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The New Rules of Wedding Etiquette

It’s inevitable that you’ll spread the excitement of your wedding to everyone in your social media network, so follow these rules to avoid a faux pas (or worse!) when it comes to sharing your wedding.

Photo: Carissa Woo Photography / The Knot

For the bride and groom:


Call your parents before pressing “post” or “tweet.”
Your close friends and family will want to hear it straight from you first.
A Facebook status or tweet might be the most efficient way to get the news out, but it’s not the most personal. You know which friends and family members would appreciate to hear the news directly from you; plus, it’s likely that older family members (like your grandparents!) don’t have Facebook or Twitter accounts and could miss the message altogether.

Change your relationship status in minutes or months...it's up to you!
There’s no wrong or right time -- some couples even do it at the altar!
Once you tie the knot, it’s up to you and your new spouse to decide when to change your relationship status or last name on your social media sites. For some couples, this can be a very important moment; for others, it’s no big deal. So if and when you’re ready to make the change, go for it!

Post pics of your engagement ring. (Everyone can’t wait to see!)
But keep the nitty-gritty details like cost and carat to yourself.
After you post your “engaged” status, your friends and family will be dying to find out what the ring looks like, so indulge them with a photo (you may want to prep with a manicure first!). It’s not bragging to share a pic with the exciting news. Leave out the other details, because how much it cost isn’t anyone else’s business -- the point is that it symbolizes the commitment you’re making. Everyone’s going to be checking out your hand for the first few months anyway, so make it easy for friends and family to admire from afar.

Designate a “tweeter of honor.”
Enjoy your day and stay off your phone while still keeping everyone updated.
Your wedding day will fly by, and if you’re focused on your phone or tablet the whole time, you’ll miss out on what’s important. Enjoy the guests who have come to celebrate with you, instead of everyone in your social media circles. Strike a balance and designate a tweeter of honor -- it could be another bridesmaid who isn’t your maid of honor (she’ll have plenty of responsibilities already!) -- to keep your social networks updated throughout the day so you won’t have to. Another option is to schedule tweets beforehand so they’re ready to go without the hassle.

Send out traditional paper invites for the main event.
Email invites are totally okay for pre- and postwedding parties!
Paper invites are the way to go for the actual wedding day. In today’s technology-based world, where your guests receive hundreds of emails a day, a physical invite has become that much more special. That doesn’t mean you have to go over the top with an invite that sings and shoots confetti either. Simple card stock and laser printing will do the trick. A paperless invite for the rehearsal dinner or morning-after brunch is a great option (especially if you want to cut down on stationery costs). Just because the invites are electronic doesn’t mean they won’t have style or be personal to you. There are plenty of sites that let you customize e-invites so that they’ll look beautiful and unique to you.

For the guests:


Wait to publicly post your congratulations.
If the couple hasn’t made the announcement, then you shouldn’t spill the big news for them.
It’s exciting when you’re the first to find out your best friend or sister is getting married, but hold off on the public congrats until they’re ready to share the news themselves. They might be waiting for an important reason (like they haven’t even told their parents yet!), and there could be hard feelings involved if others find out they weren’t in-the-know first.

Private message any wedding planning questions.
It can be awkward for the couple’s other Facebook friends who weren’t invited.
If you want to discuss wedding plans with the bride or groom, then it’s polite to do it in a private way. The couple may have hundreds of Facebook friends who aren’t on the invite list, and it’s not fair if each and every detail comes up on their news feed. Brides especially love to share wedding planning details, and she’ll appreciate a friendly ear to listen if you call to find out how it’s going. This is a busy time for the couple too, so don’t be offended if they don’t keep you up to date on every single detail!

Share pics of the bride and groom.
But respect their request if they ask you not to post photos before they do.
It’s great that you want to show what a great wedding the couple threw and Instagram the cake and the flowers. Some couples may want to wait to share photographic details of the wedding until they have photos from their professional photographer, so you should respect their choice. If you’re worried about whether you’re in the clear with posting photos, then wait until a close friend or family member of the couple does so first. Then you’ll know if it’s okay to post away!

Leave the phone in your purse or pocket.
Posting occasionally is okay, but the couple invited you to celebrate their day, not sit there on your phone.
The couple spent a lot of time planning an event that you would enjoy, so don’t spend the entire time on your phone posting about the wedding -- go have some fun! It’s okay to share the love a few times, but you shouldn't opt out of hitting the dance floor in favor of tweeting a play-by-play. Plus, having a phone or tablet out all the time can get in the way of photos, and no one wants to look back on their wedding day to see a guest more engaged with a device than their reception.

Follow directions for the RSVP.
The couple’s inboxes are already full of wedding-related details; a text, email or DM is likely to get lost in the mix.
Most paper invitations will include an RSVP card with an addressed envelope to send it back in, and couples will look for and expect responses by mail (before the deadline!). If you lose the card, then it’s okay to call and find out how the couple would prefer you to RSVP once you know whether you’ll be attending.

-- Simone Hill

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