Social media and weddings have been in the news a lot lately. There was the Israeli couple whose friends threw them a wedding with donations gathered on Facebook. There was Neil Diamond’s recent nuptials, which he announced on Twitter. There was even a story about a couple who set up a Twitter station in lieu of a guest book at their reception. Social media can be a very useful wedding tool, but it has to be managed well. These are some tips for dealing with social media and your wedding.
A few years back, a groom made a sensation by updating his Facebook status to married at the altar right after saying his marriage vows. It was funny and novel, although in my opinion, also in somewhat questionable taste (he couldn’t have waited until he was in the limo at least?). These days, I get a lot of questions from brides asking if they can ban their guests from reporting about their weddings on social networking sites. They don’t want guests live tweeting from the church (omg – bride just tripped on her train!), nor do they want their wedding pictures to be plastered all over Facebook. In other words, they want to retain some sense of ownership and control over their own wedding.
I advise brides that they can have some, but not complete, control over how others treat their wedding on social media. It would be entirely reasonable to put a note in the wedding program requesting, “Please silence your cell phones. We kindly ask that guests refrain from using mobile devices during the ceremony. Thank you for your consideration.” As long as people comply, that will take care of both the real-time tweeting and the annoyance of ringing cell phones interrupting your ceremony.
Facebook can pose several wedding-related dilemmas. First of all, the bride (and her fiance) need to resist the temptation to over-share details about their wedding. If you reveal too many details before the big day, you will diminish the impact of when guests see things for real on the actual wedding day. When the bride makes her appearance in her wedding gown and fabulous bridal jewelry, it should take everyone’s breath away. That is harder to achieve if they have all seen pictures of you trying on your dress or you have posted all of your wedding details on Pinterest. You also need to be careful not to complain about your wedding on Facebook, but it will inevitably get back to the person about whom you are talking. Even if you are not “friends” with them, it will end up getting passed along by others until they hear.
As far as controlling what others post about your wedding on Facebook, I have a few suggestions. One is to spread the word among your family and friends that you would prefer they not post images from your ceremony or reception. This needs to be done by word of mouth or perhaps by posting a message to all of your Facebook friends; directives do not belong on the wedding invitations! Also, set your privacy settings to the highest level so that you will be notified if you are tagged in a picture or post and can decide if you wish to permit it. Finally, don’t do anything at your wedding you would be embarrassed to see on Facebook or You Tube. That way when pictures do end up in social media forums (and they will), you will be looking gorgeous and behaving like a proper bride should.