Gone are the days when newly married couples were subject to weeks of waiting to catch a glimpse of their special day. Now, with Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter ruling the social sphere, wedding photos, videos, and even opinions are posted in real time—often without a second thought. “Social media has become a huge influence in the wedding industry,” says Mindy Weiss, celebrity wedding planner and owner of Mindy Weiss Party Consultants.
“Most of my brides and grooms love sharing—from their engagement all the way through to their honeymoon.” But not all couples are created equal, especially when it comes to sharing private moments online. “At some of our celebrity weddings, we’ve had cell phone check-in stations, beautiful—but direct—signage at the entrance of the ceremony addressing the issue of no social media, a note on the program, and the officiant has announced it, and still, there is always someone who feels the need to pull out their cell phone to take a photo,” says celebrity wedding planner and owner of Fête Nashville, Sara Fried. Heading to the chapel with a fully charged phone in tow? Read these do’s and don’ts of wedding social media etiquette from the pros before hitting the “share” button.
DO: Ask If There’s a Custom Wedding Hash-tag and Stick to it
“Wedding hash-tags are such a fun way to easily search pictures from the wedding,” says Fried. “If the client is up for social media sharing, then they’ve probably come up with a witty, fun wedding hash-tag that speaks to their personalities.” Regardless of whether or not you think a given hash-tag is cheesy, make sure it accompanies each picture you share. “The hash-tag has become an important part of the planning process!” says Weiss. “They’re a great way to track the event.”
DON’T: Share a Photo of the Bride Before the Ceremony
“We always ask the wedding party to not post any pictures of the bride before she walks down the aisle, as they’re spending the day with the bride and could by accident post her dress out of excitement,” says Weiss. Feel free to snap a few photos of the bride while getting ready, but resist the urge to immediately share photos of her look online—even in private conversations. “The bride has gone to great lengths to choose her dream gown, shoes, hair pieces, jewelry etc. and the last thing she wants is one of her guests seeing a photo of her before she gets to walk down the aisle and have her moment to shine,” says Fried. “Don’t steal her thunder, please.”
DO: Share Photos the Day After the Wedding
If you’ve been invited to a wedding, chances are, either you or your partner are good friends with the bride and groom and want to share in commemorating their special day. Put your phone away during major milestones (the kiss, especially) and enjoy the celebration! “If the couple is okay with sharing, wait until the guests have had their chance to enjoy the moment,” says Fried. “For example, wait until the cake cutting to post photos of the cake.” Then, be sure to carefully sift through your photos before sharing with the online masses. “Only post the moments that the couple would want in a photo album,” says Weiss.
DON’T: Share Unflattering Photos
“I always hope that the guests have some common sense to not post anything that may not be appropriate, such as an inebriated guest, or something that might embarrass the wedding couple,” says Weiss. If you’re having doubts about posting a particular photo, consult with the bride or groom—or simply don’t post it. “On Monday, everyone has to go back to work and everyone wants to keep their jobs and reputation intact,” says Fried. “It may seem like a fun idea at the time to show off what a great party is going on, but please use discretion.”
DO: Be Present and Celebrate
Let the wedding photographers do their thing—power off for the evening and celebrate! You can catch up on Instagram tomorrow morning.