Early on in our wedding planning process, I came to realize that I had a snobbish feeling toward the mass produced wedding website templates that were available out there. I am not a snob. I am not an elitist. I just appreciate a well designed website and wanted one of my very own to showcase our wedding information.
After checking out prices with a few web design companies, I soon came to realize that to have a website like I wanted was going to cost us big time. The lowest quote I received was $500, and the others skyrocketed above that price.
Never one to be discouraged, I looked for plan B. I love learning how to do new techie things, so the prospect of building our own website appealed to me. Knowing little to nothing about HTML codes (what??) and other such techie jargon, I fell in love with a free flash website design service provided by Wix.com. This site features a very user friendly approach to web designs that lets you design from scratch or use one of their countless design templates that can be tweaked to reflect different information. Wix.com looks like it's primarily used for businesses, but it certainly also works for a wedding website.
Wix Customizable Templates
Before jumping into the design process, I decided that I needed to figure out what I wanted. I didn't want boring. I didn't want cliche. I did want something that kind of matched our stationery and color palette. I did want something customized and unique (That's the brat in me). I decided that my first task was to take a look at some websites that I really liked and try to figure out what I really liked about them. Here are three website whose designs really appeal to me:
100 Layer Cake - Along with being an AMAZING wedding planning resource, there is a soft and glowing look about this website. If websites were people, 100 Layer Cake would be a bride.
Fisticuff Design Co. - This website (which happens to be the site of a web design company) gives homage to all that great vintage typography that is near and dear to my heart. I love fun fonts and funny old fashioned graphics.
Cottonseed Oil Tours - While this website has nothing to do with weddings, I like the scattered layout where there is lots to explore by clicking on anything and everything.
With these ideas floating around in my brain, I went to the design page on Wix.com. I looked through their templates and used a couple of items from several templates to start off my own page. They have tons of fonts and graphics already for you to use on your page, and you can also upload any graphic that you already have on your computer. The designing is super user friendly, and the learning curve is short. In no time, I had the skeleton of our website built.
Wix Design Mode
After revisiting my post on what to include in your wedding website, we decided that we needed sections on wedding day details, directions, accommodations, transportation, about us, about the wedding party, area info, registry info, contact info, and an FAQ page. That is a lot of info to fit into one website! Before I even started picking out pretty fonts and pictures, I literally took a piece of paper and pencil and sketched the layout of the splash page, the menu, and a quick sketch of what each page should have and some ideas for design. Then I took a deep breath, held my nose, and jumped down the rabbit hole AKA Wix.com.
Two weeks of evenings and weekends later, our wedding website was done and ready to be launched. NOTE: This process did not take two weeks because building this website was difficult but rather because I am my own worst critic and thus nitpicked and scrutinized every last blasted detail until I had self-induced stress migraines. You, my sane readers, would probably have a much quicker and less-anal experience (unless, of course, you are neurotic like me in which case, we should trade support group info).
Anyhoo, I purchased a URL for one year through GoDaddy.com and linked it up to my Wix website (see note below about cost), et voila! Here is our wedding website:
We made our website to look similar to our stationery items (invitations, programs, etc) because we wanted a coherent look). Some of the fonts and graphics were from Wix.com while others were pictures that I found on the web and uploaded on my own.
Note about costs: It costs about $10 per year to "rent" a URL. You can do this through a number of different services. I have used GoDaddy and Google and found them both to be about the same process. Wix.com will give you a free website, but the URL is going to be something kinda funky and not easily remembered by you or anyone else trying to remember your wedding website so they can find info. You can link your Wix.com site to any URL for about $5 a month, and for about $10 a month the URL will be linked AND there won't be any Wix.com advertisements. There are a few other options that you can upgrade to with Wix such as unlimited storage, but for most wedding websites, you won't need this upgrade. Anyhoo, we decided to "rent" our URL so that our guests could easily find our site, and we paid $10 a month for about 6 months before our wedding so that our Wix site was linked and ad free. So in total, we spent about $70 on our wedding website. You could forgo the personalized URL and do Wix for totally free as well...
So all in all here are my pros and cons for working with Wix.com:
- Totally customizable if you are creative!
- Tons of awesome design templates if you are not so creative!
- Free (sort of).
- You can have all kinds of flash graphics (picture slide shows, moving objects, "buttons" etc.)
- Easy to maneuver.
- Great customer support.
- Totally addictive because it's so much fun.
- My page moves a little slower because I have so many flash graphics loaded on it. But I don't care! I love it! :)
- If you go with the rented URL and the Wix linked URL, the service can cost as much or more than other wedding websites.
All in all, I think it's TOTALLY worth it. If it sounds appealing to you, and you decide to take a plunge down the rabbit hole, we'd love to see your finished product! Feel free to post a question on the message board if you get suck, and maybe I can help you out!
We'd also like to see websites from people who have used other wedding website services...Which sites rocked? Which sites stunk? Let us know!