How TLC uses social media to engage with wedding program viewers

With at least ten shows dedicated to weddings, TLC is one of basic cable’s most noteworthy providers of wedding-themed programming. Friday is officially “Bride Day” on TLC. Shows like Say Yes to the Dress (and its iterations, Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta and Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids), newcomer, Something Borrowed, Something New, and Four Weddings dominate the evening’s programming. Weekly programming is scattered with other wedding-themed shows including My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, Randy to the Rescue, and I Found the Gown.

Below I explore how TLC is using social media to engage with viewers of Say Yes to the Dress (SYTTD).

Hashtags

In the last year or two networks have been eager to capitalize on hashtags (popularized by Twitter) as a promotional tool. Networks encourage viewers to use hashtags during programming by placing the show’s hastag somewhere on the screen. For example, TLC places the hashtags “#syttd” (Say Yes to the Dress) and “#fourweddings” in the upper-left hand corner of the screen while these programs are being broadcast. Below is an example of how some Twitter users used the SYTTD hashtag during and after the March 15th episode.

#syttd Twitter

Hashtags are a simple promotional tool. They enable viewers to identify and interact with one another and they have the potential to increase awareness of the program.

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Wedding fever is worth the wait

Whether in a relationship or single, many young women find themselves getting carried away with thoughts about their future engagement and wedding. (In fact, some women claim to have dreamed about their wedding day since they were a child.) It is hard to avoid thinking about (and planning for) these momentous life experiences when pop culture emphasizes the importance of being in a relationship and getting married. With television shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” (and 90% of all of TLC’s programming) and David Tutera’s “My Fair Wedding” it is hard to resist catching wedding fever.

When Jesse and I started dating in late 2010 I knew that he was going to be my husband. After being friends for so long I was already familiar with some of his good qualities. Within months we were talking about our Future. (The big “F”-marriage and spending the rest of our lives supporting one another.)  In January 2012 I attended a bridal show at the Bertram Inn in Aurora even though I was not engaged at the time. I’m not going to lie, it was a little awkward to go around to each of the vendors and answer questions like “when did you get engaged?” (I’m not engaged yet but I will be soon) and “when is the wedding?” (We don’t have a date set yet since we are not technically engaged). I had caught wedding fever and I allowed myself to get wrapped up in the excitement of being a bride and preparing for a wedding.

I joined both Pinterest and theknot.com in early 2012. I spent hours pinning wedding ideas that inspired me, such as bouquets and “save the date” invitations. I visited the websites of various gown designers and pinned my dream dresses. I watched “Say Yes to the Dress” and enjoyed critiquing the gowns the women said “yes” to. After joining theknot.com I browsed their list of northeast Ohio vendors (photographers, reception sites, etc.) and searched for wedding up-dos that worked for women with bangs.

By summer my enthusiasm for wedding planning faded, especially since I had yet to be proposed to at that time. Eventually, I lost interest entirely and I began to develop more negative feelings about the getting engaged and planning a wedding. When my mom would approach me with certain wedding ideas I would tell her I didn’t care since I wasn’t even engaged. I refused to get sucked into the wedding culture.

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