For some brides it can be intimidating standing up in front of friends and family in church and saying “I do” but Zoe Anastasi said her vows in front of hundreds of strangers online!
Zoe’s wedding to fiancé Will Diggins was streamed live over Twitter and Periscope in the UK’s first Social Media Wedding.
It wasn’t just the ceremony at Nottingham’s Greek Orthodox Church that was captured live on social media. An iPhone-carrying photographer followed Zoe and Will around all day, posting photos every 15 minutes onto Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
More than 100 photos were then featured on a giant social media wall at their wedding reception where guests using hashtags could post their own snaps of the day.
For Zoe, who has family in Cyprus and Australia, having the wedding featured on social media made her big day even special: “It’s been so nice. While I was getting ready for the ceremony loads of messages come through over social media. I know people who couldn’t make it to the wedding watched the whole thing over social media, which was amazing. The social media wall was incredible. I’ve loved it!”
More than 400 people from across the world watched the wedding and reception streamed live. Photos posted onto Instagram were liked 3,500 times and 835 ‘hearts’ given on Periscope. The tweets were seen 18,000 times during the day.
The Social Media Weddings package was put together by social media specialists, Status Social, which says it’s never been done in the UK before. Prices for the service start at £1,175.
Will and Zoe’s wedding was planned in a Facebook group which was made up of 150 members of the wedding party. The group was used to gather stories and photos of the bride and groom as well as help communicate information about hotels, parking and other things of use to the guests. It also helped keep guests interested in the wedding between receiving their invitation and the event itself.
The photos taken during the day were then put into a social media wedding album for Will and Zoe to enjoy the morning after their big day.
“For me, your wedding day is the biggest day of your life,” said Will, a wealth management consultant. “You have the build-up and you worry about the fact it’s over in 24 hours. I think it’s been great to enjoy the preparation, to get more people involved in it. It’s made our wedding more special.
“Your wedding day is the one day that’s all about you and with different people talking about it all over the world, on different formats. Having a Social Media Wedding has made it that extra special. Also it’s afterwards, looking back at all the memories, the photos, the tweets….”
Zoe, who lives in Derby, is of Greek heritage so the wedding paid homage to that side of her family. The day included a Greek money dance where guests pinned ten and twenty pounds notes to the bride and groom instead of giving them wedding presents. Sovlakia, keftedes and tzatziki were served as part of the wedding feast and they even had a Greek kebab van there for the evening guests. A hot, sunny day was sandwiched by heavy downpours in the morning and a fierce thunderstorm in the early evening.
Zoe said: “We were so excited when we went on honeymoon to look at the photos taken on the day because there were so many moments we missed. It was awesome being able to look back.
“Our day was such a whirlwind but I had it in the back of my mind that it had all been captured.”
Being the UK’s first Social Media Wedding, Zoe and Will’s day attracted a lot of attention during the build up. Their unique wedding was not only featured in national newspapers, it was also discussed internationally in some of the world’s biggest fashion magazines. While some thought a Social Media Wedding was a great idea, there were others who said it was another sign of the “Look at Me” generation.
But Will says they didn’t have a Social Media Wedding to boast: “We’re not obsessed by social media – in fact we find some of it very boring!” he said. “Social media is a great way for people to see important events in your life, not for bragging purposes, but if you have someone who you haven’t seen for ages, technology used the right way can be great. It might come across that we’re a bit attention seeking, but it wasn’t about that for us.”
Status Social director, Mark Saxby, said it had been a momentous day: “Zoe and Will have made history. We believe no couple in the world, let alone the UK, has ever embraced such a full programme of social media in relation to their wedding.
“So many couples are concerned that the photos and videos posted onto social media by guests during their wedding day won’t put them in a good light. With Social Media Weddings, everything is controlled by experts.
“Thank you to the new Mr and Mrs Anastasi-Diggins for being prepared to share the happiest day of their lives on such a global scale.”
The Social Media Weddings package includes:
Using social media, generating excitement for the wedding by sharing stories, photographs, videos and plans for the day. Encouraging song requests, friends’ stories about the couple, and helping the guests to get to know each other.
Helping the wedding run more smoothly by keeping guests up-to-date and sharing information (eg directions, times, hotel information).
Advice on how to create a wedding gift list using Pinterest.
The wedding day
Professional photographers using discreet camera phones to capture the early part of the wedding day including the preparation of the bride and the groom’s morning. These photos can go out immediately over social media, whetting guests’ appetite for the rest of the day, or can be saved for use later.
Streaming the wedding ceremony live over social media while the photographers continue to capture the day. Great for sharing the day with those who can’t be there.
A social media wall will be displayed at the wedding venue, featuring photos taken by the Social Media Weddings photographers. Guests can share their own photos and comments on the social media wall, via a wedding hashtag, all monitored for taste by the Social Media Weddings team.
Images and videos posted into a Facebook album ready for when the bride and groom wake up the next morning – no waiting for months to see their photos.
This article first appeared in Vows&Venues magazine