Lizzy Dening didn’t spend her childhood fantasising about getting married. Now she’s engaged and navigating the weird world of weddings. Send help.
The amount of time I spend looking at your photos on Facebook is proportionate to how little I like you. I realise that this makes me a bad person, but, at least, an honest one. I mean, if we’re friends IRL then I probably know what you’re up to, where you’re holidaying and which parties you’ve been to. I’ve probably sent flowers and visited for cuddles with your new-born baby, and I was almost certainly at your wedding, confetti in hand. So really, what can social media pics add to our friendship? It’s the people who were frosty at school, the ex-boyfriends and unpleasant former bosses who have all, inexplicably, added me to their social network, whose photos I can lose myself in for hours. I’ve social-stalked private parties, tearful beach proposals, sweat-tinged maternity ward photos and the most intimate gatherings which I had absolutely no right to see… so assuming that a fraction of my contacts are even half as voyeuristic as I am means there’s no chance of me sharing my own wedding online.
I read in a wedding magazine survey the other day that 2 per cent of couples were planning to keep their big day away from social. That means that 98 per cent of lovingly-chosen dresses, proud mother-in-laws and sacred vows are splashed across the social feeds of all and sundry. Of course, perhaps people are fussier about who they befriend on social media than I am, but if your network is genuinely made up of friends, then why aren’t they there on your wedding day? If they’re living abroad or too poorly to make it, surely they’d rather have a thoughtful email or phonecall – or even be there via Skype – than see a handful of blurry shots pop up on their timeline.
Since getting engaged I realised how normalised it is to share everything with even the vaguest of acquaintances. My mum worried about whether she could tell our relatives about our engagement, as we hadn’t posted about it on Facebook yet (eight months on, we still haven’t). Apart from anything, telling the people who mattered in person was one of the most joyful things about the experience – and not something worth sacrificing for any number of ‘likes’.
As for this couple who spent upwards (!) of £6,500 for a social media package, that included live-streaming their wedding, well…I worry that they didn’t receive enough attention as children. I mean, each to their own and all that, but I a) would rather walk up the aisle naked than have my most intimate, precious memories shared with anyone who happened to be online at the time, and b) feel that surely the social media company should have paid them for the coverage, rather than the other way around?
It’s not about being a Bridezilla, or a control-freak. I’m not worried about unflattering photos of me circling the internet (if Beyonce got over it, so can I.) It’s more about privacy – one of this generation’s most underrated attributes, but one I feel strongly about. As a journalist I already share some of my most intimate thoughts and concerns with people I’ll never meet, and for me, photos of my future husband when he sees me walking up the aisle towards him, are something to be cherished and tucked away for all but our closest friends and family. Apart from anything else, I don’t kid myself that they’re really that interesting to anyone else.
My rule is, that if you’re not invited, well I’m sorry, but you probably don’t need to be involved. And if it really bothers you, let’s hang out and look at the photos in person. With cake.