From the time you get engaged to the day you return from your honeymoon, you'll experience dozens of milestones and photo ops you'll be dying to share on social media. This is an amazing time in your life, and it's only natural to want to keep your friends and family updated on every new development. Before you start tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming, and Snapchatting your way to the altar, make sure you know the new rules of social media etiquette. Not everything can be posted online without causing confusion and hurt feelings among you, your guests, and your vendors.
These 8 social media rules for brides and grooms will keep you from posting something you might later regret.
1. Share news of your engagement with close family members and friends over the phone or in person, before posting on social media.
Your parents and best friends may (rightly) feel slighted if they learn the news of your engagement from your giddy ring selfie on Facebook, at the same time as your 500 other Facebook friends. Or, if they aren't active on social media, they may not even find out until hours or days later. Honor your inner circle's special presence in your life by delivering the happy news to them personally – then sharing the news with your social media buddies.
2. Don't make any promises on social media before details are finalized.
In the heat of the engagement excitement, it's all too easy to respond to an old friend's congratulations with, "Can't wait to see you at the wedding!" before you've even figured out a guest list. In the same vein, don't announce any potential locations, showers, bachelorette parties, or any other details without knowing for sure what your plans are. Even if you know your "plans" aren't set in stone, your friends will think they are, and you don't want to have to backtrack once you really finalize the details.
3. In fact, keep all wedding planning chatter to a minimum.
Not only will your followers quickly grow weary of your daily updates on the state of your floral arrangements, but don't you want to maintain some element of surprise? It'll be hard for guests to feel excited about your wedding if they already know exactly what to expect. In addition, oversharing may make friends who weren't invited (but thought they would or wanted to be) feel left out. Social media is not the place to brag about the amazing band you just scored.
4. Ask friends not to share pictures of you in your wedding dress.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but your bridesmaids may get so excited about your gown that they post a fitting room shot on Instagram, in full view of your partner-to-be. Yikes! Ask that no photos from dress shopping or getting ready the morning of see the light of day until after the wedding!
5. Brainstorm a creative wedding hashtag.
You and your new spouse will have a blast looking through all the photos your guests took throughout the wedding day. If all of the photos are tagged with a single hashtag, it'll be easier for you and the other guests to check them out online. Display signs asking guests to use your hashtag at the ceremony and reception entrances, and print the hashtag in your invitations and program.
6. Don't feel guilty if you'd rather have a tech-free wedding.
If the thought of your friends focusing on taking pictures during the ceremony fills you with annoyance, it's okay to ask that phones be turned off during the wedding and that no photos be shared on social media. Print a friendly reminder in the program, or ask a friend or family member to make an announcement at the start of the ceremony.
Will some guests ignore your wishes and pull out their phones anyway? Yes. Either take a deep breath and try to let it go, or ask your wedding planner to kindly remind multiple offenders that the bride and groom would prefer a phone-free ceremony. If guests' amateur photography is interfering with your professional photographer, he or she should also feel free to politely ask guests to put their phones and cameras down.
7. Check with your photographer before posting any of their photos on social media.
Your photographer may prefer to share photos from your wedding on their own social media pages first, or they may want you to only share watermarked photos. Or, they may send you a few shots as a teaser to the upcoming album, but don't actually want anyone but you to see them. Keep in mind that photographers generally don't like anyone seeing photos they haven't finished editing, even if you think the photos look amazing. Just ask what they prefer before you start posting – and always, always include a photography credit when you do!
8. A social media thank you does not replace a paper thank-you note.
Writing on your aunt's Facebook page that you received her gift does not mean you don't still have to write her a formal thank-you note. It may be faster to dash off a quick thank-you message online, but trust us: your guests still want to receive a handwritten note of gratitude.
Opening photo by Elisabeth Millay