You would be hard-pressed to find a wedding that isn’t documented in some way. Thanks to social platforms, your wedding will likely be immortalized in some way online — if not by you, by your guests. Even if it’s an elopement, you may not be safe from the visibility of social media.
Traditional weddings might have clearer etiquette guidelines, but modern weddings can get a bit trickier. When technology is introduced, the lines of wedding etiquette become blurred. Possible mishaps abound at every corner of the internet. Luckily, there are ways to circumvent these issues and have a seamless online wedding experience.
1. Announcing an Engagement on Social Media
One of the first things many people think about is announcing their engagement on social media platforms. It’s almost come to be expected that you make a post announcing the exciting news. However, this can come with some complications.
Every connection you have on social media can take the opportunity to comment on your ring, your partner, the upcoming wedding, and the photos on your post — though the ring is often a focal point.
Posting the Ring
You can stand out if you don’t have a large, traditional diamond. Instead, your social post could emphasize your wedding band made of tungsten. Take the photo in nature to highlight your lifestyle and your want for such a durable ring.
Context clues like this are a perk of social media. You’re able to shape the way your followers view your unique accessory by choosing surroundings that offer a sort of explanation. Other considerations you can make, if desired, include:
- Waiting to post until you’re ready;
- Keeping the date private for now;
- Making sure you have clean nails, if not manicured;
- Changing the post’s sharing settings;
- Telling close family and friends before posting;
- Highlighting what you love about your partner and your ring;
- Tagging the jeweler or brand.
Some couples opt to have a professional engagement shoot. This isn’t completely necessary, but it is a nice option if you want clean, crisp photos for social sharing. The cameras built into most smartphones offer rather sharp pictures if you’d rather skip the shoot. Check out the specs on your device, and grab a tripod with a remote clicker for best results.
2. Having a Virtual Wedding
Online or virtual weddings have more to them than just the livestreamed marriage ceremony. When it comes down to it, all aspects of a wedding can be transitioned to an online space.
Online Wedding Invitations
Even though your potential guests won’t have to travel to a physical destination, it’s a good idea to send out invites. Virtual invitations may still evoke the same feelings of exclusivity as classic wedding invitations. However, 75% of millennials report feeling special when receiving mail from friends and family on special occasions, so consider sending both virtual and snail-mail.
Regardless of whether you go with paper or digital invitations, you should always:
- Keep the digital-registry link out;
- Link to your wedding website instead — a good place to link the registry;
- Include instructions on how to RSVP.
Otherwise, online invitations should follow the same rules as traditional wedding invitations.
Virtual Wedding Guest Etiquette
Be clear about etiquette to guests of the virtual marriage ceremony. While gaining in popularity, online nuptials aren’t yet the norm. This leaves much room for error, but it’s nothing a little preparation can’t handle. Keep these considerations in mind when typing up that virtual-etiquette email:
- Cell-phone use;
- Dress code and video backgrounds;
- Gift expectations;
- Muted microphones;
- Plus ones;
- Recording of the session;
- Speeches and toasts.
When in doubt, lean on traditional wedding etiquette rules. Many can still apply, such as guests not wearing white. If it’s something exclusive to the digital-wedding realm, use your discretion to decide what would be appropriate. Remember that anything that happens on that recorded session is permanent.
3. Requesting No Social Media at Your Wedding
Some couples would rather their big day go unposted until after the fact. Even then, they may want to look over photos before guests share them with the online world. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.
Sneak peeks via wedding selfies are bound to happen, especially after guests help themselves to a few drinks at the open bar. Be prepared for some unflattering angles or embarrassing dance moves on someone’s profile story. Though not necessarily common, there is a chance you may end up on a “wedding-shaming” Facebook group.
Getting the Wording Right
You can ask guests before the wedding to refrain from posting to social media during the event. There are a few ways to go about this without sounding too harsh. Whether your wedding event is in-person or virtual, you can carefully craft your message to get the point across.
You could even opt for a trendy, “unplugged-ceremony” sign. Just make sure you:
- Include phones and cameras in the ban;
- Mention specifics — like when and where it’s okay to post;
- Remind guests to enjoy the moment.
It’s all about how you craft your message. You don’t want to upset guests, so put a positive spin on the tech ban. Urging them to be present during the ceremony will likely strike a chord and keep rogue devices at bay.
Even with preventative measures in place, there is no guarantee social posts won’t slip through the cracks. As long as you prepare yourself, it won’t ruin your big day — nor the memories after.
There are even some fun ways to incorporate social media into your wedding, like creating a wedding-specific hashtag or designing your own Snapchat filter. If you’re comfortable, mix these into your tech rules. This way, you can at least rein in the social media madness by categorizing the posts.
4. Dealing With Comparison
From secret elopements to celebrity weddings, every couple getting hitched has to deal with comparison. Social media makes it exceedingly easy to find — or just stumble across — others’ wedding posts. Perfectly posed pictures pop up on your Instagram feed, and Photoshopped, DIY decorations adorn your Pinterest wedding inspiration board.
Looking on the Bright Side of Social
Remember that social media and tech can be harnessed to enhance your experience. Although it can be harmful if overdone, a digital footprint for your wedding may bring people closer together. Friends and family that may not have been able to make a wedding in-person can now enjoy the ceremony from the comfort of their homes. People can share laughter and tears through the screen and across the world.
With all of this pristine wedding content available at the swipe of a finger, it may be hard to not let it get you down. The truth is that nothing is perfect, and most of those photos you see online aren’t representative of reality. An imperfect wedding can still be the best day of your life.