How Social Media Plays a Role in Almost Every Aspect of a Wedding

From the first date to the big "I do"

Updated 01/11/19

Thais Ramos Varela / Stocksy United

In the olden days (a.k.a. before social media hit its current fever pitch), people met their spouses through real-life interactions, found their wedding vendors via bridal magazines, phone books, and word of mouth, and didn't share their wedding photos until weeks later, after they'd been printed and compiled in an album. Clearly, it was a simpler time. Nowadays, thanks to Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, social media has infiltrated every single aspect of the modern wedding, from the very first date to the end of the after-party, according to the Brides 2018 American Wedding Study.

For starters, almost one quarter of the brides surveyed said they met their partner on social media, through a dating app, or on an online dating site. Once engaged, more than half said most of their friends found out about the engagement through social media. The next step—the planning stage—is where social media really shines: Of all the sources brides used to plan their weddings in 2018, the most popular were Pinterest and Instagram, with 87 percent of those surveyed turning to the former for inspiration, and 76 percent using the latter.

Those two apps topped wedding magazines, bridal websites, blogs, and basic Google searches as the most popular planning resource, as well as Facebook, which was used by only one in five brides.

Looking even deeper, almost every single survey respondent said they'd interacted and connected with their wedding vendors via social media. In 2018, 83 percent of brides vetted potential vendors through their social media pages before hiring them, and another 68 percent, up from 53 percent last year, used their own social media platforms to show vendors what they were looking for. It makes sense, since 82 percent said they used social media to look for inspiration and define their own wedding styles.

To find that inspiration, half of the brides surveyed reported searching through hashtags to look at photos of other weddings, 56 percent said they used social media to see consumer reviews and ratings of potential aspects of their own weddings, and 48 percent used social posts to buy bridesmaid dresses, invitations, beauty products, and more. Only a quarter of the respondents, however, asked their followers for feedback throughout the planning process.

Of course, beyond simply planning the whole ordeal, social media is also the most popular way to document a wedding. Bride-wise, according to the study, nearly half the respondents shared photos and updates on social media throughout the planning process. And for the guests, 48 percent of brides said they'd created custom hashtags for pre-wedding events like bachelorette parties, and 70 percent had a wedding hashtag, compared to just 51 percent in 2017. On top of that, 35 percent of weddings had a custom Snapchat geofilter, more than double than 2017.

Perhaps most telling of all, less than 10 percent of the brides surveyed said they'd asked their wedding guests not to post any photos at all. As much as you might want your guests to ~unplug~ and experience your ceremony in the moment, at this point, weddings and social media are so tightly intertwined it's all but impossible to separate the two.

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