How to talk about your wedding on Facebook without pissing people off

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RUT ROH: Don't let this happen to you!
RUT ROH: Don't let this happent to you!
So your relationship status has changed from in a relationship to engaged and now (along with gaining those horribly sexist wedding-related ads on the side bar) all of Facebook is chiming in to say “congrats” and “omg yay!” Even your second cousin, twice-removed commented that she “can't wait for the wedding!”

But the thing is… you never even planned to invite ‘ol what's-her-name, in fact, you only added her as a friend because your mom “suggested” you add each other.

Can I get a little less awkwardness in my monitor? Yeesh.

Engaged couples have been dealing with all sorts of uncomfortable moments since the dawn of big wedding celebrations. It's just that now, in the era of Facebook, it amplifies that awkward by a degree of eleventy, and then live-streams that awkwardness to all your relatives' most recent updates.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce your wedding's Facebook time and put a cap on at least some of that wedding-time awkwardness…

Stating the obvious solution: Resist the urge to discuss your wedding on Facebook at all.

Or at least, keep it to a dull roar. Clearly, bitching about your bridesmaids on a super public forum could lead to bad blood and unnecessary wedding dramaz. Similarly, talking about how amazing a party is going to be to someone who isn't invited is terribly hurtful. Sometimes it's just better to keep your virtual mouth shut.

This is actually part of why 10,000+ of you love the Offbeat Bride Tribe so much. Our private forum gives Offbeat Brides a place to vent and freakout and discuss wedding stuff endlessly… all without bogging down your Facebook feed.


Hide your wedding-related status updates from non-guests by making a list.

You may or may not know that you can easily set up different lists and then, come status update time, you can chose who can see what.

Here's how to create lists on Facebook:

  1. From your homepage, find the Friends section in the left menu and click More
  2. Click Create List
  3. Write in the list's name — “wedding guests” or “bridal party”
  4. Enter the names of friends you want to add to this list in the Members section
  5. Click Create

Then, when it comes time to excitedly share some info about your planning process, you could only make that status/photo/link visible to that particular list using that little lock icon.

publish to your facebook list

How to make your status visible to a particular list:

  1. Enter your status in the status bar (DO NOT hit enter yet).
  2. Click the button just to the left of Post.
  3. Chose the correct list in drop down menu.
  4. Now you may click Post.

Create a wedding group on Facebook.

Your other (slightly more complicated) option is creating a group for your wedding guests. Then when you want to do wedding updates, you can do so on that group page instead, and only the people in that group will see your updates.

make a secret group on facebook

How to create secret groups on Facebook:

  1. From your home page, go to the Groups section on the left side menu and click More.
  2. Click Create Group. A window will appear, where you'll be able to add a group name, add members and select the Secret privacy setting.
  3. Click Create when you're done.

The downside of this, as I've experienced myself, is that you're forcing your friends to be part of a group they may have no interest in being part of. (I can't tell you how many times I've had to remove myself from groups I never signed up for.)


Want to go a step deeper and REALLY freak out the squares?

Delete your facebook.

One of my best friends did this the moment all of her old college buddies started asking when and where. She wasn't even CLOSE to inviting those guys — they didn't even make the list of “maybes.” So my girl just said “fuck it” and deleted her entire facebook page and never looked back.

For more info on deleting your facebook, check out this group.

And I mean actually deleted her Facebook.

How to actually delete your Facebook account:

  1. Go here
  2. Click “Submit” and follow the instructions.

Because apparently, the usual way people “delete” their Facebook is more like deactivating it — all of your information doesn't actually disappear. Indeed, if you don't want to entirely delete your page, you can easily disable your profile, then come back to it and it's like you never left! [Copyeditor's note: I routinely do this at exam time!]


But let's face it: these days it's way too easy for everyone to find out where you had lunch and what you purchased on Etsy. People are going to know that you got engaged, and hell, you shouldn't have to hide that fact — it's big and exciting news! People that you aren't going to invite to your wedding ARE going to know about the impending nuptials. So, you more than likely are going to have to face a few awkward comments about how excited someone is for a wedding in which they won't be attending, much less invited. When that happens, you just gotta grin and bear it. Have a few copy-and-paste responses a la Ariel.

Comments on How to talk about your wedding on Facebook without pissing people off

  1. This is a very good article to have. Honestly, one should just NEVER talk about wedding stuff on facebook. When my sisters demanded to be kept in the loop (complete with wedding shopping photos) I created a private event that only they were invited to, made the event a month long, and just change the date whenever the event comes close to expiring. I also made sure they knew to show no one else, and we are able to communicate details that way.

    A good “Facebook can fuck things up” story is that of my first nephew. Turns out, my sister in law and brother were so excited when they found out they were expecting they let it slip to their friends, who are in a very very tight knit giant group other other friends- who all started messaging “congrats” before my mom and dad or any of our family knew. There were certainly some ruffled feathers. Rule 1- If its at all personal, keep it OFF facebook 🙂

    • I was going to suggest the same with the event. I’ve done that with my kids’ christening and worked great. No uninvited people got a look in

  2. Great piece- while I was excited to change the relationship status, I really resisted talking about the wedding on Facebook at first because I didn’t want to be THAT girl. Then I realized somebody somewhere is going to think I’m THAT girl regardless of what I do and chances are I have one of those somebodies on my friends list. AND THAT’S OKAY. They don’t have to like what I do and I don’t have to be mad at them for not liking it. So now, if I want to talk about weddings on Facebook, I do. I follow MY thoughts on updating- I don’t say negative things about my friends, I don’t update every little thing… and I’m good with it.

    I like the list idea- once the guest list is near to finalization, I’m doing that. Right now, I just respond with “we aren’t sure who we’ll be able to invite” to anyone who asks or makes awkward assumptions.

    One thing that really struck me, though, is the other side of the coin. How do you deal with other people who are constantly posting about their wedding and you get negative feelings? I certainly felt stung when one of my Facebook friends getting married joined the Knot and sent out this automatic update: “Today I crossed the first official threshold of modern bridehood and visited TheKnot.com.” “So I’m not an official bride?” I wanted to say. But didn’t.

    • I had an issue really similar to this–a friend of mine used Facebook to stress out about her wedding in a major way, from ranting about her family and the weather forecast to mentioning how much money she was spending on things that weren’t turning out the way she wanted: “I’m not spending X just so Y can go wrong!!!!” kind of posts. It was super awkward to read, because she was making herself look bad *and* I was envious that she had the amount of money she had for her wedding.

      The answer? Well, the Hide feature is one. 😉 If she’s really close to you, it might be worth having a non-Facebook conversation with her (it never works to criticize someone about her behavior in such a public place as Facebook–they usually feel embarrassed, and therefore obligated to get pissed off and defend themselves).

      Sorry you have to deal with that. Sometimes the best thing you can take away from a situation is “Well, now I know better than to act like *that.*”

      • Sarah basically nailed it. I don’t have better advice than that. Just wanted to agree that the “hide” feature is your best friend when it comes to not wanting to deal with whiny friends.

        If you aren’t familiar with the “hide” feature. Just click on the X that appears next to your whiny friends update, you can choose to hide that particular post, or hide your friend’s posts completely.

    • “if I want to talk about weddings on Facebook, I do. I follow MY thoughts on updating- I don’t say negative things about my friends, I don’t update every little thing… and I’m good with it.” I agree with jordannalie there. Here is the thing -people are eventually going to realize you got married and they weren’t there. Sure updating every detail is annoying, but are you trying to hide the whole event? If so why be on facebook at all? Maybe you aren’t actually friends with your facebook friends at all, and then what is the point? The thing is I have a lot of friends from high school getting married and I am not invited to all of those weddings, but I am very happy for them and I like seeing the pictures. Anyways when I used to talk about “Mad men” and cooking all the time there were people who didn’t care about that either. I also think weddings are interesting as a sociological, humorous, historical subject. I posted a funny wedding related link (http://www.goingbridal.com/etc/wedding_crap.shtml) on a friend of mine’s wall who is getting married and she acted like I was raised in a barn saying she can’t invite everyone. People are pissed about me putting a funny link on her wall? Really? Would they care that much? We cannot mention the word “wedding”? It is an important thing in society and in my experience a lot of older married /recently married people are entertained by it too… I think people must expect budget constraints/know how close they are to you/not actually care.

      I do agree overdoing it is annoying, and same when I log on and it is all infant pictures. But come on do I need to pretend I am not getting married? Then just deactivate it, what is the point at all?

  3. I’ve DEFINITELY made it a point to not bring up any of my wedding stuff on facebook. But then there’s my mom, doing her own “OMG, Bethany’s getting married a month from today!” countdown status posts, and I had a friend guest who asked me a “what should I wear?” type question on my wall instead of private messaging me. I didn’t want to delete it, and make a big deal out of it, but I’d rather not talk about my wedding on facebook at all. I don’t want to offend people who aren’t invited.

    I also have made a point to not post status messages about what I’m planning, or to constantly be like “OMG! Wedding is just [blah] days away!!”, because I realize that, while it may be a really big day for me, most people don’t care as much. It’s so nice to have OBT as my outlet for that stuff, especially when I’m really freaking out over something. That way, my guests don’t have to know that I was panicking over some really minute detail, they can just think I pulled the wedding together no problem!

  4. I actually had two lists – one for wedding guests, which I pruned as RSVPs rolled in, and one for the people who wanted wedding planning full-frontal (much, MUCH smaller). The guests got a reminder about times and location and such, while I saved the agony and squee for the small subset who cared.

  5. Seems kind of like lying by omission to be participating in FB and not mention your wedding. If you were talking to a friend you weren’t going to invite and they asked you what was new in your life, would just decline to mention you’d been planning a wedding for the last five months? Also, are you going to post your wedding pics on FB? I think I’d be a little annoyed to discover someone I thought was a friend had been hiding this big news from me for months.

    • The thing is, a lot of people (myself included), have folks on our facebook who don’t even really fall into the “friend” category. Acquaintances, business contacts, coworkers, etc. And sometimes these people don’t see the relationship in the same way we do. Someone who you really only view as an acquaintance or coworker might consider you one of their friends, for example. I’ve experienced this some, and I think it could make the whole “not-invited” thing quite sticky. Also, if I’m really that great of friends with them, I’d probably talk with them IRL about it. I would be willing to take the risk of offending someone on fb by keeping mum, I think, for the sake of not dealing w/ people inviting themselves. But I guess I’m not completely sure. 🙂 Good point, either way!

      • I have filters for people who aren’t actually friends. I can’t even imagine having to constantly self censor every thought to be appropriate for professional acquaintances as well as friends!

    • “Seems kind of like lying by omission”

      That is assuming that everyone has a right to your life at all times on Fb. People don’t have the right to know everything going on in my life in the real world so it’s pretty obvious they don’t have that right on the net either. It’s up to you and it’s certainly not lying by omission if you don’t want everyone to have full insight in everything you do.

    • Exactly. Not all Facebook friends are true friends.
      If I saw some of these people in person I would probably mention it. But I keep all personal information off Facebook because even with the privacy settings, FB changes their settings quite often, leaving windows of opportunities for uninvited people to see your stuff. And with all the personalized ads etc. I don’t trust FB not to sell that information to some company. Once that info is out there, you can never get it back.
      My posts quite often are about something delicious I ate, nice weather, and that I am very happy–no details. For those who need to know, I send them a separate e-mail, off Facebook entirely.

  6. Thank you for this article!

    totally agree with keeping the wedding stuff on the DL or not mentioning much at all. I have an acquaintance I know also getting married and the constant profile updates (countdowns etc) are annoying.

    I try to type to Tribe or keep it PC especially in regards to others’ feelings. A few friends were due to get married but it fell through so I try to be sensitive of that.

  7. I used the list feature a lot, and got really positive responses from everyone who could see it because they were almost as excited about it all as I was… and felt priveleged to be involved with whatever I chose to put on there… For instance, getting people to save jars for me (for our centrepieces though they didn’t know that).

    As both of our sets of parents are divorced and remarried and come from big families, we had over 40 aunts and uncles, not all of which we could invite however much we wanted to, let alone my first cousins who I am actually quite close to.

    For this reason, we also did a fb invite to the ceremony (we didn’t care how many people rocked up to that) which explained not everyone would be invited to the reception. Yes, some would say that’s rude, and poor etiquette, but at least it was out there from the get-go and people weren’t only finding out that not all of the family were invited by not receiving invites…

    We still had a couple awkward moments, but after telling all the fb community that not everyone would be invited, it was slightly less awkward than it would have been otherwise…

  8. I’m wondering whether this is a culture thing — I put a LOT of stuff wedding related on FB and I didn’t have any awkward moments of people assuming invites (ah, apart from husbands father, but that’s not FB related, and a different matter altogether). The people I’m close with, knew they were coming, and the other ones (like girls I went to high school with) were congratulatory and all “can’t wait to see photos!”. It was pretty cool.

    I think it also helps not adding people that you don’t actually like … my friends list is only in the region of maybe 110.

    • Amen! I also had people who weren’t invited to the wedding telling me off for not inundating them with wedding planning statuses because they were so excited for me!

    • Same. I put an average amount of wedding updates on my fb page and a lot of girls from school,work etc would comment with their own experiences/advice and congrats, but none of them ever assumed they were invited…

      Though I’ve heard its more normal in America to invite lots of ppl you’re not close to like business contacts, your parents friends etc? That’s not really the norm in Aus so maybe it is a cultural thing…

    • I have a pretty huge friends list (over 800 for various reasons) and my fiance is the same with his list. I guarantee there are people who will be upset that we couldn’t invite them, but we are having a backyard wedding and space is super limited, especially if it rains. People on both of our FB friend lists know we are going through some financial issues outside of the wedding. I think we only had one or two people ask about the wedding (and they were on the B list anyway). We did end up inviting them after all.

      I don’t post about wedding things all that much, but when people comment about the pictures of me painting the shed and falling off a ladder, friends in the know will say things like “don’t want a bride with an injury so close to the wedding” it is pretty obvious. I have lots of friends who are photographers, and I guarantee pictures will be plastered all over my wall. Can’t really hide it.

      My way of dealing with it is to talk about it up front without shoving it in people’s faces. Here and there mentioning of space or lack of a budget (or DIY hell!) is going to happen. When we got engaged a couple of years ago, I made a point of posting my feelings about weddings and how it sucks that not everyone can be invited, but that is just the way it has to be sometimes. I made a point of saying I wished I could invite everyone I know, but when we did get married, inviting everyone couldn’t happen. It was an easy way to explain how bad I felt from the get-go. Seriously, if I had the space, was guaranteed it wasn’t going to rain and an infinite budget, we would invite 500 people easily. How we managed to get it down to 100 is unreal. We both know a lot of people!

      I have a group set up for just my bridesmaids. We bitch and moan on there (not about each other) so we can do so quietly. Guests don’t need to know what is happening behind the curtain. It gives us a great place where we can manage ideas, plan projects, share photos, and track progress. While the DIY hell is stressful (especially with a few very busy and non crafty bridesmaids), at least we can communicate through the group. I have been trying to spend a day here and there with each of them on a project I think suits their skillset, and let them voice opinions or ideas where I can really hear what they have to say. Less than two weeks, and this insanity will be over. Amen to that!

  9. Oh and also, it seems to be the year of the wedding with the group of girls I went to high school with (and babies), with 5 off the top of my head and at least 2 babies, so I didn’t feel all “look at me!!”.

  10. This was a great piece, but I want to touch on the part about the ads that show up. I’ve always been upset by weight loss ads that feature unhealthy-looking women, and I’m even more offended by the ones that have been bombarding me on Facebook since I announced my engagement. As such, I’ve started labeling them as “offensive.” I encourage you all to join me.

    • @Emmy, I’ve been with you on labeling the weight-loss ads as “offensive” for many many months! Amen!

    • Good idea! I’ve just been ignoring those, along with all the big diamond ring ads… but those weight loss ones should definitely be marked OFFENSIVE!

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