Whether you’re in the beginning stages of planning a wedding, or just a weekend away from tying the knot, your life is about to change forever. So congratulations! You are embarking in a personalized, time-honored tradition that will be celebrated for years to come.
It’s also one of the few times in your life where you will be throwing tons of information out there about yourself, your partner, your friends and your family. It’s a necessary evil of planning public events, even though this one is technically private. But there is a way to plan and celebrate your big day while also staying secure. Below are seven tips and tricks that will help you live happily ever after in both your real life and cyber life.
Set up a separate email account.
There’s no reason to share your personal email with your photographer or DJ or food caterer, especially when you’re in the beginning phases of research. More often than not, this is the only contact you’ll have with these people. A temporary email account is a great way to contact potential hires, such as the aforementioned DJ, without giving any personal information. And when it’s all said and done, you can close the account.
Do your research.
Don’t just go after the first wedding planner or photographer you find on Google, or worse, Craigslist. Investigate their website. Check out their Facebook if they have a public page. Use Web of Trust, a free browser extension, to verify the trustworthiness of websites and protect yourself from potential scammers. As you already know, there is big money in weddings, which unfortunately breeds criminal activity. Don’t forget that you are under no obligation to give out any information to anyone. You could lie until you’re ready to book!
Open a separate bank account and/or credit card.
It’s a great idea to insulate your personal banking information from this one-time event. You can easily move money between accounts in order to put down the necessary deposits. Not only will the separate account make it easier to organize your budget, but it also protects your personal banking information should you be targeted by scammers. Avoid writing checks if at all possible and don’t process any transactions over email.
Limit the amount of information available on your website.
Designing your wedding website is fun and exciting. There’s virtually no limit to personalization with all the free builders and templates available online. So have fun with it. But be careful about how much you share. Don’t list the full names of your entire wedding party and family. Be sure to pick a website that can be password protected. And avoid tagging people in any of the photos you post. You don’t need to put your entire life story out there to have an engaging, beautiful website. Keep it simple and to the point. Less is more.
Using a hashtag?
Wedding hashtags are all the rage these days. They create a timeline of events that are automatically archived on social media sites and are easily searchable. The problem? They are automatically archived and easily searchable. So if you’re going to have a hashtag and encourage your guests to use it, create one that’s super unique and don’t forget that hashtags are public.
It’s also a good idea to have a wedding policy in place. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests not to post pictures on social media or to not tag people when posting photos. And be sure that all of your social media accounts are set to private.
Beware of the social engineer.
There will be people at your celebration you do not know. Especially if you have a large wedding. As such, there’s always a chance for wedding crashers. While they don’t necessarily pose a huge threat, it is a form of social engineering that involves someone essentially stealing your food, drinks and even wedding gifts. It can be difficult to do, but assigned seating is one way to avoid this. And if that’s not an option, ask friends and family members to be social and introduce themselves to people they don’t know. Ask questions like “who are you here with?” or “how do you know the happy couple?” Don’t forget that weddings are easy to identify, especially at hotel event centers. It’s a good idea to keep on eye out for someone that might not belong.
Enjoy your honeymoon; stay off social media.
Newlyweds are often tempted to post every photo from the airport to the resort to the beach or wherever their honeymoon takes them. But save all of that for when you return. You don’t need to broadcast the fact that your house is vacant for a week. Furthermore, the idea behind a honeymoon is to celebrate your marriage with one person: the one you married. Not all of Twitter. Unplug and be in love. The photos albums can wait.