My cousin and his fiancée (P and K) get married later this year and I’ve offered to create a wedding website for them as their gift. Partly to remind myself and partly for the benefit of anyone curious, I’m going to record here the steps I take to make their wedding website a reality. It will also give you an idea of whether or not you can manage to do all this yourself or whether you need to pay somebody else to do it.
The reason I didn’t go with an online wedding building site is because I like to have more control over design, (yes we designers are a bit OCD about this stuff.) Plus I’d also like the site to be around for a while and most of those sites only include 6 months or so. Scroll down for a link to a blog post that lists and links to some of the best free wedding sites.
(…you will probably notice that there are long stretches of time between updates, this is because I can only work online for short stretches of time and am often unable to manage even that. Luckily the wedding is many months away.)
- We’d decided on the domain name and I checked to see if it was available, bought it, opted out of the WHOIS register, set up an associated email account, and took a while to remember and set up the nameservers and A records etc so that when people type in the domain name it takes them to the website. Altering the DNS records requires some time to take effect so I didn’t know if all was ok until the following day.
- Next I registered the domain to my hosting account as an add-on domain, (I’d checked the IP address and nameservers etc for redirecting the domain url when I did the first step, these two steps overlap somewhat) and installed the WordPress framework. Fortunately my Hosting company, Bluehost, has a wizard that does this for you so I didn’t have to get involved in any FTP…
- I have a developers account with Elegant Themes, which means I have access to all the short code plugins, photoshop templates, theme builders and such as well as all their themes. They have a new theme called ‘Divi‘ which is pretty much a drag and drop theme builder with masses of useful modules, so I downloaded the Divi zip file and installed it.
- Started to explore and play with the Divi theme. Uploaded a photo I had edited previously for their landing page and created a page to see what one image module would look like. Beginning to suspect that it might not be the right way to go…so now regretting the time I spent playing with colours. Note to self: do tweaks like colours after the main framework/theme has been completed. D’Oh!
- Reviewed all the themes to see if there’s one that fits my brief better to use as starting point. Wondering if Divi will be fine and its just that I need to spend a chunk of time learning to use it properly…fibro brain takes it’s time with new stuff. Unfortunately.
- Before yesterday’s meeting I’d done masses of research due to the fact that this whole wedding website phenomenon was all new to me. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for some of the useful sites/links found during my information hunting. Eventually I may create a sidebar on this page with useful links.
- To give my brain a rest from the concentrated thinking of learning how to use Divi to it’s full potential I started to search for bright pink icons. Suspect I may have to create them from scratch. Meh.
- Before the meeting I drew up a list of questions about what they wanted their site to contain, from this information I’ve created a list of things that I now need from them, like photos of the wedding party and brief bios etc.
- Just spent a ridiculous amount of time choosing fonts and then installing the font chosen for headings onto my Macbook (had to learn how to do that on a Mac) so that I could make a logo for the site header.
- Bit too much time spent on investigating how Divi works, although as I think I’ll use it as the theme for the Nourish Creativity site this wasn’t wasted time. Googled colour codes and then discovered that apart from the background t
he only way to alter this theme’s colours will be by delving into the code. (Shows you shouldn’t work for too long because you get stuff wrong…) Bugger. Lets hope they like purple with pink instead of grey…suspect it’s time I stopped for the day! There will be payback… (There was.)
- Finally got around to installing Photoshop Elements 12 so that I can create their logo.
- Browsed around for illustrations, (which is when I found the kissing couple cartoon above.) Bought some bits and bobs from Vector Stock. Will add link to the image shown soon.
- Created the logo. Added it to the site menu bar and the password plugin login page and then set up the password plugin which you can customise in a range of ways, (like leaving the landing page visible but protect the rest of the site for example) if you upgrade to the premium paid version. Which I did, for $10.
- Installed the RSVP plugin. Emailed the happy couple to let them know what needs to be done with it, (needs an excel file of the guest list or everything inputting manually.) Suspect we may go with a simple email contact form for the RSVP page…
- Looked at a LOT of wedding sites to sketch some page layout ideas. Ended up concluding that I may use some of the pre-designed Divi layouts, they’re actually more inspiring than most wedding websites…
- Googled for images of the wedding venues and parish priest and found some useful links for the site.
- Went looking for guest book plugins, seems that there’s only one option. Downloaded the zip file and installed it on the site.
- Had an idea about creating a quiz for the site, so after asking the happy couple and then telling them what I’d need from them, I went hunting for quiz plugins. This article was very useful, and knowing how much the couple and their friends are attached to their smartphones I’ve decided on this quiz plugin.
- Installed and set up a countdown timer widget to show how long until the wedding in page sidebars.
- Uploaded a background image and installed it on a few pages so that the menu bar is an image rather than a solid colour. Changed the font colour and position of text to make it readable. (Background is the one I bought from Vector Stock and has hearts on it…in pink.)
- Need to unzip the vector illustrations, name them and file them on mac. Meh, hate this kind of housekeeping stuff 😉 Also want to crop the paper style background from the cartoon couple images. See…there’s lots to do to make a website folks, that’s why it’s so expensive to get somebody else to do it.
- Using an image from Vector Stock in Photoshop Elements I’ve made the poem for their gift page.
- Then I created the gift page, created the page template, uploaded the poem image and then added a link to something I did a few weeks ago which was…
- Made some templates for gift boxes using the ‘Foldify’ app on my iPad. Uploaded them to Dropbox for easy downloading. If you want to use these for Valentines day or similar, the link is here.