Say "I Do" to Social Media

Meredith Darling | @merdar Weddings have gone social. Before you scoff and close the window, I promise that my position on social media and weddings does not include saying your vows over Twitter like this couple did in September. Social media, done in the right way, is a great way to increase engagement (haha) during your reception and there are a ton of creative ways to do this that aren't in-your-face-tacky.

It's my experience that brides have upped their game in the last year and I have no doubt that Pinterest is the reason. Say whatever you want, but I didn't attend a single wedding in 2011 that had any of the DIY touches you find on wedding boards today. Pinterest is just the beginning. Here are my "I dos" to social media integration at weddings.

I dos

Photos

Instagram wedding hashtag, social media weddingsProfessional photographers average about 2,000 pictures a wedding. Figure that 1,000 of those are of the ceremony and the wedding party, 500 or so of the decor, first dances, and send off. That leaves 500 photos you have a chance of being in. Let's be honest, you just met the bride that day and you only know the groom because he's your grandma's best friend's grandson.

There are some great apps out there like WeddingSnap that puts all of the photos taken at the wedding in one convenient place. All guests have to do is download the app (free to guests) and once they put in the couple's special code, all photos taken by that person's phone that evening are uploaded into a feed, even without opening the app again. There are also photo booths out there that upload to Facebook and Twitter in real-time.

Hashtag

Choose a unique hashtag for your wedding day. Encourage guests to use it when tweeting and steam the live feed from a TV screen at the reception. Use Twitterfall.com as an auto update feed and to put in location preferences so you don't pick up on the wrong hashtag. Guests can also use this when taking photos with Instagram (use Pinstagram.com as the live feed site for the TV screen).

QR Codes

Create a customized QR code to easily direct guests to your social networks and sites, whether it be to the photo phone app, your Facebook page, or to their wedding website. Here is the easiest tutorial out there I've found on how to make your own.

Video

Remember your grandma who is friends with the groom's grandma? Well, they're too old to travel, or live out of the country, or they have a shuffleboard tournament that day. Whatever the reason, streaming video live for those that can't make it is a really special touch. It's not exactly social media but just work with me here.

I Don'ts

Social media weddings, Social Media Delivered, social media, weddings and social media.A 2011 study found that 48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, with 28% doing so before even getting out of bed. I don't want to imagine what those numbers are today. Even though I'm encourage social media integration at weddings, I have a few rules.

1. Don't change your Facebook relationship status on your wedding day. You have better things to do.

2. Put your phone away! Guests should also limit their cell phone use. Send a tweet. Take a picture. Then put it away and never leave it on the table.

3. Don't post/tweet/Instagram/whatever anything bad about the wedding. The bride will see it and she won't be happy. And it's just mean.

4. Don't ignore the technology-challenged. Make sure the older guests understand what all the social stuff is. You don't have to go into details, but they will enjoy seeing the live tweets and peoples photos.