One of the more confusing 2014 wedding trends is social media. There are as many people looking for ways to incorporate social media in to their wedding as there are people writing "please no tweeting during the ceremony" on their wedding programs. If you're looking for ways to incorporate social media in to your wedding, we've got some ideas, and some cautions.
First, the cautions:
Social media is public.
That means everyone from your fiance's ex fiancee to your boss can see everything you post about your wedding. Do you have a friend from college that you're not inviting? That's fine, but if you're on Facebook with her (or she's on Facebook with your Maid of Honor) she knows your wedding plans. It's one thing not to invite someone, it's another thing to rub someone's face in it.
Social media can be confusing.
You're used to checking in or tweeting on the go. That's fine, but when you're trying to give people information or collect information doing so from your phone might not be the best idea. People don't read as carefully on social media as they do in other formats and they're more likely to take offense.
Not everyone uses social media.
It's great to send info about the bridal shower via a Facebook Group, except for that one cousin who refuses to join Facebook. Everyone has social media holdouts in their life, that doesn't mean you don't want to communicate with them about your wedding.
Social media is permanent.
You know this, but before you set up that # on Instagram to collect wedding photos from friends, think about whether you want every single wedding photo to be permanent. Your mother yelling at your drunk brother? Your freak out at the florist that someone happened to capture? Once they're posted anywhere they could all wind up on someone's blog about bad wedding behavior.
Social media takes people out of the moment.
One reason to hire a professional photographer is because you don't want your friends to miss participating in your wedding because they're so busy documenting it. The same is true of social media, it's hard to participate in a moment if you have to tweet about it.
OK, now that we've got the warnings out of the way, let's talk about some fun ways you can use social media for planning and sharing your wedding.
Do you have bridesmaids spread around the country or with different work schedules? With Google Hangouts you can talk to everyone at once. If you want input from bridesmaids or family about colors, dresses, etc consider setting up group Pinterest boards. Although it seems like an invitation to a lot of unwanted advice, it may provide a helpful outlet. Don't forget that you can also use Pinterest to communicate with vendors about your ideas, just don't rely too much on the pin, conversations are important, too.
Unless you have a strict no phone photo policy at your wedding your friends and family will take photos at your wedding. Creating a hashtag for your wedding (ex: #jayandterry) ahead of time and including it in wedding information will help you collect all of the photos after the wedding. As mentioned above, you may not want ALL the photos, but some of them may be gems. A program called Chute will collect all photos tweeted with a specific hashtag for you.
If you have some guests that will be all over the idea of live tweeting your reception and others that will be greatly annoyed, consider setting up a social media station. Set up a laptop or ipad in one section of the room and ask people to confine their social media action to that corner. You can close the station during important moments.
If your goal is to encourage social media at your wedding don't forget to publicize your hashtag with signs and provide charging stations as well.