This is a guest post by Erica Laudon, founder of Modern Wedding Mom.
From Youtube, Pinterest, Lover.ly, to Instagram and Facebook -– social media has dramatically changed how brides, mothers of the bride, mothers of the groom, and bridesmaids explore and discover ideas for wedding planning. In addition, brides and mothers of the bride and groom are connecting with communities of similar women to share their experiences. It is ever more critical for wedding vendors and businesses that are active in the wedding industry to understand this trend and become engaged in communicating with these women on popular social networks and communities.
When I was married in 2007 (thus planning my wedding in 2006), there was very little social media. My wedding idea inspiration, discovery, and exploration took place on print magazines like Martha Stewart Weddings and websites like Knot.com and The Wedding Channel.
I often try to think about how social media today in its current form would dramatically alter my wedding planning experience. I can only imagine myself spending hours on Lover.ly and Pinterest pinning and bundling my favorite inspirational wedding items to share with friends and family. I could easily spend countless hours at wedding expos and fashion shows instagramming my favorite wedding items with my friends chiming in with their opinions – some maybe with words and some using emoticons. I have to admit I am rather envious of brides today who get to use these social networks for wedding inspiration and live tweeting with friends during reality TV star weddings.
I now see brides glued to their tablets or other mobile devices scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. I don’t think I’ve recently seen a bride carrying a heavy wedding magazine with lots of post-it notes plastered throughout the pages, which was the norm back in my wedding planning days in 2006. I have noticed that social media and interactions within the wedding community have become very visual based. For comic relief, brides can type ‘wedding meme’ into Google Images for instant laughs. In addition, Pinterest has rocked the wedding industry. I would imagine if you are florist or a wedding planner, brides often send you direct links to their wedding Pinterest boards. Much of the creativity and vision that the wedding planner once had seems to have shifted onto the Pinterest boards of brides-to-be.
A recent article written by Marianne Pfeiffer at Examiner.com highlighted how brides are using tools like Cisco’s WebEx and Skype with family friends to help with selecting a wedding dress. Couples can create specific hashtags for their wedding photos captured by friends to share during and after the wedding day. Beautiful moments are captured and rapidly spread across social networks. Don’t be surprised to see brides creating “social media rules” for their weddings. Brides and grooms may want to be the first to post any pictures of their wedding onto social networks. I can’t imagine any bride being thrilled at seeing an unflattering photo of herself spread across social networks.
As much as social media has enhanced the wedding planning process and made it much more easy to explore and discover brands, venues, makeup artists, hair stylists, and wedding dress designers, it has also put more pressure on brides, mothers of brides, and mothers of grooms to demand perfection on the wedding day. There are now over 20 reality TV wedding shows focusing on how wedding planners create elaborate weddings and how brides are determined to find the perfect wedding dress.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: I choose to be an optimist and a believer in love, magic, and romance. I believe that social media will enhance the wedding experience and help unite families that may have been estranged due to distance, divorce, or other conflicts. At a wedding you have one moment in time to have everyone together celebrating a beautiful union. Let’s embrace social media in capturing that moment and being able to share it with everyone we love.
Images courtesy Modern Wedding Mom.