The New Social Rules for Weddings

bride and groom taking photo

Weddings may be timeless, but the nitty-gritty approach to planning itself needs to keep up with the myriad of ever-evolving culture- and technology-driven trends. Take note of some key considerations from Mindy’s newly updated, wildly comprehensive guidebook.

Announcing Your Big News

To post or not to post? Before you post, wait. Make sure you’ve told your family and closest friends before you broadcast the news to the world. But consider keeping the news offline for as long as you can stand it. Posting the announcement too early catapults you into the public phase of your engagement right away, which is typically when things begin to get complicated. Trust me. Enjoy some private, uncomplicated moments before you launch into the planning phase of the operation.

Your Wedding Hashtag

If you’re a sharer, welcome to the club! Selecting and broadcasting a wedding hashtag is a great way to ensure that you and your guests will be able to see and enjoy photos as they’re posted to Instagram. To choose a hashtag, type some options into the app to see whether they’ve already been taken; if obvious choices like #EmilyRobertWedding or #TheAndersons are gone, try a cute amalgam of your names like #Robily. To establish a wedding hashtag early in order to share relevant sneak peeks with your guests, include it in your invitations or save-the-dates or post it to your wedding website. (Just be mindful of whether you might be inadvertently hurting feelings by sharing photos of showers or bachelorette parties.) To share your hashtag with guests on the day of the wedding, print it on framed signs placed on the bar, in the bathrooms, and/or on the guestbook. If you’re going the photo booth route, make sure the hashtag is displayed on the prop table. Conversely, if you’re not comfortable with a posse of DIY paparazzi and the subsequent social-media trail, simple signage outside the ceremony and reception spaces, along with a note in your printed programs, should get the message across; wording needn’t be more involved than something like, “We gratefully request that over the next six hours, no pictures be taken or posted to social media.”

Dietary Accommodations

You can’t accommodate every diet plan, but if you’ve got guests who need a gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free or a kosher meal, talk to your catering contact about options. Be sure to give the maître d’ a list of special meals with table numbers for these guests before the reception so the service can remain as seamless as possible. If you know your crowd is full of people on unusual food regimens, consider having a buffet or stations instead of a plated meal. Most venues offer options for everyone these days, and more often than not I find myself arguing with brides for the inclusion of gluten. I’ve done fully vegetarian and vegan weddings and tricked wedding guests with a gluten-free cake (no one was the wiser), but I say, let the people have their starch!

Ferrying Your Guests

Guest transportation can make such a difference in everyone’s mood that I recommend providing it when possible, even if it means trimming another item on your budget. The advent of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, available in more and more cities and countries, has made wedding transportation an infinitely cheaper and simpler proposition. Among their many great qualities? The flexibility they allow you and your guests. Contact the ride-sharing company of your choice, and you can arrange for a group discount at no cost to you. You offer guests the discount code, they plug the code into the app on their devices, and everybody gets a cheaper ride. Often guests who’ve never used the service before will be eligible for a ride that is completely free — the best price of all! The next level up is to defray a portion or the entirety of your guests’ ride in combination with that group discount. You get to offer your guests a break, while customizing your contribution to your budget. Your guests have the flexibility of coming and going as they please, along with the option to ditch the car they drove if they’ve had one too many drinks. And once you’ve done the initial setup, you don’t have to coordinate a thing.