You have heard it numerous times: if it isn’t on social media, then it didn’t happen. With so many friends and relatives – yes, even grandma – on social media, there is no doubt that you will be bombarded with seemingly endless posts all about your wedding; this is actually amazing! It is a testament that people are thrilled for you. Yet, what does that really mean for your day? Is this the best way for attendees to express their elation? Can they actually ruin your celebration?
Several problems can arise when loved ones post on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms on behalf of your nuptials. Have you considered them? Chances are your guests have not. For example, you are getting ready in the bridal suite and take selfies with your favorite ladies. They photograph you in your dress and you look stunning, so what’s a bestie to do besides post you all over her Instagram? Oopsie! Guess who follows her and just happened to scroll through his Instagram feed? Yes, that’s right, the groom has now seen his lovely bride, and your bestie is to blame.
Another situation that most professionals who are covering your wedding are familiar with is the faux photographer. Since great cameras have been added to cell phones, some of your guests are going to be determined to snap the very best shot. Let’s say you are walking down the aisle, your father holds you close and you both well up with tears, as do almost all in attendance. You have a photography and film team that is capturing the moment beautifully. Then, your neighborhood friend you have known for 30 years, who is sitting at the end of the row, sees his opportunity to get the most awesome shot… with his cell phone! He realizes he can’t step in the aisleway, so he “discreetly” extends his long arm and lime-green encased cell phone and snaps away. What is wrong with this? Well, that stunning perspective your photographer had is still there, but about mid-torso your childhood friend’s lime-green cell phone is darting across your dress. His photo spoiled the one you paid for and, dare it be said, one that would have been much better.
Although these are just a couple examples of cell phone and social media disasters, certainly more can arise. How can this be avoided? What is the etiquette to ensure your lovely, enthusiastic guests do not try to become social-media-posting-photography “heroes” that may ruin significant moments of your nuptials?
First, as soon as the day begins, encourage your wedding party to take photos. However, make sure to emphasize that none of them should be posted on social media. Let your bridesmaids, closest friends, and family know how you feel about this and reference the potential issues that can occur. This is quite easy to do, as you will be with a small group of people.
In the course of your vow exchange, it can get a little difficult to have someone run around and tell 200-plus loved ones not to post on social media – or to take pictures. How do you inform everyone? It’s actually very simple. In the industry we call these “unplugged weddings.” You can place a beautiful sign on the guest book table that reads: “Welcome to our unplugged wedding. We invite you to be 100% present during our ceremony. Please turn off your cell phone and camera; we promise to share photos that have been taken today.” Of course, some attendees may not see this. Therefore, if someone is distributing programs, have him or her give a reminder to each person. Your officiant can also make a subtle announcement or, if you have a live quartet, one of the members may be able to mention this before the procession as well.
The cocktail hour and reception are more appropriate instances for friends and family to take photos and post on social media. During these points of the wedding, it is unlikely that someone can spoil a moment, especially because it’s at a time when it's easier – and more appropriate – for your media team to interject and your photographer to say, “excuse me.” There are even fantastic social media companies who will print your guests’ Instagram pictures in an instant. This is a great take on photo booths and a special way to give partygoers pictures, as well as an opportunity to share. Just keep in mind that photos are amazing, and sharing is terrific, but don’t let them interfere with your day!
Opening photo by EDLT Photo