In today’s world of live tweeting, snapchatting, and constant photo updates, it’s no wonder that social media has completely taken over what used to be one of the most private and special events in a person’s life. And while this is not necessarily a bad thing (a cute wedding dance that’s gone viral? Why, yes, please.), there are tricky situations that can lead to a lot of frustration for the couple as well as their guests. That's why we spoke to three experts about how to make sure you are not committing a social media faux pas at your next wedding celebration. #youarewelcome
1. Establish the social media rules for your wedding early on.
If there is a day when it’s totally OK to be selfish, that’s your wedding. So if you don’t want people staring at a smartphone screen for a few hours, you are in your full right to ask them not to. A note with the wedding invitation would be a good starting point for that.
“Have a cell phone collection station at the ceremony entrance. Including a cute sign explaining the request at the table or having a friend or family member at the table collecting the phones will go a long way to keeping guests happy and upbeat about the request. Since you pre-framed them on the wedding invitation it should not be a huge surprise,” explains planner Tracy French.
2. Asking guests to not post photos on social media until a certain date could be tricky.
Couples spend a lot of money on wedding photographers and it’s only normal that they’d like to wait for the official photos to come out so that they can post them on social media. While it's OK to ask your guests to hold off on the wedding snaps, expert Diann Valentine says that it’s best to either adhere to a non-post policy completely or give in and allow your guests to post at will.
“Someone will likely misunderstand the date and not read it altogether and begin posting immediately which will get noticed by other guests causing an avalanche of postings,” she adds.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure your vendors are aware of your rules. French says that they often are ones to post photos first.
3. As a guest, always ask for permission to post photos on social media.
“Nothing should be posted without asking the couple or their wedding planner if they would be offended if any photos were posted. Try to remember that it’s their wedding and not the evening news so you don’t have to get the first shot onto the airwaves,” says Valentine.
She explains that couples are usually annoyed that the images that are posted are unflattering. “Rightfully so, guests are usually just excited and want to share their excitement but no one likes a bad photo especially when posted on social media.”
4. When in doubt, check the bride and groom’s feeds.
By keeping an eye on the couple’s social media activity during the wedding, you’ll also know when to congratulate them on their nuptials.
“If they post a picture, that is your opportunity to re-post that photo and offer your congratulatory wishes. I think it is important that couples get the first opportunity to share their celebration online before anyone else does,” adds Valentine.
5. Enjoy the moment!
“One of the biggest complaints I get is that when they get back all of their professional photos of the ceremony there are tons of images that show guests leaning out into the aisle to get a photo on their iPads and iPhones which shows that they were completely distracted to the beautiful moment they were experiencing,” says Valentine.
We get it — we all want that great shot to post on Instagram, but at the end of the day, no social media post is worth 1) ruining your friends’ official wedding photos by sticking up an iPad above everyone’s heads in an attempt to take a decent snap and 2) completely missing the point of a wedding which is to celebrate and enjoy the moment.