Will You Ban—Or Encourage—Social Media at Your Wedding?

Will You Ban—Or Encourage—Social Media at Your Wedding?

Monkey Business

There has been a lot of talk over the past months regarding weddings and social media. Specifically, the posting of pictures from the wedding on Facebook and Instagram. (How much you yap about your wedding on social media—well, that’s a whole other post.) And the talk is on both sides.

Couples who are all for it encourage the taking and posting of photos; request that they receive copies of all of them; and even try to be publicly organized by creating custom hashtags for Instagram and whatnot so that all the photos of their wedding live in one happy place. (For a guest’s take on why Instagramming weddings is awesome, please read this essay on Jezebel, which hilariously hits the nail on the head. It also links to a CBS Miami story on this topic.)

Couples who are not into it are more and more requesting that photos—sometimes just of them specifically, sometimes of the entire wedding day in general—not be posted of their wedding on any social media. It seems like sometimes that only pertains to during the event—they want their guests to enjoy themselves without their faces in their phones and want to control the revealing of their Big Day themselves—and sometimes that means at all. They wish for you to pretend it didn’t even happen as far as social media is concerned, ever.

I mean, here is basically what I personally think about it:

  • Under no circumstances should pictures of the bride herself be posted anywhere—honestly, I don’t think they should even be texted to anyone who isn’t physically standing next to her, unless she gives her specific OK—before she is revealed completely and publicly in person to the whole of her groom, family and wedding guests. I don’t care if anyone actually verbally instructs this, either, because it should seriously go without saying.
  • Whatever I feel about it, whatever you feel about it, whether or not pictures get posted during the wedding is totally up to the couple. Just like I always say concerning bridesmaids not liking their dress, it doesn’t really matter what you think. It’s their wedding, it’s their day, it’s their privacy, it’s their call.
  • Couples swiping their guests’ phones is a bit much. More than that, really—I don’t actually think it’s anywhere within their rights, even as the couple getting married that day, to confiscate the cell phones of grown adults. If they don’t want photos posted of them on social media then they should certainly make that request known—and it should certainly be heeded—but it’s just that in the end, really. A request. It’s not a command, because unless you are of high military rank, that’s not really how human interaction works, and it’s frankly a bit nuts to try and wield that much control over your friends and family. You cannot take their personal belongings away like some sort of deranged bridal TSA agent.

But we’re curious about your feelings on the subject. Are you going to request a kibosh on the posting of photos during your wedding? Or are you going to try to encourage it and make it easy for friends and family to share them? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Shannon

    A social media strategy…. for your wedding?

    Welcome to 2013, where planning a wedding requires not just seating plans, and color schemes but also a social media strategy. If you have never considered the effect of social media at your wedding, PhotoFiesta.NET would like to offer you a few tips.

    First of all, everyone planning a large event, like a wedding, needs to come up with a social media strategy. It is important that your strategy assures that only high quality photography (instead of pics. from friends’ iphones) ends up on the internet.

    Many people hope that friend’s photos will help document the big day, but several problems do exist with this strategy. One of the biggest problems with asking guests to use their smartphones to help document your wedding is that these DIY pictures are often the most viewed… and the poorest quality. These images usually get far more views than the images that you have paid a professional photographer to take.

    Last week a bride from Ohio shared a story highlighting a problem I hadn’t even considered. They decided to encourage guests to help them celebrate by taking and posting pictures using a hashtag so they could view them later. Later in the evening, after guests had enjoyed the open bar for a couple of hours a the bride took to the dance floor where she had a small, ahem, wardrobe malfunction. The bride quickly readjusted her dress and the incident was over in seconds, she thought no one had even noticed.

    After the wedding the new couple left for their honeymoon. When they arrived home, full of excitement, they checked the photos uploaded by guests. Of course, that one awkward moment had in fact been caught on camera, but worse, it had received hundreds of shares, and even a few comments. The bride was devastated and her new husband furious. They had only invited close friends and family to the wedding, and were shocked that this had happened. When confronted a friend sheepishly admitted that he had too much to drink and at the time, thought postinged it was funny. Although he apologized profusely the damage was done. The picture that most guests remember from that wedding, is one the couple would rather forget

    Another consideration is the experience of your guests, at a typical wedding, guests spend a lot of time staring into their phones instead of interacting with each other. In fact, 7 out of 10 twitter followers admit to sending tweets during weddings! Ideally, you want your guests to experience the wedding, not document it, and certainly not to miss key moments while they update their facebook page! Another problem is that flashes from amateur photography often ruin a great shot that your photographer was trying to take. Many photographers have become increasingly frustrated by these ruined shots and are forced to try to convince guests to turn off their devices themselves. Many couples find that when they get their pictures back from the photographer that special moments (like a first dance) have a background that is totally obscured by devices and the picture looks more like you are dancing in front of a paparazzi scrum than a crowd of well-wishers.

    In fact, more and more couples are opting for an “unplugged wedding” – where guests are asked to turn off or surrender their phones for the duration of the wedding.

    The problem with an unplugged wedding is that social media has become such a huge part of how we interact as a society and couples don’t want to cut that part of their life out of their wedding day. In addition, almost all weddings have at least one cherished friend or family member who was not able to attend. Social media can allow that person to participate in the event as it happens rather than hearing about it later.

    The solution? Simple, have a social media strategy in place before the wedding. Simple software like PhotoFiesta.NET allows your professional photographer to showcase their images on an ipad in real time. Or the wedding photographer can feature only a couple of the best shots. This ipad can be carried with your photographer or set up in a beautiful kiosk. Guests can view and interact with the media and easily upload it to a variety of social media.

    There is usually a period of time between the ceremony and the reception, while the wedding party has additional photography done. This time is often particularly problematic for out of town guests who have nowhere to go. This is a great time for guests to be able to interact with a kiosk and upload professional shots from your ceremony, and the images taken immediately before and after the ceremony itself

    The best part of a PhotoFiesta.NET kiosk is that if you do get a picture to trend or go viral it will be of professional quality. Ask any bride and she will tell you – the most viewed picture, better be a good one!

    This type of software also encourages guests to be more engaged in your wedding by encouraging groups to view the content and discuss the pictures together.

    Hopefully, on your wedding day, you can get all of the benefits of social media, and guests can keep their phones in their pockets – where they belong!

  • TG

    I am very concerned with this at my upcoming wedding because for security reasons (due to my job), my fiancee and I don’t post information or photos of ourselves online. We don’t feel the need to document every little thing with the Internet and I know that even if something is “private” it really isn’t. I am trying to come up with a respectful way to request that guests do not post any photos of us at our wedding online, but I know people out there that post every single thing and are going to have issues with that.

    • Fae

      Look up photo etiquette cards. Head on over to offbeatbride.com Put it in your invitations and your program. Place a little sign where people enter. Have the officiant make an announcement beforehand.

      While I understand this is a request, if you, as a guest, don’t like it, then you don’t need to be there. Seriously. If you can’t part with your precious phone for a few hours, then stay home with it. I’m sure surfing facebook and whatever else you do with it will be so much more fun than actually interacting with people.

      You can say something simple like “be nice and turn off your device” or “we respectfully ask you to respect our privacy and refrain from posting and photos on social media. This is a private event.” Just think about what would work for you and go for it. Talk with people long before the event and make sure everyone understands that your wedding is a private wedding. Another good idea is to assign a trusted friend to be your enforcer. “The bride and groom have asked for no cell phones to be present. Can you please put it away?” and then have a system in place. If the guest continues to do what they please, they’re out. It may sound harsh, but this day is about you as a couple and celebrating your love and commitment for each other. You are the ones paying for everything – including the professional photographer – so what you say, goes.

      I really hope it works out for you. My way of doing it was to keep the guest list small. Good luck to you!!