I don’t post too much personal stuff on this site. I never have. However, I’m getting married this year, and, as is the done thing now,
I’ve we’ve decided to have a wedding website.
I’m not going to post a link to it, again – personal, but I am happy to discuss what I’ve done and how I’ve done it.
First off, I had to figure out what the website would be for – there’s the standard of letting guests know about the location, the date, the time, the plan, the food etc – and I wanted it to be custom. I’ve never been one to pick an off-the-shelf product when I can roll my sleeves up and get handy with code.
I also wanted an RSVP system – something fast and efficient that would be easy to use.
I started by looking at other sites. We have a few weddings to attend this year and browsed a few of the sites offered. They all offered the functionality I was looking for but just not what we wanted.
I started off with hosting. As per this post, I’ve now found decent, reliable hosting at a frankly absurd price (£1 per month! – Affiliate link). As long as you have some System Administration and Security know-how – its a cinch to set up.
I’ve also bought myself an email hosting service that was discounted during Black Friday from MXRoute. It came to a total of $10 annually. It also now routes most of my other mail. This is also important as I didn’t want to use the built in PHP Mailer.
Next, I went with the tried and tested versatile can-do-anything site maker, WordPress. I had toyed with the idea of self coding everything but after seeing what was available, there was absolutely no need.
I kept the standard theme from WordPress, Twenty Nineteen and set about making the pages. My next hurdle was the RSVP, and there’s a plugin that’s designed just for that, which I ended up getting direct from the authors site – however it looks like I managed that timing particularly well as they only offer it via the WordPress site now. Functionality looks similar but your mileage may vary.
To keep the whole lot safe I’ve installed a couple of more security conscious plug-ins to stop spray and focused attacks, and replaced the built in wpmail() function with a plugin that allows me to specify my own mail server.
Designing the invites was done via a Wedding stationary company, but for the RSVP code also came in handy. I created a very small snippet that took a selection of letters (with obvious easy-to-mistake letters removed) and set about making unique 3 letter codes for each guest to RSVP. That, coupled with an Excel spreadsheet to get all the data in a nice format meant a bulk upload to the RSVP plugin was easy.
For making the RSVP cards I decided to purchase a small Brother QL-700 – normally £40 but I managed to get a (hardly) used one for £20. 62mm labels with unlimited length came in at a pitiful £5. The Brother software is actually pretty flexible and can take an Excel (or CSV) file as an input database and allowed me to print, to sticky labels. I made use of the append
(C1 & "TEXT" & C2)
function in excel to get all the individual columns set the way I like and the software allowed certain columns to be input as a QR code.
It turned the Excel spreadsheet from similar to this
And allows labels for postage to be printed.
The website will stay the way it is until the day of the wedding, at which point I’ll make the whole thing a PDF document, and remove the site and replace it with any images that are shared with us by our friends and family attending, with an option to download the original in a PDF form.