A digital engagement
New (585) editor-in-chief, Leah Stacy Wayner, reflects on the perils of a weddings and cell phone photography
“You’re not posting a blurry phone photo of that ring on Facebook. We can do better than that,” says my twenty-one-year-old sister. “Put on your boots.”
She grabbed her camera and pulled me out into a biting December night determined to get a good shot of the art deco scrolling on my engagement ring. We posed carefully for a few minutes, angling the diamond toward a string of Christmas lights on our parents’ front porch. The glitter in my OPI nail polish caught the light, too, and I was glad I’d painted my nails for the first time all year.
That night, I called a friend and fellow journalist to tell her about our engagement.“I’m so glad you didn’t post a phone photo,” she says.
She wasn’t the only one who noticed. I’m in the media world, and my friends are writers, artists, and photographers. We all have a love/hate relationship with the online realm that simultaneously pays our bills and minimizes our face-to-face connections.
It only took three days of life as a fiancée until I discovered a new meaning for the term digital engagement.
I’d never actually wanted to post a phone photo of my ring, but I was tempted. I was nervous that someone would leak the news on my timeline before I could announce it myself. Wouldn’t a phone photo be fastest?
I’ve talked to others who feel the same way, whether it’s an engagement, a birth, or a new job. Sometimes, I wonder how we ever shared our news before the internet. Letters, I suppose? I think I remember writing those.
Pete and I have friends and family all over the world, so social media, especially Facebook, is a good way for us to keep in touch with people. Quick status updates with a photo or two? Sounds perfect.
I’ve watched a lot of my friends and family live through the digital engagement phase: including the proposal, the dress shopping, the reception venue hunt. While I have posted some of that, minimally, I’ve kept in mind how tiring it is for me to see those same updates from others. Not because I’m not happy for them, but because they all tend to say the same thing: “I said yes to the dress! <3” or “Only 33.5 days to go!”
Here’s the bottom line: no one cares as much as you do—except maybe your mama.
Harsh? Maybe. True? Definitely.
Don’t get me wrong; Pete and I did opt for a digital save-the-date in the form of a video, since that is our craft, and we feel it was more “us” than a postcard. We had an engagement shoot with a talented photographer and put the photos on Facebook and Instagram. We have a hashtag and a photo booth for our September wedding. Our guests will send their RSVPs through our website.
But some things are just for us. There was no photographer on-site when Pete knelt down in Christ Church on East Avenue and asked me to marry him. And before the engagement, our relationship statuses were unlisted on Facebook.
We want people to know we are happy and excited, but we’re not oversharing. We want to enjoy this experience to the fullest, not spend it checking notifications about every wedding update or deciding which filter is best for that photo we took while we were registering at Williams-Sonoma.
Couples need to take time to fully enjoy each moment of the engagement—because it flies by. After the flurry and excitement of wedding planning settles, you’ll be sharing a last name and a life with someone. You’ll wake up next to your beloved with morning breath and things won’t always be picture perfect.
Rather than getting caught up in the online posting, to do lists, and DIY planning, take time to go on a date with that hunky fiancé. Hold hands. Make exciting plans beyond your wedding date.
And don’t document any of that online.
We welcome Leah Stacy Wayner as Editor-in-Chief of (585) magazine in November.