How Social Media Has Changed Modern Weddings

Social media and the internet more generally have affected the wedding industry in positive ways, says Angela Thompson, professor of sociology at Texas Christian University and author of Unveiled: Secrets of the Wedding Industry. But ultimately, those changes don’t make it much easier to plan a wedding—or stick to a budget.

Thompson says sites like Pinterest, for example, offer great, creative ideas for DIY wedding projects as couples plan their weddings. However, they can create some unrealistic expectations. Crafty centerpieces and homemade favors might be the right choice for the couple, but costs add up, and those smaller details aren’t the most important thing to consider.

“Pinterest doesn’t have a price tag. It can set unrealistic expectations for weddings and, while it’s great for ideas, you have to remember to work within your budget,” says Thompson. "Guests are generally focused on how beautiful the bride is, or the food, or the dancing. A lot of the other little touches, people don’t necessarily notice.” 

Other developments include social media professionals couples can hire to plan and handle the wedding, a trend Thompson has noticed in recent years. Photographers and videographers, too, are usually savvy enough on social media to help couples manage it.  But it doesn’t stop at custom Instagram hashtags—social media etiquette today asks guests to not share photos before the couple is ready to share them, and they’re expected not to post unflattering pictures.

The role of wedding planners has been declining in favor of online services that recommend vendors and services for weddings. Social media also for its part, makes it easier to find examples of vendors’ work. Thompson notes that this means people no longer have to rely on the connections and judgment of a wedding planner to find a great DJ or a bakery for the wedding cake, but that doesn’t mean that the internet makes wedding planning easier.

“People are overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices they have to make, and with the rise of technology, couples have access to more choices than they previously knew were out there” says Thompson. “They don’t know where to even begin. How do you know the choice that you’re making is the best, and the best choice for your budget?"

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Texas Christian University
Professor of Sociology