There are so many websites out there that allow you to create a wedding website. Many of them for free! But on the outside, they can seem nearly identical. So it’s hard to tell before you go through all of the work of signing up and testing it out, which one is best.
I tested out the most popular free wedding websites out there to compare them and give you definitive advice on which website maker is best. In this article I’ll be comparing two similar companies that allow you to create a wedding website for free – The Knot and Zola.
Let’s start with an overview of both companies:
What is The Knot?
The Knot is a digital publisher owned by the media company XO Group. They own other digital properties you may be familiar with such as the Bump and the Nest. They’ve been around since 1996 and are one of the biggest sources of wedding information on the Internet. The Knot runs a survey of real wedding couples every year that tracks trends, average costs, and more information about the wedding industry.
What is Zola?
Zola is primarily an online wedding registry that lets you add gifts, experiences, cash funds, and gifts from other stores, all in one place. They also sell products and help you plan your wedding. They were established in 2013.
The Knot Versus Zola Overall
I’m going to get into more detail on each of these categories for both companies. But first I wanted to provide a snapshot of the overall comparison. So if you’re looking to make a quick decision between the two, take a look at this table and pick the one that’s the best fit for you. And jump to the summary to read my final recommendation.
|Wedding Website and Registry||The Knot||Zola|
|Customize URL||Yes||Yes, but is still still lengthy|
|Premium URL||$19.99 / year||$19.99 / year (through go daddy)|
|Ease of Set Up||Easy||Easy|
|Completion Bonus and Perks||No||Yes|
|Matching Stationery Designs||Yes||Yes|
|Privacy||Option to hide from search and password||Password|
|Email Marketing||Medium||A lot|
The Knot Versus Zola on Price
You may be wondering if The Knot website costs money to use? Well I’m happy to report that The Knot does not cost money to use. And neither does Zola. Both websites are free to use to create your own website. So this category is a wash.
Why are The Knot and Zola free?
Both websites primarily make their money in other ways such as ecommerce or registry fees. By letting you create your wedding website with them for free, they are essentially using it as a lead magnet to get you to use their other products and services, as well as drive traffic to their sites from your guest list. It’s a great way for them to advertise and attract new customers by offering the service for free.
The Knot Versus Zola on Ease of Set up
Both the Knot and Zola were fairly easy to sign up for and create a wedding website.
I found that The Knot asked you a lot more questions in the beginning of the set up process but that made filling out the website information easier later on. They were able to auto populate a lot of the sections using your answers which helped in filling out the website details for guests. They asked things like reception venue, hotels in the area, etc. and prompted you to fill out the essential details as you went along.
Zola has fewer questions and was still very easy to fill out. One negative is that one of the fields didn’t auto populate with my wedding city location, as if that location wasn’t in their database. But it didn’t make that much of a difference.
The Knot Versus Zola on Registries and Perks
Here’s where the two start to differentiate themselves from each other. Because Zola’s main business is their registry they have a lot more to offer.
On Zola, you can add products directly to your Zola registry and link to registries on other sites. This is a plus if you’ve already started a registry somewhere else or like the perks of other registries. You can also add cash gift funds, gift cards, and experience funds to encourage guests to give you cash instead of physical items. This is the best way to discourage guests from cluttering up your home if you already have everything you need. Just only register for experiences, gift cards, and cash funds.
The Knot has most of these as well. Along with an option to ask your guests to donate to your favorite charity in lieu of a gift. Great for sustainability-focused couples or other causes that are near and dear to you. And The Knot has an automatic transfer option for cash gifts which will send the money to your bank as soon as it’s received.
The few draw backs of the Zola registry is they don’t have a charity option or an option to automatically transfer funds to your bank account.
Zola has a number of registry perks as well. There’s a 20% completion discount up to 6 months after your wedding date, free advisor consultation, discounts on other companies (e.g. Rent the Runway), and bonus gifts for certain purchased brand name items (e.g. Le Creuset, Cuisinart, etc.)
The Knot doesn’t currently offer any of these discounts or bonuses which is surprising. It’s fairly common for registries to offer bonuses like a completion discount or welcome gift boxes as an incentive.
When I registered for my wedding, I registered at Bloomingdales and synced it up with my wedding website on The Knot. And registering at Bloomingdales in New York City was an experience, let me tell you. You make an appointment with a concierge, they offer you fancy drinks, and you walk around the store scanning items like you’re on a shopping spree. Such a fun time!
If you’re not going to add an in-store registry to your online registry, I would try to recreate this experience at home with your spouse. It can be a really fun evening to have a few drinks, make some snacks and virtually browse through upgrades to all of your kitchen and home decor options. Adding all of it to your cart will certainly make you feel a little giddy if you like to shop.
Do be aware that Zola has a fee of 2.4% on cash gifts. This is fairly standard as the credit card companies charge a fee to Zola to accept credit card payments. The Knot has a similar fee of 2.5%.
The Knot Versus Zola on Trending Designs and Matching Accessories
Both companies have trendy designs to choose from. You’ll definitely find a look that matches your theme from boho to dark and moody to bright and colorful. Both The Knot and Zola also sell matching stationery. I’m a sucker for having all of my fonts and designs match across a design suite. So this is a great option to create a consistent look with virtually no effort. And it’s incredibly affordable to keep all of your designs with the same company, instead of hiring an independent designer to try and recreate a look.
The Knot Versus Zola on RSVPing and Other Features
Now we’re really getting into what sets these two companies apart. And to be honest Zola comes out ahead of The Knot in this area.
Both companies allow you to collect guest addresses in a spreadsheet simply by sending out a link to a form. This is incredibly helpful and I wish it existed when I was planning my wedding because collecting that information from 100+ guests can be a real pain. This allows you to text or email everyone to fill out their information seamlessly.
They also both allow you to collect RSVPs. So if you want to ditch the traditional RSVP card and ask guests to RSVP online, they make it easy to do.
Where Zola stands out: adding questions to your RSVP with different options (e.g. ask for a meal choice), add multiple RSVPs for different events, even create a QR code to put on your invitations to ask for an RSVP that way. (Which if you don’t know can save you money on invites and postage.)
Zola also has additional planning features like a seating chart planner based on your guest list, and ability to send out paperless save the dates.
The Knot also allows for multiple customizations on the RSVP page including limiting the RSVPs to only those on the guest list, showing other guests who has already RSVP’d and adding some questions like meal options.
Personally, I think limiting the RSVPs to only who is invited is going to cause you more stress than peace of mind. Unless you know people are going to try and invite themselves to your wedding (like a difficult family member or stalker), the limiting the RSVP thing just ends up locking people out accidentally if you spelled their email address wrong or they use an alternate. You’re going to have a lot more tech questions from relatives who can’t RSVP on that one.
I was really impressed with what Zola lets you do with your guest list data and options and think it sets Zola apart from the rest.
The Knot Versus Zola on Marketing Emails
Unfortunately, Zola gets a little spammy when you first sign up. They sent me emails every single day for a while. It eventually stopped. So if you’re sensitive to inbox overload, Zola might not be for you. Or just make sure you unsubscribe right away.
My Recommendation: Zola
Based on my extensive research into wedding website creators, I would say I have the definitive answer when it comes to which is better, The Knot or Zola.
Zola is better than The Knot when it comes to creating a wedding website, a registry, keeping track of RSVPs, and planning your wedding all in one place.
For the registry perks alone, it’s worth going with Zola. Even if you have your heart set on registering at a particular place for their perks, you can just sync it up with Zola. You can add things you were planning to buy like a new vacuum or kitchen appliance and then get 20% off after your wedding date. I also think Zola has better bonus planning tools than The Knot does in their seating chart maker. I remember having to find a separate program to do that for my wedding. Having it all in one place and linked to your guest list is so helpful.