When Edmonton couple Trent and Elizabeth Wilkie decided to get married, they also decided they would livestream and tweet their wedding.
Trent (@thetrentwilkie), editor of the Camrose Canadian, and Elizabeth (@Riz_B), the Shell Theatre supervisor in Fort Saskatchewan, met on Twitter – even though the two had worked in the local theatre community for close to a decade.
“We never really crossed paths before Twitter,” Trent says. “We started chatting after I interviewed her for a story about Theatre Alberta, and it grew over time.”
From there, he proposed through an online video and then in person, as well. They also created a website in lieu of paper invitations, and crowdsourced an Edmonton wedding venue, Highlands’ restaurant Creole Envie.
“For our parents and parents’ friends, it was a little confusing,” Trent says. “But they all managed.”
With a small budget, family spread out across the country and the nature of their social circle, having a “social-media wedding” was a natural fit.
“It was about being able to incorporate as many people as possible,” says Trent.
Linda Hoang (@lindork), who married Mike Brown (@MikethyKing) in October, agrees: “We have so many Twitter friends that we would have invited – if we had an unlimited budget.”
Hoang is a Digital Communications Specialist for NAIT and part of Edmonton’s Twitterati. By encouraging guests to live tweet and post using #MikeandLinda, she notes, everyone could take part.
“We made a chalkboard ‘social sign,’ and beforehand I told the guests by word-of-mouth and on Twitter about it,” Hoang says. “We debated doing a live social-media screen at the wedding. That would have been cool too.”
They also asked their emcee to announce their hashtag as part of her speech and got her to read “Twitter toasts” sent by people who could not be there in person.
Once the wedding was over, Hoang used Storify.com to create a visual narrative of tweets as well as posts from Facebook and Instagram. “It was really nice – the wedding day goes by so fast,” Hoang says. “We could scroll through and see photos almost immediately.”
Both the Hoang-Browns and Wilkies are very social-media savvy, so it was natural for them to tweet, post and stream. But there are those who are also asking their guests to go phone-free at weddings.
As Trent says, “We did it because it suited our personalities. If someone isn’t the kind of person who likes to tweet or show pictures of themselves, then don’t do it.”
Most Edmonton couples fall somewhere in the middle. To get a handle on the ins and outs of social media for weddings, I asked Michelle Reid, owner of 9Likes Social Media and Dana DiTomaso, CEO at Kick Point for their tips:
1. Crowd-sourcing can be a great way to find local event planners, photographers and florists, but you could get overwhelmed by conflicting suggestions.
2. Discuss your comfort level regarding social media with your vendors, and consider putting it in writing. When can your photographer, for example, post photos from your wedding on a Facebook page or blog?
3. Do not overshare before the big day: Keep certain things sacred for the wedding and pace your wedding posts. People do not want to hear about it all the time.
4. If you are a guest, take your cue from the couple. If they ask you to live tweet or share photos or comments online through Facebook or Instagram, that is fine. But some people are more private, and you should respect that.
5. If you are a couple that wants to use social media, create a great hashtag and share it in your wedding invitation and on your wedding website (and remind guests the day of). This way you can easily compile photos and comments through Storify.com.
6. If you create a hashtag, do not use the “&” symbol as it causes errors.
7. If you are a couple that wants people to be truly present during the ceremony, communicate this clearly.
8. If you are a bridesmaid, do not get overeager and post a picture of the wedding dress as you are getting ready – before the spouse-to-be sees it at the ceremony!
9. Whatever you post should be positive: Share great quotes, poignant moments and what music is getting the most reaction from the crowd.
10. Remember social media is forever – maybe turn off the phone if you are starting to get tipsy at the reception!