop and voila! It does take a little bit of playing around, lots of patience and some savvyness, but in the end you have a website you can do almost anything with, without being tied to a place like theknot (yuck!) It is also very easy to set up a custom domain name in blogger, and MUCH cheaper than doing a custom name through a site like theknot. You can also get creative and embed googlemaps, picasa photo albums/slideshows, and wedding countdowns http://www.countdownclockcodes.com

Jonna said...

I know that this is an old post, but I just wanted to say I found this website called Jotform.com, and it is a fantastic resource. Without even watching the tutorial, I built an RSVP form and had it up and running on my website in minutes. Free and incredibly easy!


Rose said...

I used Google sites and then used notlong.com, to make a shorter URL.

My domain was ourweddingdate.notlong.com.

Google sites was super easy to use, we embedded forms, used Picasa 3 to make a photo slide show to music, etc. more awesomeness.

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