Social Media Etiquette for Weddings
Weddings are magical events. Friends and family gather to celebrate the love and commitment of two people; eating, drinking, and dancing under the glow of a thousand twinkling lights. Their happiness is contagious; the couple’s love over flows, spilling out onto the many guests, encouraging well wishes and celebratory toasts.
Across countries and cultures, weddings share a common purpose: uniting everyone as participants in a love everlasting. A gathering of people, while united in purpose, entails many differing views on life, including what is right and wrong. As such, running as an undercurrent of any wedding is a river of social rules. There are entire sections of wedding magazines devoted to etiquette; determining what the “rights and wrongs” are, in regards to both hosting and attending a wedding.
With each new generation etiquette has evolved; what was once frowned upon is now no longer even a consideration. However, with the advancement of technology, these social rules have morphed once again. A new subsection has been created: wedding social media etiquette.
Social media is by definition “websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts”. These websites, including Facebook and Instagram, have billions of daily users sharing information continuously.
It stands to reason that at least some of your invited wedding guests will be users of these websites. So what is appropriate behaviour in regards to social media at a wedding? What can you share? When can you share it? Following is a list for consideration when hosting and attending weddings in this era of social media.
Wedding Social Media Etiquette for the Happy Couple:
- Beginning with the engagement, do not post anything without sharing the exciting news with your family and friends first. Do not let them find out anything of importance on social media.
- Keep your social media posts devoid of wedding minutiae. As you are planning the ceremony, reception and honeymoon, there are many, many details involved. Avoid sharing these in the months leading up to your wedding. Firstly, part of creating an amazing event is in the surprise. If your guests know exactly what you are planning, it spoils the excitement of anticipation. Secondly, your friends and family probably are not interested in hearing about how many flavours of cake you tested, or how many pairs of shoes you tried on.
- Do not vent on social media, about any of the wedding stressors that you are experiencing. These could be in regards to the wedding party members or about an issue with a vendor. Voicing your negative feelings on social media will only induce hurt feelings and could result in strained relationships both personal and professional.
- Do use social media to thank family, friends, and others involved in your special day. Especially with vendors, remember to tag them in your photos so that everyone can see their good work. However, this does not act as a “thank you”; you are still required to write thank you notes for any wedding gifts.
- Do not spend your special day glued to your phone. Keep your focus on what is important; your partner, friends and family. In fact, why not hand your phone over to a close friend? They can take photos of the important moments, ensuring that you are not distracted by social media.
- Some couples opt for an “unplugged” By asking guests to refrain from taking pictures during your ceremony and reception, you are opting to create a more intimate and authentic experience. If this is your desire, you need to inform your guests. Simply post a tasteful sign in full view, stating that you wish for them to be fully present in the moment. A second option can be an “unplugged ceremony”, but a “plugged in” reception. This allows your guests to snap and post during the dinner and dancing.
- If you are embracing social media at your wedding, a great idea is to create a wedding hashtag. “A wedding hashtag is an invitation for guests to document the evening and share it on social media in real time”. It not only creates a curated catalogue of images of your special day, but it is a “fun way to easily search pictures from your wedding”. Ensure you share this unique hashtag everywhere, including before the wedding on “save the date” cards and invitations, as well as at the wedding on cocktail napkins, and in a frame posted at the bar.
Wedding Social Media Etiquette for Guests:
- As a guest, you need to be mindful of the couple’s wishes. Even if they allow pictures to be taken during the ceremony, do not be intrusive. Do not impede the professional photographer’s efforts. More importantly, do not post any photos of big moments before the actual event. For instance, do not post a picture of the bride’s dress until after the ceremony.
- Unless instructed by the couple, never live stream a wedding on social media.
- Do not post any negative critiques or unflattering pictures. In other words, “be respectful when taking photos and considerate when posting them”.
- When posting photos, always ensure to include the wedding hashtag.
- Do not overshare pictures on social media; let the couple have the opportunity to post them as it is their special day.
- Do not spend your time as an invited guest, glued to your phone. Put it away and give your full attention to the wedding.
Social media etiquette is just one part of a wedding that needs to be considered. Do you want an unplugged event, or are you going to embrace social media whole heartedly and create a wedding hashtag? With so many details involved, planning your perfect day can become overwhelming.
A Certified Ultimate Event & Wedding Planner™ is trained to design and run any size or type of wedding. They can help you make these decisions and more.
Utilizing the help of a Ultimate Certified Wedding Planner™ enables you to enjoy your special day, on social media and in real time.