What to expect from wedding websites

Commentator Beth Teitell on the new era of wedding websites.

Thank goodness I got married in olden times -- when the big decision was not whether to make your wedding website password-protected. When the words "page view" and "unique visitors" were not wedding lingo. When you didn't have to brand your own love story.

Have you clicked on one of these sites? Forgive me, but some are more entertaining than the wedding itself. There are polls asking guests to vote on the first dance; pop-up tabs making it easy to pin photos on Pinterest; credits naming the bride's hairstylist; links to PayPal for "honeyfund" contributions; and breaking news tidbits from the couple's trip to register at Target, perhaps, or a dress update.

And pity the couple who didn't "meet cute," as they say in Hollywood. Because the centerpiece is almost always the blow-by-blow account -- or in some cases, the blow-by-blow video -- detailing the proposal or the "how we met" story.

The sites are so popular that a new form of wedding entertainment has emerged: mocking others' websites. As one 30-something on the wedding circuit told me, "if I don't already know how you met, why am I going to your wedding?"

Here's another issue not faced by the mother-of-the-bride generation: what to name the website. With more than two million weddings a year, not every Michael and Jessica (the most popular names of the 1980s) can get their top choice.

But if you choose a URL that celebrates your special love and doesn't include your names, forgetful guests may end up at the site of some other Mike and Jessica, reading their adorable story -- or even worse, clicking the link for their Bed, Bath & Beyond registry.

Sure, some sites are tacky. But they do cut down on calls. As one bride confessed, before she got her site running, her aunts called endlessly with questions. Now? She simply directs them to her FAQ page.

About the author

Beth Teitell writes for the Boston Globe. Her most recent book is called "Drinking Problems at the Fountain of Youth."

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