What is a modern day wedding without the snap-snap-snap of selfies and the tweet-tweet-tweet of social media?
Here’s what happened when a bridal party decided to call for an end to it all, and a return to the way things were before…
It was the year 2010. The FIFA World Cup was held in South Africa, uniting the nation in a way we hadn’t experienced since the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Facebook reached 500-million users. Instagram launched. And in the midst of it all, we planned our wedding for July 31st.
Not only is wedding planning stressful, we now had this extra layer of social media anxiety to worry about
Two introverts, planning to be the centre of attention for one whole day. Not only is wedding planning stressful, we now had this extra layer of social media anxiety to worry about.
So we did what any stressed-out introverts would have done. We asked people not to post about our wedding online until after we had done so. We wanted to be the first to spread the news to our friends and families around the world. We wanted to be in control of our own story.
Our injunction was largely verbal, but I did mention it on our wedding website to ensure that everyone got the message. And do you know what happened? Nothing.
Without social media and smartphones to create a buffer, people made friends and it was really amazing to see
People listened, and kept their phones in their pockets. I don’t remember one person holding up a phone during our ceremony, and there was only one guest – a last minute plus one for a friend whose boyfriend couldn’t make it after they had RSVP’d – who ignored our request.
Do you know what I remember most clearly from the night of our wedding?
How well people got along. We have several very disparate friendship groups and one of my big stressors before the wedding was wondering how all of our very different family and friends would get along.
Without the distraction of social media in their hands, people just spoke to each other. We ate, we danced and on that cold, crisp winter night, we chatted around huge fire pits. We had to throw people out when our venue wanted to clean up and close. There was even an impromptu after-party!
Without social media and smartphones to create a buffer, people made friends and it was really amazing to see. After the wedding, we shared our wedding photos online for our friends and family who were unable to be there. One guest – the plus one I mentioned – had shared a selfie on Facebook but took it down when I explained what I had asked for.
We got to tell our story but more importantly, our friends got to enjoy the night without technology.
When friends marry now and ask me for any advice from my wedding, apart from telling them not to stress about the small stuff, I mention my social media ban. It may sound bossy and dictatorial, but I believe we did everyone a favour by taking that choice out of their hands.
There was no hashtag, no pressure to post-or-it-didn’t-happen…
There was just a group of people brought together by the love they had for us and a wedding. And that, as it turns out, was all we needed.