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Just a few years ago, when the wedding was over you were left with a book of photos, a disc of digital images and a lot of lovely memories.

That’s nothing to complain about, of course, but these days, thanks to your social networks, countless wedding blogs and plentiful national and local bridal publications, you can showcase your special day to an audience well beyond your guest list. Whether you’d prefer to keep your wedding story – the beauty, the blunders and all your hard work! – all in the friends and family, or share it to the world, read on for a crash course in how to do it right.

Social Media

If you simply want to show off your favorite pictures and, most importantly, wax poetic about the wedding details you found most interesting in your own voice, then social-media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and Twitter are an easy and efficient way to go. Just make sure you check in with your photographer first and get permission to do so, warns Sharon Naylor, author of more than 30 wedding books, including “The Bride’s Guide to Freebies: Enhancing Your Wedding Without Selling Out” (Lyons Press, 2012).

Yes, you hired your photographer to take pictures at your event, but depending on the photo package you purchase, the photographer may still own the copyright. “Different photographers have different rules, and you don’t want to get in legal trouble or receive angry requests to remove your posts,” Naylor says.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there are nasty people out there who take delight in posting insults or criticism on public websites, Naylor notes. Your choices are to ignore any less-than-glowing reviews, or, if possible, consider making your account or album private so that only select people can take a peek. This also prevents the etiquette mistake of jamming up your contacts’ feeds with tons of individually posted photos, Naylor says. Public or private, be considerate – some of your guests may prefer their image not be shared with anyone, especially if they were caught in an unflattering moment.

The Wedding Marketplace

Looking to showcase your wedding in a prettier package? You can submit to the “real weddings” sections in your local bridal magazine, national publications like Brides magazine or Martha Stewart Weddings or numerous wedding style blogs like Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, 100 Layer Cake, Snippet & Ink and more. An issue of the magazine or PDF file of the post makes a lovely keepsake, and let’s face it – it feels good to know other people thought your wedding was as special as you did.

That said, not every wedding can be chosen. Most outlets will provide instructions for the kinds of wedding submissions they want. A great resources is an SMP Backstage post called “Getting Your Wedding Out of the Slush Pile,” by Abby Larson, founder of the Style Me Pretty blog and author of “Style Me Pretty Weddings: Inspiration and Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration” (Clarkson Potter, 2012). It’s a must-read when you consider the fact that Style Me Pretty gets hundreds of submissions per week. “That’s a lot of pretty to go through!” Larson says. “If we could find one word that really encompasses what we look for in a submission, it would be ‘refinement.’ Not in the traditional sense of the word, though. What we mean is a cohesive style and edited, clean photography … We love to feature wedding styles of all shapes and sizes, but a perfect submission is one that tells a story through simple, well-executed photographs and details.”

Ryan Wilcox, who operates You Look Nice Today Photography in Portland, Ore., has shot weddings that have been featured in more than a half-dozen blogs and magazines. He says three things stick out about the publish-worthy weddings he’s photographed: unique personal touches in the details, gorgeous settings that match the tone of the wedding, and, finally, the moments.

“This is fairly hard to plan but with the right photographer knowing where to be when a photo can go from a snapshot to telling a complete story, which is something the editors look for,” Wilcox says. “There needs to be a handful of those moments included when submitting a wedding.”

Tags: Brides365, magazine, showcase, online, etiquette