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The Social NetworkThe Social Wedding Network

published May 26th, 2014

They say it’s a small world. Well, in this digital age the world is getting a lot smaller. Advances in technology mean you’re now just a few clicks away from a video call with friends and family based thousands of miles away, while a quick scroll reveals what your favourite celebrities are doing on a daily (sometimes minute-by-minute) basis, thanks to the wonders of social networking sites like Twitter.

Social networking is truly a wonder of the modern world. It’s also the bane of modern society, but let’s focus on the positive aspects for now…

There was a time, not too long ago, when the only way of following celebrities was to peruse their antics in the daily papers or watch the news - and even then you had to trust that the reports were accurate, and not some twisted interpretation of the truth in order to fill column inches or airtime, while getting them to acknowledge your existence was virtually impossible. Of course now you can contact celebrities directly via a quick tweet. Whether they acknowledge your existence depends a lot upon what you tweet, but there’s a good chance they actually read it.

The Internet is also a great way to meet people, whether that be to make new friends, or enter into romantic relationships – something that was once frowned upon but is becoming more and more common in the world of dating. At one time if you met someone online it meant you were one of those nerds who frequented the dark corners of the Internet, chatting to your virtual friends in anoraks about how many alien worlds The Doctor and his companions visited in Doctor Who. These days it’s a lot more socially acceptable to meet people online - and even chat about Doctor Who.

As we now spend vast amounts of time looking at computer screens or glued to mobile devices catching up with the latest happenings on Facebook (while ignoring everyone else at the dinner table) it only makes sense that we should embrace and take advantage of this technology to showcase and promote our wedding day.

If used correctly (and provided you’re not a complete technophobe) technology can be a major help in both the planning and organisation of your big day.

Once you sit down and study your wedding guest list you’ll probably come to realise one thing - that all your guests are connected to you through one social network or another. For the majority of your friends that would probably be Facebook, but there’s also Twitter, LinkedIn and, to a lesser extent, GooglePlus. If your friend is particularly quirky you might find them hiding on MySpace or posting photos of their lunch on Instagram. Unless of course they’re Amish, and shun all form of technology… but for the purposes of this article we’ll assume that all your guests are technologically savvy and embracing social media on a daily basis…

Facebook allows you to create groups, where you can add specific friends and keep them updated with the latest information. You can also create an “event” and invite selected friends to that event, keeping them informed of everything they need to know about your wedding. If anyone posts information on the group “wall” you’ll receive a notification so nothing is missed. For example someone might be looking for a ride to the ceremony or posing a question that other group members might be able to help answer. Likewise with an event page, the person invited to that event can select if they’re attending, not attending or maybe attending. If they’ve selected that they’re attending or maybe attending then they’ll receive notifications for any minor or major changes that’s made to the event, such as time of the ceremony, location of venue, or any additional information that could prove helpful.

This is significantly easier than sending out paper invitations, then sending subsequent letters and making phone calls to ensure that everybody has the latest information.

There’s nothing stopping you from sending out paper invitations in addition to your online updates, but you may wish to include a line on the invitation asking if guests can check their Facebook accounts on regular basis. Remember, a lot of people have accounts but some don’t check it as regularly as others. Lots of people allow their accounts to gather virtual dust, claiming they don’t have time to spend thirty seconds a day checking to see if they have any notifications.

Setting up a Twitter account for your wedding could also be a good way of releasing bite size information about the event. The only problem is that people have to actually follow this account to see the tweets, but if you follow them then they’ll receive a notification and should follow you back. If you notice a gust isn’t following your wedding account then you may wish to send them a virtual “nudge” in tweet form.

It’s important to note that you may wish to ‘protect’ your tweets so that only people who follow you can read them. Once you ensure your privacy settings are ‘private’ then people can’t automatically follow you, but you’ll receive a request asking if you want that user to view your tweets. Likewise with Facebook you can make your group “closed” or have your event as “invite only” to keep everything under wraps.

By default social networking sites are very “public” but a simple tweak of your security settings will ensure that all your personal information isn’t viewed by the world and his wife. It’s unlikely that a total stranger would want to gatecrash a wedding, but you should be mindful of jealous exes, or friends who aren’t invited. Otherwise things could get a bit awkward.