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A Guide to Using Social Media at Weddings

Image Credit: Ibrahim Boran

Your wedding is likely to be one of the most exciting days of your life, and you'll want to shout about your love from the rooftops. Capturing all the special moments on camera means you can relive your big day over and over again. But with social media being such an ever-present part of our lives, have you thought about whether you want snaps and videos from your big day to be shared, if at all?

According to Wedding Wire, while over 90% of brides to be shared their #justsaidyes moments over social media, not all couples are happy to have their 'I do' posted on Instagram before they get a chance to hit the dance floor. In fact, 36% of couples surveyed asked guests to 'unplug' during their wedding ceremony in 2020.

Before you attend or host a wedding, It's important to know what parts of the event are appropriate to share and when. Let's take a look at some of the general points of etiquette around social media at weddings.

Social Media Etiquette For Wedding Guests

Before The Wedding

If you are a close friend of the couple, there will be plenty of exciting pre-wedding events to attend and you may even help the couple with some of the planning. This can mean extra opportunities to accidentally commit a social media faux pas!

The Engagement

That moment when you receive the call that your best friend is engaged to the love of their life is such a special one, and it should be shared exclusively between you and the couple until they have decided to make an official announcement.

Getting engaged can be overwhelming and it might take the couple a week or so to tell all of their friends and family the big news. Don't spill the beans by posting online before they do! Once the couple has shared the news about their engagement online and properly shown off the engagement ring, feel free to let them know how happy you are by posting publicly on social media.

Special Moments

Specifically for the wedding party, you will be involved with some very special behind-the-scenes moments such as dress or tux shopping, getting ready in the morning, and picking out the invitations or decor.

This is a huge honor from the couple and they will expect that you can keep these details under wraps so as not to ruin the reveal for other guests on the day.

And it goes without saying that you should keep any embarrassing photos from the bachelor or bachelorette party for your own personal collection!

Using Social Media During the Wedding

Image credit: Phuong Nguyen

Every couple is different. While some might set up a hashtag for their wedding and encourage guests to share their snaps on social media, others might prefer guests to switch off from their phones completely.

Follow the Rules

If the couple has requested an unplugged ceremony, it's important to respect their wishes and turn off your phone. Generally, the couple will make their request clear with an announcement on their wedding website and have a sign on arrival with any rules they would like you to follow.

Remember that having a wedding hashtag is not always an invitation to snap away during the ceremony! If the couple has not indicated any preference on their website or invitations before the wedding day and you are unsure, don't hesitate to ask.

Watch Out for the Photographer

If the couple has indicated that they are OK with guests taking their own photos at the wedding, make sure to be mindful of any professional photographers or videographers.

A professional photographer is an investment for the couple, and they will be incredibly disappointed if an iPhone in the aisle blocks that perfect first look shot or the moment when they exchange wedding rings.

Also, be sure to turn your flash off before the wedding starts so as to not ruin the photographer's lighting setup.

Don't Post Anything Negative or Unflattering

The best-laid plans often go awry, and the same goes for meticulously organized weddings! Whether it be an issue with a vendor, a ring bearer throwing a tantrum down the aisle, or a bridesmaid showdown on the dance floor, it may be best to keep it off social media.

The same goes for any unflattering photos or those that don't show the couple in their best light. The couple want to remember the happy moments from their wedding and won't appreciate any drama or negativity being shared publicly.

Be Patient

In some instances, the couple will not want any photos on social media before they can share their polished professional images. Usually they will announce this beforehand if it is the case.

Even if the couple has specified that they are OK with guests sharing pictures of their wedding on social media, always wait until the reception is in full swing or perhaps the following day to share your photos.

A good guideline is to wait until someone who is close to the couple, such as the mother of the bride or the best man, has shared on social media first.

Social Media Tips for Brides and Grooms

Don't Keep Your Guests Guessing

Before you send out invitations or create your wedding website, add thinking about your social media preferences to your wedding to-do list.

Discuss with your partner how you feel. You may decide that you want a phone-free ceremony, or maybe you would actually like to see all your loved one's posting special memories of your day. Either way, let them know beforehand so that there is no confusion on where you stand. You can do this by including a polite note in your invitations and also adding it to your wedding website as a reminder.

Set Up a Sign at the Venue

Image Credit: Seth Reese

A beautiful way to remind guests about social media etiquette is to have a sign on arrival.

A chalkboard is a great reusable option, or you can have a custom sign created specifically for the day. Be sure to include your preferences on sharing photos, along with your wedding hashtag if you have one, and any other rules you would like guests to follow. It's also a great way to remind guests to wear masks and sanitize!

Update Your Privacy Settings

A good way to prevent unwanted photos on your social media profiles is to update your privacy settings. Unfortunately you cannot stop guests from posting on their own pages, but you can disallow tagged photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stop them from showing up on your personal page.

Trending Ways to Use Social Media At Your Wedding

Image Credit: Nathan Dumlao

A Social Save The Date

With a staggering 2.85 billion active users on Facebook, chances are the majority of your wedding guests will have access to the app on their smartphone. Creating individual facebook events for welcome drinks, the recovery brunch or even the wedding itself can be a convenient way to ensure guests never miss an opportunity to celebrate.

Create a Custom Filter

Love the look of filters on your social media stories? Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat now all have the option to add your own custom filter to stories using geo location. No need to fret if you're not tech-savvy, there are plenty of companies out there offering their filter design services to brides and grooms.

Hashtags

Wedding hashtags have become a popular choice over the years for a reason—they are a great way to organize your guests' photos!

If you're the type that want their wedding guests to go all out sharing every moment of the big day, you can even set up a social media wall which is a live feed of all the photos using your custom hashtag displayed on a screen during the reception.

Having trouble coming up with your hashtag? Use an online hashtag generator for inspiration.

Final Thoughts

While for many of us it might feel natural to document our everyday lives on social media, it's important to keep in mind that a wedding is a very special and intimate day for the couple.

Be present in the moment and enjoy the day in real-time!