For today’s brides, especially those who dream of a traditional Southern wedding, it’s tricky to smartly incorporate social media and digital conveniences into the nuptials. Pressure from the MOB (like mine who furrowed her brow at the idea of a wedding website), Instagram-crazed girlfriends (“Puhleeeze post a picture of your ring!”), and tight budgets (yes, free e-vites are tempting) can leave even the most organized, decisive bride-to-be in a conundrum. Don’t fret girls. There IS a way to merge the traditions of yesteryear with our web-centric world of today.
12 Rules for #GettingMarried in a Digital World
1. TELL your parents, grandparents, and BFFs the big news
“We’re engaged!” and “We eloped!” are exclamations that should be heard directly from you, not read on Twitter. Give the special people in your life the courtesy of hearing the happy news first and from your mouth.
2. Send real invitations
E-vites will never be appropriate for a wedding. They’re free (or inexpensive) for a reason … they don’t properly get the job done. Just like a handwritten thank-you note, real invitations are irreplaceable in the way they set a tone, and make a recipient feel.
3. Offer a digital RSVP option
While invitations must be paper, an option to RSVP electronically is acceptable. Key word: option. Not everyone is savvy with computers or the Internet, so if you opt for an electronic RSVP, provide a traditional response card too. Trust me, you want to make it easy for people to reply because chasing down responses is really annoying. If you think old-fashioned reply cards are a silly waste, consider the heartwarming handwritten notes you’ll read when people send the cards back. I’ve kept and cherish the response cards from my wedding, especially ones from those who have passed.
4. Communicate wedding details in multiple ways
A website may be the best way to get info to your friends, but it might not work for your parents’ buddies. Consider all of your guests (they are, after all, making travel plans and booking babysitters just for you) and the most convenient way for them to consume information, especially tedious travel details. For example, set up a website for everyone, but call and explain hotel options to people who need extra guidance. Additionally, be careful about posting details on social media. You may hurt someone’s feelings if they’re not invited. You may also garner unsolicited (and unwelcome) opinions about your plans.
5. Provide an online gift-giving option
The South is famous for its local fine china and silver stores, and you should absolutely register with one of these traditional establishments. If your hometown’s finery shop doesn’t offer online purchasing, however, set up an additional registry that does.
6. Send real thank-you notes
Obviously. Although this goes without saying, it’s shocking how many people don’t do it (or take their sweet time getting it done). Just because people have one year to give you a gift doesn’t mean you can wait 365 days to thank them. Handwrite each note and send it in a timely manner. No exceptions. If you don’t do it (or if you send emails or texts instead … eek!), your bad manners will be the talk of the town.
7. When planning, keep most details under wraps
Like vows. Or the first dance song. Certainly your dress. You want the big day to be just that, a BIG day, so don’t steal its thunder by posting your fabulous plans on Facebook.
8. Communicate social media wishes to guests
The only way to control what and when wedding guests post is by telling them your preferences. Use cute signage, or get your wedding party to spread the word. Also, accept the fact there’s no way to control everything. Rest assured that if an unflattering picture surfaces, it can be taken down.
9. Consider the hashtag
Not only is a wedding hashtag the new disposable camera, it’s an easy way to aggregate the pics and posts from your event. It’s also a smart mechanism to monitor and control the posts afterward. Without one, you may not discover that pic someone posted of your tipsy bridesmaid. Choose a hashtag that makes sense in representing you and your beau and one that #doesnotembarrassgrandma. Extra points for telling your guests about it in a creative way.
10. Don’t allow phones at the ceremony
This is the most sacred moment of the day. If Kim and Kanye can request a kibosh on phone pics, you can too. Plus, an amateur flash can ruin your photographer’s groove. No need to confiscate phones–just remind people to “switch to off” in the ceremony program.
11. A phone is not a bridal accessory
Relinquish your own device to your mom or a bridesmaid. Your time is precious, so don’t spend it taking selfies, sending texts, or posting on Facebook. Live in-the-moment all day long, and leave pics and posts to the pros you’ve hired and your friends and family. If you absolutely can’t live without your phone, please carry it in a gorgeous clutch.
12. Unplug on your honeymoon
Before you leave, allow yourself to post just one pic from the day. Then, call your parents and maid of honor to thank them for being awesome. Finally, unplug and spend your honeymoon being madly in love with your new partner. You can spend hours trolling Instagram and updating your Facebook status when you get home. A honeymoon is an amazing vacation that ends quickly, so savor every second of it.