Social media: the ‘something new’ in today’s weddings
By Carol Zimmermann
WASHINGTON (CNS)—Modern brides and grooms might have a hard time balancing the adage that they need “something old, something new” at their weddings since the new is at every corner.
What’s new—and getting newer by the minute—is technology’s role in today’s weddings from the first day a couple announces their engagement on Facebook to blog posts about their honeymoon and everything in between such as online sites for wedding vendors and apps for wedding hairstyles, dresses and budget calculators. Social media sites also allow members of the wedding party to “meet” prior to the big day while Twitter or live video streaming allows guests who couldn’t make the ceremony to follow along.
For Catholic couples, the Internet is also a source for online marriage preparation programs and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website foryourmar riage.org provides advice not only for the wedding day but for married life.
Wedding sites such as theknot.com offer engaged couples advice about how to navigate the myriad of new technological tools on the Emily Post Institute spells out some wedding etiquette technology rules on its website, emilypost.com.
This is all relatively new territory and certainly was never anticipated in 1922 when Emily Post wrote: “Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home.”
Today the etiquette go-to site acknowledges that many engaged couples use wedding websites, often called “wed-sites” to post photos, information on travel and lodging for the wedding, updates, electronic RSVP options and links to store gift registries.
It doesn’t frown on these sites; it just advises couples to use them with discretion and not post too much information on them.
As far as emails go, the site emphatically emphasizes that invitations and thank you notes can never, ever, be sent electronically. It stipulates that emails can be used for “save the date” notices, wedding invitation replies, announcements to uninvited friends and family, invitations to pre-wedding get-togethers and lodging information.
In emails, just as with wedding websites, the Emily Post folks once again stress the need for discretion. The site says couples may send wedding updates through emails but urges them not to “flood the in-boxes” of their guest list with regular updates and not to share “overly personal details.”
To manage social media at weddings before it becomes akin to an unruly wedding crasher, wedding websites offer the following tips:
— Wedding guests and certainly the bride and groom need to stay offline during the ceremony.
— To limit the number of updates right after the ceremony or during the reception, appoint an official “tweeter” or one or more “Tweet of Honor” so everyone isn’t preoccupied with sending wedding updates.
— Do away with disposable cameras and set up a shared online photo account such as Flickr so guests can upload photos they take.
— Don’t post a photo of the bride until she posts one—which falls under the category of this is the couple’s day, not the guests’.
Technology’s place in the modern wedding is clearly not leaving. According to a “What’s on Brides’ Minds” by David’s Bridal, a wedding gown retailer, nearly half of today’s brides update their Facebook account with new name or relationship status within a day of taking their vows.
And 44 percent of brides are interested in doing whatever it takes to get their 15 minutes of YouTube fame, such as a choreographed dance down the aisle or first dance.
At Catholic weddings, bridal parties walking or even dancing down the aisle to popular music, just isn’t going to happen.
Father Joseph Gagnon, a senior priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit, who has officiated hundreds of weddings, stressed that marriage, just like any sacrament, is in large part “communication at its heart.”
That communication—without any flashy updates—might be just what couples need for the “something old” balance.