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I love weddings, and I love wedding planning. But as much as I’ve written advice and shared insights with friends, there’s one element that has always made me hesitate: wedding websites like Zola and Minted. Not only is there an ongoing debate about if a wedding website is a must-have, but knowing how these two popular wedding websites compare makes a big difference in taking the next step.
With my background not only studying the wedding industry but also creating my websites, I’ll give you my honest opinion about Zola vs Minted compared. To do that, I’ll delve into the background of both companies, covering pricing, main features, and other customer reviews.
The verdict of Zola vs Minted may surprise you– and give you enough insight to decide what wedding website makes sense for your events.
Bottom Line Up Front Summary: I’d most recommend using Minted for a basic website only. While I love Zola’s integrated, all-in-one planning, I have a lot of concerns with its registry and customer service. Minted also has more unique designs and design inspiration– as well as the ability to upload video.
Main Differences Between Zola vs Minted
- Zola has an integrated wedding registry, while Minted has a basic website builder
- Zola has hotel and vendor finding tools, while Minted has more unique designs
- Zola allows you to plan multiple events, while Minted allows you to import videos
Zola vs Minted Company History
Even for wedding websites, the first thing I check is company history. A wedding is one of the most important days of your life, and while I think some can get carried away, you want to make sure you’re planning with a company you understand. There are some interesting differences, and similarities, between Zola and Minted’s company histories.
I came across the name Zola just several years ago, not long after its founding in 2013. The company received a lot of hype because it added features some wedding websites hadn’t. Rather than just allowing couples to create their website, co-founders Shan-Lyn Ma and Nobu Nakaguchi banked on a central principle: an all-in-one planning website. Though The Knot and some other websites have this now, it was a huge reason why it got off to such a great start.
Four years later, Zola added even more planning services and connections to stores (notably Crate and Barrel). But one of the things I find most interesting is Zola’s decision to open up a physical store a few years ago. Unfortunately, it’s only in New York City. But what I like about this is Zola has always been interested in innovating the wedding website service into something both more intuitive and more personal.
Now Minted’s company history is a bit more interesting. Why? If you’re like me, you probably have come across the company first not for wedding websites, but cards and envelopes. The company still sees itself as a “design marketplace.. of independent artists,” according to their website. It started 6 years before Zola, back in 2007. The idea was pretty exciting in its own right: a crowdfunded website where customers and investors could support, and continue to support, independent designers.
There have been contests for card designs, wall prints, and now, another decor. It’s part online marketplace, part of a place for discovering independent artists. They set up a physical store in the Bay Area in 2016. It’s hard to say when they started offering wedding website planning, but it’s more of an additional feature as opposed to their main focus.
As much as they are different, there are some similarities between Zola and Minted’s company history. Zola and Minted both began as start-ups, with a desire to innovate for more possibilities and more creativity. But Zola eventually attracted more investors and it’s always been focused on wedding websites and planning. Minted is a more traditional company, with stationary and supporting independent artists still at the core of their business. I admire Minted, but I do think it’s obvious that Zola is more focused on wedding websites.
Zola vs Minted Cost
I admit it: I’m always looking for ways to be thrifty and save a little money. But I also know that there are often hidden costs for making or maintaining wedding websites. Luckily, both Zola and Minted offer options that I think make sense for different couples. The key is understanding what your options are.
You don’t need any promo or coupon codes to create a website through Zola. A basic website and planning tools are both cost-free. Zola makes all of its money through its online store– but there’s a catch. Any guest buying a gift through Zola also pays a ‘general processing fee.’ So the good news is that Zola is free for couples– guests just have to pay an extra fee.
But if you want a custom URL, you’ll have to pay a little. Prices start at $14.95– but they don’t make it clear how high those prices can go.
Minted and Zola are pretty much the same. Like Zola, Minted offers cost-free websites, no promo or coupon codes are needed. And just like Zola, Minted allows you to create a custom URL– this time, for a flat price of $15 a year, regardless. Minted makes money through its online and physical stores.
There isn’t a big difference in cost– you can start a free website through both Zola and Minted. While having a custom URL makes it easy for people to find you, that could be a con ( it would be for me) for couples who want to keep things private to their guests. The only edge I see is that Minted is guaranteed to charge a certain amount for a customized URL.
Zola vs Minted Wedding Planning Tools
I prefer a wedding website that offers all-in-one features– the ability to be able to cross-list registries. This is where the differences between Zola vs Minted get pretty interesting.
Zola calls itself an all-in-one wedding website/ planning service, and while it won’t replace a wedding planner, I more or less agree. Zola offers a myriad of services, and they have apps for pretty much everything. I admit: I’m old school, so I’d just use desktop versions. But it’s pretty handy to have those options for planning on the go.
Most of their tools are self-explanatory, but I want to touch on the registry. Zola’s registry includes honeymoon funds, and the ability to search by brand, collections, cash funds/ experiences, or general categories.
Featured brands include some pretty well-known and respected brands, such as Le Creuset (a favorite of mine), Kitchenaid, Brooklinen, Sonos, Kade Spade New York, Cuisinart, and many more. Kitchen, bed and bath, furniture, lighting, decor, electronics, luggage, clothing, and outdoor goods are just a few categories.
What stands out to me are the cash funds. While not for everyone, they allow guests to gift couples experiences for travel, or even local experiences. Gifts come with exchange options, plus free shipping- and Zola does it for you, cutting out the pain for guests who can’t make it to the wedding but want to send a gift.
But probably the feature that sold me most is Zola’s willingness to sync other registries to your website. In other words: you can use Zola’s store, but you don’t have to only use it.
This is the one category I find– for lack of a better term– a little cheesy. Don’t get me wrong: I love that they offer a collection of advice articles. They’re organized by category, and there’s nothing wrong with them, but I was expecting something both more unique and more personal.
Minted is different immediately in terms of layout. It has a more artistic look to its wedding planning tab, but, I admit, it’s also a bit less organized vs Zola. Their wedding websites include RSVP options, guest lists, and the ability to add videos and photos.
They offer wedding websites, and a plethora of save the date, invitation, and stationary options. Those stationary options are unique and well-made, including designs for wedding programs, menus, seating charts, and more. Lux paper, envelope addressing, free samples, and custom designs are all perks.
I wasn’t too surprised about Minted vs Zola in this category. Minted excelled for stationary and custom designs, but Zola has several advantages for the wedding website itself. I’m a visual learner and planner, so I laid out the main planning feature differences in the table below.
|Guest List Manager||The Guest List Manager handles RSVPs, meal options, and automatically connects to invitations||Not Included|
|Invitations, RSVP, Save the Dates||Included in Guest List Manager, as well as paper and digitally save the dates, invitations||Wide range of beautiful, unique paper and digital RSVPs, invitations, save the dates, and more, including free personalized samples|
|Checklist||Included||Included under wedding planning guide|
|“Expert” Advice||There’s a collection of advice articles and a customer service section||There’s a Wedding Planning Guide, which covers guest lists, planning, and etiquette articles|
|Registry||Included– you can use Zola’s Registry and/ or import your own||Not Directly Included|
|Wedding Day Stationery||Menus, programs, thank you cards, and holiday cards||Yes– many customized templates for menus, programs, seating arrangements, save the dates, and more|
|Apps/ On the Go Design||Included||Included|
|Multiple Event Scheduler||You can create multiple events, as well as seating charts, and directly sync them to your website||Not Directly Included, though designs are highly customizable to include information|
|Hotel Block Booking/ Accommodations||Hotel Quote and Accommodation Finder||None|
|Vendors||Integrated Vendor Search allows you to find vendors based on type and location||Not Included|
|Custom URL (optional)||Yes, Starting at $14.95||Yes, for $15/ Year|
Looking over my review of the main features, it’s clear: Zola has far more integrated features for their wedding websites. However, Minted is handy in some areas if you don’t need all the integrated online features.
Zola vs Minted Website Designs
Some will care most about the features of a website, while others are interested in the layout and design options. I think both are important. The only way I can fully review and compare Zola vs Minted is to cover all features, and the differences are striking.
Zola offers a little over 300 templates, all of which are pretty easy to use and customize. If you’re ever played with a basic website builder like Wix, I don’t think you’re going to have too much trouble. I wouldn’t say that designs are extraordinarily unique– but they’re well done, and there’s plenty of variety. I like the search and filter features. You can search by colors and design types. Themes include: elegant, classic, formal, greenery, rustic, destination, beach, boho, simple, modern, vintage, and watercolor.
They offer a handy Website FAQ, which I like because we’re not all design experts. Simply put: Zola gets the job done, but there’s nothing unique or innovative about their websites on a design level.
Minted, like Zola, has many designs to choose from, but it’s a little unclear how many. By my look, it does appear to be in the low 100s– somewhere around 200-300. These designs are all made by independent creators, and I do notice a difference.
They feel a bit more unique. Like Zola, you can sort for templates based on color and style, but also season and venue type. Styles include: modern, simple/ minimalist, rustic, boho, painterly, funny, classic and formal, botanical, vintage, bold, illustrative, beach/ nautical, cities, heritage, and watercolor. There’s just a bit more variety, a little bit more personal touch, and a few more details that make these customizable templates more unique.
They also offer more help with designing your website. While they don’t go as much into basics, they go beyond examples, including design inspiration and style quizzes. There’s a whole selection of Minted Real Weddings and plenty of tools to help you fully customize your design. There’s also the benefit of being able to import videos.
|Wedding Website Design Feature||Zola||Minted|
|Pre-made Design Templates||300+||100’s, Varies|
|Original Artwork/ Independent Creators||No||Yes|
|Design Creation||Wedding Inspiration Article and examples||Design quiz, website examples, real weddings, design advice articles|
I prefer Minted for its unique design options, design inspiration, and more. The ability to import videos is another plus. However, I felt Zola is a bit more intuitive for people who’ve never designed a website before. Minted allows a more artistic range, while Zola makes it easy to get started.
Zola vs Minted Customer Service & Reviews
I know what you are thinking: why worry about customer service if it’s about creating a wedding website? Well, from personal experience I know things can go wrong. There might be an error linking or syncing materials. There may be a mistake you make and have trouble correcting. Whether there is an error on the tech side or you just need help navigating through creating a website, it’s a good idea to have a solid backing of positive customer service. That’s why I was interested to see how Zola and Minted Compared.
If you go on Zola’s website reviews, customers seem pretty happy, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. The problem? Relying only on external reviews really could have bias. So I always look on external websites. While the website designer itself doesn’t have poor reviews, the registry has many complaints. Trust Pilot and Influenster reviews indicate 2.5 to 3 out of 5 stars. There are shipping issues, not obeying email notification preferences, redeeming gifts, and more. While it still has a not-accredited A plus rating on Better Business Bureau, I was sad to see many complaints, averaging out to a 1.05/5-star rating.
Minted is also a little tricky because there are reviews for both the website and stationary. On Wedding Wire, Minted averaged 4.5 out of 5 stars. Those ratings were 3.5/ 5 on Trust Pilot and a mere 1.56/ 5 on Site Jabber. Concerned about the widely-ranging reviews, I checked the Better Business Bureau website. It’s the same story as Zola: just 1.05/ 5 stars.
There are many shipping issues, though fewer complaints about the website vs Zola. But there were substantial complaints about a lack of customer service presence, too.
You can contact Minted online or you can get help through a phone call.
I was disappointed in this category. I will say that many shipping delays may be outside of the company’s control. But I was concerned about assertions about Minted failing to respond, and the many issues associated with the gift registry through Zola. Neither are up to the standards I’d like to see– and some issues could improve if supply chain issues decrease. At the same time, I wouldn’t feel comfortable using Zola’s registry or ordering paper stationery from Minted. I’d stick to the basic websites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Wedding websites are becoming more popular than ever and for good reason. They’re a central location to direct guests to travel plans, gift registries, accommodations, and provide a general welcome message. It’s a great way to organize your wedding and make guests feel welcome. However, I don’t agree with the message that you must have a wedding website. So long as you provide the information necessary for your guests on your invitations (and include RSVPs for planning), you can get by without a wedding website. Ultimately, you have to decide based upon your needs what makes sense. Discuss with your partner to make the best decision possible.
Answer: One thing you need to include on your wedding website or invitations is something that I sometimes see couples forget about: attire. This is more important than you’d think. Assigning a dress code may sound stuffy, but it sets the tone for your wedding. The most common attire types are:
Attire Wording to List and What it Means
White Tie: Rather uncommon- guests arrive informal gown, tuxedos, and fancy footwear
Black Tie: Usually for evening events– floor-length dresses, pantsuits, formal suits
Black Tie Optional: One of the most popular- can combine black tie and/ or cocktail
Cocktail: One of the most popular- tea-length dresses, formal but more relaxed suits
Semi-Formal: Pantsuits, skirts, dressy attire, often a bit more laid-back
Casual: Reserved for beach, backyard, and outdoors weddings- guests can arrive in anything, including jeans
You can include a brief description/ what it means if you’re worried your guests may not do their research.
Answer: Either on your wedding website or your invitations, you should include a message about COVID if you have health and safety concerns. For example, a friend of my boyfriend’s required guests to be vaccinated or have a negative test. Some still require masks at weddings. Others don’t have any requirements at all. The etiquette is that you should be upfront if you have health standards ahead of time. That way guests can make decisions for themselves.
Final Thoughts/ Verdict
That was a difficult decision to make. Zola offers far more for all-in-one wedding planning, but the website designs are superior through Minted. For a website alone that’s personal and unique, Minted is better. As an all-over wedding service, Zola is.
But considering concerning reviews and issues, I’d only recommend using Minted or Zola for their websites, nixing out the registry, or other orders. As such, of the two, I prefer designing with Minted. There are just too many concerns to recommend Zola’s wedding registry, and I also wouldn’t order anything online. I think there are better wedding website planners out there in 2022, and one comes to mind.
Zola and Minted Alternative: Hitched or Wix
For now, a lot of wedding planners are websites are struggling with their registry options. My best friend is getting married soon, and I’d recommend to her this same option. Both Wix and Hitched are website builders that are easy to use, free, and customizable– without the concerning reviews.
Hitched is more specialized, offering guest surveys as well as basic design templates. Both websites offer premium and basic layouts and URLs. You’d need to provide a link to your registry, and neither offers all-in-one planning. Still, there’s a lot of room for flexibility, and you can choose a registry you love and trust. View Hitched Here or Create with Wix Here.