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Creating a modern wedding website in 2022: Introduction

· 3 min read
Paul Armstrong

Weddings are expensive. Trying to do one on a budget while following the social norms and expectations of planning and putting on a wedding just don't really mix. After getting engaged, Kelly and I discussed what we did and definitely did not want when it came to our wedding.

Oh hey, I'm getting married!

One of the first things to do that we threw out was the idea of sending paper invites. Not only is it incredibly wasteful, but we had just received a wedding invitation in the mail and it just seemed expensive, tacky, and impersonal. Take this RSVP card option that comes from popular wedding registry website redacted:

Call me not old-fashioned, but the “M____” line makes no sense to me. After researching, I guess you're supposed to fill in “Mr…”, “Mrs…”, or “Ms…”, but who uses that anymore? And what if you’re extra fancy and it should be “Dr…”? But really, why isn't this filled in for me? You should know who I am!

And you know what else? I'm just going to lose that if you send it to me. I'm not saying it happened… well, actually yeah it happened.

Do something better

So we decided we could do something better. I figure I've been building websites long enough that I should be able to handle it.

The following series will recount building a modern wedding website as a replacement for paper snail mail RSVPs.

Requirements

Before starting, we made a list of things that we needed in terms of functionality both for us and for our guests:

  • Free or very cheap hosting (wedding websites like theknot are already free, afterall) with a custom domain and SSL
  • Invitees must be able to
    • Sign in with their email address and no password (magic link email)
    • Manage their RSVP, as well as their plus-one and/or family, directly on the site
    • View a schedule of events with maps, times, details
    • RSVP separately for optional hosted events
    • Receive automated emails for their invitation and RSVP confirmation
  • All significant information must come from a protected database
    • For example, exact dates & locations should require authentication and not be compiled directly into JavaScript/HTML bundles
    • Mostly this is minor paranoia on my part to have some security on private information
  • Ability to import guest/invitee information from CSV
    • Immediately send invitation emails upon import
  • Ability to export RSVPs to a CSV for use in a spreadsheet (no "admin" site necessary)
    • Spreadsheets are much quicker for iteration and data manipulation than writing, committing, and deploying code
    • Allows my partner to have freedom and ownership
  • Minimal maintenance overhead
    • I'm not going to be "on-call" for this. I just want it up and running.
Multi-part series

This is the beginning of a multi-part series. The following other posts are ready now. Check back soon for more!

  1. Introduction
  2. Part 1: Choosing the tools
  3. More coming soon!