Social media has left no stone unturned. From creating a Facebook profile for a newborn to having a hashtag at someone’s funeral, we are likely to experience more and more of social media in our lives from cradle to grave. Therefore, it is no surprise that social media has infiltrated the wedding scene.
Well, I’m getting married in about 10 days in India and my to-be wife and I thought of giving social media a try for our wedding. From what started out as a purely gimmicky endeavor has actually turned out to be quite a useful tool. Based on my experience, I will outline some of what I consider to be the best practices of using social media at weddings:
1. Come up with a unique hashtag
Hashtags can serve multiple purposes. It can be used to tag all the photos that your guests will share at your wedding. You will then have all the photos available to you with an easy search mechanism rather than use other cumbersome ways to collect photos (email, dropbox, etc.). The key though is to come up with a unique hashtag that no one else has! Importantly, it can get people excited about the wedding. We are using the hashtag #KayakWeddingGoa which is a play on our last names and the location of our wedding. We have already seen our friends tagging some posts with this hashtag as a lead up to our wedding. We are not the only ones apparently. Mashable reports that over 55% of weddings these days have hashtags!
2. Get a wedding app
Yes, I know. Asking your guests to download one more app is frustrating. However, it is better for them to download one app than to receive endless emails from you. If you are having a large, complex wedding, then best to keep information in one place. For example, my wedding will be in India and will be held over three days with 400+ guests, who are coming from various geographies. We decided to use the Appy Couple app and we are very pleased with it (as are our guests). The app also allows guests to contact one another (if you have varied groups of friends coming, no more need to share contact information if they are using the app). Plus, we can keep important information such as where to find taxis, park, travel info, weather, etc. all in one place for our guests.
3. Encourage your guests to use social media
Numbers (1) and (2) above only work if you get buy-in from guests. If you take a proactive stance and make your guests aware of and excited about your hashtag, you will benefit from having a consistent hashtag, which will allow you to locate all shared photos in one place (remember, hashtags also have a utility apart from being funny, etc.). If you encourage the wedding app use, you will avoid answering emails and make the guest-messaging feature much more useful.
4. Don’t overuse it on the day
As I have mentioned, social media can be a helpful utility in planning your wedding, but on the day of, let the guests take and share photos. No selfies, no real-time updates, just be in the moment and enjoy. There will be plenty of time to reflect, share, and see how many likes you have gotten after the wedding.