Will Facebook, Twitter or Instagram be invited to your wedding? According to a 2014 survey by TheKnot.com and Mashable, 55% of couples will use a wedding hashtag. Indeed, the rules of wedding etiquette are once again being rewritten as crowd-sourced, instant-sharing via social media becomes a hot topic in nuptial planning. While Mr. and Mrs. Clooney made their no-tweeting-allowed rule clear at their Venice nuptials by requiring burner phones, many of today’s couples have gone to great lengths to put their unique wedding on public display. What’s a millenial couple to do? InStyle talks to top wedding experts about the I do’s and I don’ts of wedding social media.
When (and When Not) to Post “Under no circumstances should guests post any wedding photos before the couple has given their okay,” explains celebrity wedding planner Marcy Blum, who has planned star-studded nuptial fetes for Billy Joel, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick among others. “There have been occasions where the groom saw the bride dressed on Instagram before he saw her in person!”
Brian Worley of LA’s YourBASH! agrees: “No pre-posts of a bride before she walks down the aisle! Never ruin the element of suspense and surprise. All posts of a bride in her wedding dress should wait until all the guests at the wedding have also seen her at the ceremony. The bride and her dress are the centerpiece of the wedding and ‘it all starts with the dress’ so that should be given a big reveal. By posting pictures of the bride before she walks down the aisle, that could ruin the wonderful WOW moment that a bride wants on her wedding day!”
On the contrary, If the couple has set up a wedding hashtag and wants their friends and family to post photos on their wedding day, “definitely do so, but be considerate,” suggests Anja Winikka, Site Director of TheKnot.com. For those unsure of their posting preference, she recommends another option: “Ask guests to wait to post their photos from your wedding day until you have posted your professional shots. Have close friends and bridal party help spread the news!”
The Word on Wedding Hashtags Worley is all for the wedding hashtag. “In the modern age, a hashtag is one of the best ways to share the highlights of the day and really allow everyone in attendance and those that were not there a chance to share in the amazing day that a couple experienced. It is also a great ‘file’ for a bride and groom to go back and see all the pictures that were taken at the wedding that they may not have been aware of.“
Tara Guerard, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynold’s wedding planner, is also for the wedding hashtag: “I think its fun-- if bride approves! Everyone seems to enjoy and great way to share and see everyone's photos!”
Winikka adds: “A hashtag is a fun way to get all of your wedding photos in one place. Encourage your guests to use it as much as possible! You can include it on tables at the reception, on the invitations, save-the-date cards, and on the ceremony programs." But she warns: "If you're a super private couple, it's probably not a good idea because all of your wedding photos will be searchable on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram through the hashtag” for as long as you both shall live.
How You Should Communicate a “No Posting Allowed” Policy Requesting your wishes clearly, but in a kind manner, is a must do at weddings, according to Guerard.
Blum warns that “while hashtags can be fun...they can become more of the focus than the wedding itself.” She recommends that couples communicate their wishes and concerns about social media through a heartfelt paragraph on the ceremony program or in a caveat to the welcome note in a guests room. Blum says to avoid clichés and go with something clever such as "We know how hard it is to keep your attention and we really, really want your positive energy with us so we are asking for a Social Media Black Out."
Winikka recommends enlisting your officiant to play a role: “Ask the officiant to make an announcement before the ceremony begins, include a note in the ceremony program, or even create a cute sign at the ceremony entrance that reads, ‘Welcome to our Unplugged Wedding. We ask that you please turn off cell phones and cameras for the ceremony."
And, as Worley suggests, word of mouth is always an option: “The wedding is ultimately the bride and grooms special day so I think that family and friends invited will respect that decision. It is also okay to mention this desire to the bridal party and ask everyone to spread the word as well so that the bride and groom are not required to explain this to their guests.”