Bride-to-be Stacy Jenkins is using the social networking site Facebook to help plan her October wedding to Justin Miller.
"There are many helpful, useful applications associated with Facebook," Jenkins says, noting she used the WeddingWire application for her budget and wedding timeline.
Tanya Parker and Brian Hughes also used Facebook to plan their May wedding. Parker says she liked the "help, support and ideas" she found on the social site.
Meleesa Salcedo is using Twitter to plan her Los Cabos, Mexico, destination wedding.
"During my wedding planning, Twitter has been like an instant idea generator for me," Salcedo says. "It's a perfect medium to network directly with veteran brides, the newly engaged and some of the world's best wedding industry professionals."
Salcedo, who found her videographer and wedding planner on Twitter, likes how friendly people on Twitter can be.
"Whenever I need a wedding planning question answered quickly or am in need of general advice, I can tweet about it and within minutes, if not seconds, I usually have an answer," she says. "It's so great."
Wedding marketing expert Andy Ebon says about 1.6 million brides, or about 75 percent of brides, are on Facebook. That's a huge opportunity for brides to get wedding help and connect with other brides and wedding vendors.
Photographer Mary Kate McKenna credits both Facebook and Twitter for helping her business to grow "exponentially."
"I can connect with couples, vendors and others immediately," she says. "It's not stagnant like a website. It's new; it's fast and always changing. Plus I get to know other vendors and couples on a personal level, as well, which is always great."
Part of the appeal of these social sites is the immediacy of information.
"Facebook and Twitter allow me to instantly share new photos, blog posts and website updates and instantly receive feedback and comments," explains photographer Chelsy Cardin.
Claudia Smith of the stationer Fig. 2 Design Studio says she uses Facebook to provide updates on projects and to post links to her blog. She also uses Twitter to connect with her peers.
"I think brides check blogs first, which leads them to check Twitter feeds and Facebook posts," Smith says. "It helps vendors by being a great networking tool. I've had numerous questions regarding resources answered just by posting something on Twitter."
Photographers Cardin and McKenna like how Facebook gives them the chance to post photos and increase business at the same time.
"Being able to tag people in photos means I can instantly post a client's photo on my Facebook page, and it will also show up on the client's personal page," Cardin says.
*Effective Social Media
When Crystal Irvin married her husband, Marcus, in October, she used Facebook to connect with her wedding party and "to alert friends of wedding details."
Irvin says she now uses the site "to offer new brides info, hints, ideas and suggestions" that worked for her.
Some couples take social media to a new level by appointing a friend to be a "chief tweeter" or a "Facebook poster of honor." These designated social media mavens update the social sites with event information and wedding photos, too.
Other brides and grooms even change their Facebook statuses during the wedding from engaged to married.
Couples also can set up social media stations at the wedding, much like a table for signing a guest book. Guests can share a wedding memory or wish the bride and groom luck.
Social media have their pros and cons, especially for weddings. Jenkins advises fellow brides to make sure to stick with them and keep them updated.
They are also easy to update.
"Most vendors don't update their websites on a regular basis, yet they post on Facebook and Twitter several times a day," Cardin says.
Though McKenna urges brides and grooms to use social media, she says the technology shouldn't replace face-to-face interaction. "Find people who align with your budget, needs and philosophy, and then be sure to meet up to make sure it's truly a perfect match."
Irvin cautions brides about the public nature of social networking sites. "Just be careful, because everyone will see it. And you won't invite everyone, so be prepared in case some random friend asks you why she didn't get an invite," she says.
Still, more brides and grooms will be turning to Facebook and Twitter as they prepare to say "I do."