Do's and don'ts - Social Media Etiquette at weddings
With wedding photo apps, wedding hashtags, and digital guestbooks, it can be hard to navigate the new rules of social media etiquette at weddings. What is the couple expecting? WhICH photos are ok to post, and when? How can you best contribute to your friend or family member’s special day?
We’ve prepared a few DO’s and DONT’s for social media at weddings, so you can snap, post, and tag with ease at your next loved one’s gathering.
DO use the wedding hashtag
Wedding hashtags are a clever way of making the couple’s lives a lot easier. After the day has come to a close, no one wants to be scrounging around, asking friends to send photos, or stalking them on Instagram for that one shot they remember them taking. The wedding hashtag is the perfect tool to gather the day’s best pictures. Plus it’s fun! Looking back on the day through many different eyes at the click of a button creates an amazing recollection of the day, and the love that brought the guests together.
DO be considerate of the photographer
Not to say you’re incapable of capturing a masterpiece on your iPhone, but remember to treat the wedding photographer like the professional he or she is. If the photographer needs to be in a certain spot to capture the cutting of the cake, take note of where their camera’s pointing and make that the priority. If you post any of the photographer’s photos, always, always tag and credit them. Instagram and Facebook are powerful tools for vendors (from photographers, to caterers, to florists), and being properly credited goes a long way in promoting their business.
Never hesitate to spread the word on their beautiful work. Yes, it takes an extra minute of your time to search for their handle and tag, but it shows that you respect their work and their expertise.
DON’T live stream the wedding.
Maybe this goes without saying, but please don’t live stream the wedding. Unless you have explicit instructions from the bride and groom to do so, live streaming the ceremony is disrespectful to the sacred space your friends have created to say their vows. It’s easy to get over-excited and want to record and share every little moment instantaneously, but take a moment to reflect on what the couple is going through. Yes, they’re getting the rapt attention of their families and loved ones, and yes, they expect to be photographed and filmed, Instagrammed and Snapchatted, but the ceremony itself is a special, vulnerable moment for the couple to cherish and to share as they please. A live stream they’re not aware of is intrusive. If you’re unsure what the couple wants captured from the ceremony, ask them. (Ideally, ahead of time... not the day of the wedding.) Some couples want the ceremony photographed, some want it to be completely private. It’s a good thing to know before 200 people start blowing up your Insta-Story.
DON’T overstep your boundaries.
The same goes for whole day. Go in with an idea of how private the couple wants to be on social media. That doesn’t mean following the bride around asking she approve every single post you make, but use your best judgement and ask ahead of time. It can feel unnatural to talk about social media, but it’s important to know your boundaries and respect the couple’s wishes.
It goes without saying don't post unflattering pictures, or post so many photos that everyone knows exactly who danced with who and what was served for dinner. Many couples wish to keep specific things private. Maybe the groom doesn’t want his best man’s speech to live forever on your Facebook wall, or maybe the bride wants her first dance to only be witnessed by the people she invited. Alternatively, they may be super excited to share photos of the wedding cake, and want you to post the cutting of the cake. Asking ahead of time will allow you to photograph and post with ease, without worrying about stepping on any toes.
DO stay in the moment
No matter how great a photographer you are, the most important thing is that you enjoy the day in real time. You were invited to the wedding because the couple wanted you to be there, and that means IRL. Yes, take photos, and yes, share amazing moments on social media, but also take the time (and have the discipline) to put your phone away and be in the moment.
Weddings only happen once, and your presence is a part of the day your friends have created to celebrate their marriage. No matter how many videos you take or Instagrams you post, nothing will ever compare to being there in the moment.