Getting engaged in the age of social media means there’s one more thing you have to add to your wedding to-do list. Creating a wedding social media strategy is a relatively new concept, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked as something that will organically roll out. How your event is presented on social is something you definitely want to have as much control as possible over, which means starting to think about Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat the moment the question is popped.
We spoke to Toronto-based etiquette expert and columnist Karen Cleveland to get her take on social media at weddings. Here are four things to consider as you map out your strategy.
To selfie, or not to selfie.
It’s become the calling card of an engagement, but is posting an engagement ring selfie really necessary? “There is something a bit showy about in the ring shot, but it’s ubiquitous,” Cleveland says. “If it doesn’t feel right to you, don’t post it. You’re taking a very intimate moment — one of the most important in your life — and trying to reduce it to a Facebook or Instagram photo: No matter how beautiful the shot is, it won’t do the moment justice. Rather than post a picture, get in touch with your friends and family who may be asking to see the ring on social and thank them for their excitement (relay that you’re thrilled too!) and that you can’t wait to see them in person and share your new sparkler.”
Create a hashtag…like, immediately.
As soon as you’re engaged, put some thought to what the hashtag for your wedding will be and start using it. The best hashtags are short, smart and easy for your guests to remember. “A hashtag also helps consolidate all guest photos related to your wedding,” Cleveland says. “Again it’s a great idea, but not one that each and every one of your guests will embrace, so realize that. As a traditionalist — though of the modern variety — I think hashtagging takes an intimate event and turns it into something really, really public. But hey, it’s your party, you can hashtag if you want to.” The best way to get the word out about your wedding hashtag? Include it in your wedding invites and save-the-dates, or like any good social media campaign, seed it with strategic influencers within your circle of family and friends.
Appoint a social coordinator.
On you wedding day, you are obviously going to be busy and likely won’t have a lot of time for Instagram or Snapchat. Consider appointing someone in your circle who is very social savvy to handle it on your behalf. They can snap photos, then have a quiet meeting with you to edit shots and decide what you want posted. “Having a person to steward your posts will take the pressure off you while also giving you the confidence that it is being handled correctly,” Cleveland says. Let your guests know who this person is and that they’ll be around to help out with any questions about hashtags, Instagram handles, etc.
Make social sharing guidelines known.
There’s something to be said for living in the moment so know that if you don’t want your wedding on social media, it’s absolutely acceptable—after all it’s your party. “I was at a wedding recently where the bride and groom asked, via their officiant, that everyone please stay present, and that meant putting phones away and no taking photos of the happy couple,” Cleveland reports. “It made the event feel much more intimate, and the later the bride confided in me that she and her groom wanted to pick the wedding photo that they shared online. There’s something very special about your wedding being witnessed by only those you’ve chosen to invite.”