Just because you have a camera phone at your disposal, doesn’t mean you have free reign to post anything and everything. Here, the ground rules both the couple getting married and the guests should follow when posting wedding details to social media.
Couples: Maintain some element of surprise.
Oversharing wedding details on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram not only has the potential to make those who aren’t invited feel bad, but even the invited guests will enjoy seeing certain things for the first time in person, says Lizzie Post, co-host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast. Avoid posting detailed updates and photos of things like a flower trial or menu tasting, so that guests have some “surprises” to look forward to, says Tracy Taylor Ward, a wedding planner in New York City.
Couples & Guests: Think before you speak (or Tweet).
Sometimes what seems funny in person—joking about an elopement, for instance—doesn’t translate to Facebook. To avoid inciting unnecessary panic, Post suggests avoiding jokes about the wedding on social media. As a guest, it might sound obvious, but you should never post any negative comments about the couple, the nuptials, or the wedding itself—even if they seem humorous. “Every once in a while you get someone who thinks being sarcastic is funny, and sarcasm on someone’s wedding day just isn’t funny,” she says.
Couples: It’s OK to go tech free—politely.
For couples looking to keep their wedding day tech-free, Ward recommends politely conveying this information on your wedding website and then again with a small note on the ceremony programs (so that less tech-savvy guests get the memo too!). If you really want to ensure guests get the message, ask the officiant to make a quick announcement before the ceremony begins, says Post. Not sure how to tactfully state your wishes? Post suggests explaining to your guests that you want to enjoy the moment with them by saying something like, “As much as we love technology, we really want everyone to focus on being in the moment, so we’re going to ask that you leave your phones off.” You can even add: “We just don’t want the distraction of seeing phones everywhere on our wedding day. We want to talk to you.” This affirms the day as a joint celebration rather than suggesting that their photos may ruin your wedding.
Guests: Wait until after the ceremony to post.
“It is a major faux pas for bridesmaids to post any photos of the bride in her wedding gown on social media before her fiancé sees her on the wedding day,” says Ward. And, if the couple doesn’t have a dedicated wedding hashtag encouraging social media posts, it is considered polite to wait to post pictures until after the bride or groom has done so first, says Post. When in doubt, don’t post photos until you’ve OK’ed it with the couple: “It’s always best to err on the side of caution and stick to personal photos (selfies or group shots of people) and better to avoid photos of the bride and groom, decor or any random guests,” says Ward.
Guests: Keep a low profile.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating things a guest can do is ruin the professional photographer’s shot. Don’t get in the way of the photographer or nudge the father out of the way in order to get pictures of intimate moments, like the first dance, says Post. Another thing to keep in mind: The flash from other cameras can interfere with the photographer’s and overexpose professional snapshots the couple has probably paid a lot of money to capture.
Couples & Guests: Be flexible and understanding.
As the bride or groom, it’s okay to politely ask a guest to take down a questionable photo, says Post. Consider saying something like, “I’m so happy that you’ve posted such great photos, but my mom did see one that she was very unhappy with how she looked in it. Would you mind taking that one particular photo down?”