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Has the internet changed weddings for better or worse?

by 18 March 2017Planning

Weddings ain’t what they were. Since the internet happened in the late 90s, there are barely any aspects of wedding culture that have stayed out of the web’s all-revolutionising reach. So has this been a good thing?

Let’s have a quick ponder on five of the most noticeable changes the net has given us.

Ratings

When we finally arrive at the Black Mirror scenario where every one of us has a rating hovering above our heads at all time, how will we look back on this period of history? This is the period where any time you want to book a hotel, car, venue or vendor, you check the reviews first.

Good because

Bad vendors have nowhere to hide. If they disappoint their customers, the bad PR isn’t limited to word of mouth – their online ratings nosedive and their business suffers. The result? Fewer bad vendors. And at the other end of the spectrum, the best of the best have the chance to prove they’re the best, pushing themselves to deliver even better service and reach that magical 4.5+ average rating.

Bad because

Everything’s subjective and people are pessimistic. No matter how good a job any vendor does, there’ll always be the one person who’s impossible to please and gives a bad review. And when there’s one bad review, that’ll play on our minds. Even when there are 500 positive reviews. Also, people think in extremes – when the vast majority of people give either one star or five stars, it’s not very representative.

Black Mirror app

Internet dating

It took a while for this to gain credibility, didn’t it? In the web’s early days, when you said “we met on the internet”, people mostly heard “there’s something fundamentally wrong with me, so I couldn’t get a date in the real world”.

Not so anymore. Nowadays, US researchers reckon that, in the States, one third of marriages begin with online dating.

Good because

Where to start? It’s quick, it’s simple and you can be incredibly specific about what you want in a partner. But more than that, the culture of online dating lets people break out from the physical and social structures that would once have held them back. And as a result, psychologists at Chicago University say marriages that begin online are 25% more likely to last.

Bad because

Hmm. There’s a few aspects of online dating culture that perhaps aren’t hugely healthy. It can be shallow and it does push us ever closer to the ‘rate me as a person’ dystopia. Also, it’s still not a great origin story, is it? One ‘we met online’ story is usually pretty much identical to the next. But we’re knit-picking here.

Wedding photos

There was once a day when just one person at a wedding would have a camera. And the happy couple would have to wait a while for the photos to be developed and then guests would have to visit them at home to get a look at them. And making copies took quite a bit of time and money.

Oh lordy, how that’s changed.

Good because

It’s easy to complain about everyone having cameras pointed at each other, seemingly every second of the day. But weddings are a great place for it. Back in ye good olde days, the couple would only have photos taken by the photographer at specific moments. There wasn’t much spontaneity to it. Now, the bride and groom get so many photos, that they basically get a 3D view of their wedding, because they get to see what was happening elsewhere on the day – who was doing what, where when and how, while they were preoccupied with bride and groom stuff.

Bad because

Okay, fine, we admit people continually posing for selfies can be a bit tiresome. Sometimes it feels like guests are not so much having fun as they are curating social media posts to make it look, as much as possible, like they’re having fun. But people have always acted narcissistically at weddings, right?

Inspiration

With so many photos and blogs whizzing around the web and social media, there’s endless places to browse for wedding ideas.

Good because

Everything’s so easy to find. And cheap. Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, advice blogs and wedding websites are all free, basically infinite sources of inspiration.

Bad because

It’s very easy to slip into what we call the Pinterest vortex – where you start browsing wedding pages on Pinterest while you eat lunch, and only finish when you suddenly realise it’s dark outside.

Social media

Popup Wedding Websites

Full disclosure: we’re a little bit biased here.

Good because

A wedding website does a very simple job – it combines all the good things the internet has to offer your wedding, all in one place.

It’s a one-stop basecamp for all your invitations, photos, updates and gift lists. Blog about your experience and design your website to match your style.

Bad because

Nope, we’ve got nothing.

Do you think the internet’s changed weddings for the better? Let us know in the comments.

About the author

Matt Phil Carver

Matt’s a copywriter and blogger from West Sussex, England. He spends his days helping people simplify their writing and give their words more punch and personality. At weddings, Matt’s always quick to get up and dance, even when the vicar’s telling him to wait for the reception.

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Planning Has the internet changed weddings for better or worse?