1. If you have knowledge of web design, DIY to save money. The easiest way to do it is to customize a blog. You’ll need to add to it as time passes, and updating a blog is the easiest and fastest way to do that. Purchase your domain name (inexpensive) to host the site. You can continue to use that domain later, adding honeymoon blogs, and online wedding albums. Install blogging software through movabletype.com. Although they have some pre-designed templates, you can also design the site from scratch to match your printed materials. Movable Type is completely customizable and is free for personal use. There’s also blogger.com, a really popular site that’s free. You can link to outside websites (think your hotel, your registry, etc.) and upload pictures, of course. Use Web-editing software—Adobe GoLive CS2 or Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 (expensive!)—to tweak the stylesheets, and Photoshop to compose the graphics.
2. Or, hire a professional if all this sounds like mumbo-jumbo. New York City is filled with web designers for hire (try Windsor McKenna; 212-522-4671). Or take an HTML class. The NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers a course called “Create Your Own Website in Three Easy Sessions.” The class teaches basic HTML coding and will help you get your site up and running in three weeks ($275, on Saturdays).
3. Once you’re set up, decide what to post. Include a calendar-countdown to the big day, as well as a list of your favorite things to do in the city—restaurants and shops you frequent, as well as museums that guests might not find in guidebooks. Include whatever helpful information you wouldn’t dare try to stuff into your beautiful invitation. For example, offer details on parking, transportation, what to pack, as well as the availability of handicapped-accessible rooms, cost of hotel crib rentals, etc. Make the site interactive; provide links to as much as possible. It’s a good place to post photos from other wedding-related events, like the engagement celebration, the shower, and the bachelorette party. Just don’t post anything incriminating, as the site will most likely be Google-able. And for the love, don’t post a quiz about yourselves!