Like it or not, social media is here to stay. It will surely be a part of your wedding, so a few tips about prudent use might prove invaluable.
Let’s consider three areas: wedding websites, invitations and handling social media.
It is increasingly common for couples to use wedding websites, Facebook pages and/or designated hashtags. The website should give directions to the venue (especially for more remote locations) and information about attire. Will it be outdoors? What sort of terrain should guests expect? If dress is important to you, don’t assume that everybody is going to know your expectations.
If you want to share details about your ‘story’, that is fine, but don’t go over the top. Make them tasteful and sincere.
Obviously, you are going to include essentials such as date, time and place.
You may also have particular feelings about whether or not your wedding will be child-friendly or not. It may be better to approach this via the website, as you will have space to explain/justify your requests.
You don’t want to cause unintentional offence by excluding someone’s child while including somebody else’s. However, if that latter child has been invited as a bridesmaid, that’s not so bad. Or if you feel obliged to limit children to, say, ten for budgetary reasons, you could explain this. (Fore-warned is fore-armed!) Of course, you may at least still be able to invite the whole family to the wedding ceremony only.
Do read my article on children at weddings for more discussion on this subject.
If accommodation for guests is going to be an issue, your website can offer options and information.
A website is good for telling people about gifts, including whether there is a wedding list etc., not least because it can be updated. (However, information can go on a standard invitation too.)
Handling social media
Make sure you leave no doubt about social media rules. In my role as civil celebrant, I am increasingly seeing signs in the venue as people come in, informing them of the couple’s wishes – eg “Unplugged Ceremony”.
Let people know if they should not post photos of the big day until you have done so. This may apply especially to pictures of the bride before she’s walked down the aisle, so specify your wishes.
A hashtag is one way to track wedding photos from guests, so make sure you give out the information as to which hashtag your wedding will be using.
If you’re inviting a lot of VIPs, it may be better to request social media silence from your guests.
As a guest, if you’re not happy about something that happened (or didn’t) at the wedding, don’t put that on social media. The couple probably put a lot of effort in to planning the event, and, with the best will in the world, things can get overlooked or go wrong. (At my wedding, I genuinely forgot to invite an aunt to the family supper afterwards, and that understandably didn’t go down well, although relations were restored after a while!)
Social media and the internet should add to the experience, not cause stress or detract from the couple. Be careful and respectful.