Facebook update adds wedding and celebrations feature

Given that people seem turn to Facebook for everything from exciting announcements to mundane briefings, it's almost impossible to miss photos of an engagement ring or updates about a big move. But the social network is making it even easier.

Facebook will add notifications about weddings, engagements, and other celebrations to the right-hand notification bar that normally houses alerts about birthdays.

The social network has become "a unique way people share and congratulate friends around exciting life events," like engagements and weddings and the arrival of a child, a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement.

The update will begin with engagements and weddings and add more celebrations to the site's algorithm in the future. The new feature will allow users to "friend" the person your friend is marrying directly from the alert bar.

The addition comes as a piece of Facebook's Events Calendar, a standalone app that allows users to create, edit, and maintain a monthly calendar in the profile tab. Users can tag multi-day and recurring events by colour and add Google Maps, Facebook content, and more. Facebook's revamped Events page lets users view friends' birthdays, event invites, and suggested events on an actual calendar.

"A couple of us felt there should be a better way for people to see their friends' birthdays a few days in advance and make plans for the weekend," Facebook software engineer Bob Baldwin wrote in a Facebook Engineering post. "So we built it" during a recent hackathon, he said.

The update comes shortly after Facebook added a small update to Timeline with icons to illustrate same-sex marriages. "If a user indicates that he/she has gotten married to someone of the same sex as a major life event on his/her timeline, the icon will now show that," Facebook said in a statement. "It's a subtle change but it's part of our broader mission to authentically reflect our users' real relationships."