Social media etiquette at weddings

Today’s world is all about instant communication through Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Like it or not, social media has taken over our private lives and special events.

Social media can be seen as the intrusive guest, particularly at a wedding. As the bride and groom, you want to avoid your friends and family stealing your thunder on your engagement or wedding day.

Ground rules save heartache

It’s easy for people to commit a social media faux pas, so it’s best to set acceptable ground rules at the start. In the long run it means less heartache and avoids the risk of falling out with friends and family online.

Your parents, grandparents and close friends don’t want to first hear of your engagement on Facebook, so tell them before posting on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

There’s no right time to change your ‘relationship status’ – that is up to you as a couple. After that comes the engagement ring photo, but don’t brag about the cost or carat size!


Help the day go smoothly

On the wedding day, focus on your guests instead of your phone and social media friends. If you want to update, ask a good friend to handle your social media throughout the ceremony, or hire someone before hand to do this. Another solution is for you to schedule tweets beforehand.

Paper invitations to a wedding are far more personal but if you do go down the paperless route, there are lots of websites that will customise your invitations.


Don’t post negative feelings

Planning a wedding can be very stressful so tread carefully as no-one wants animosity around their event. It would be very easy to post your frustrations or negative feelings about individuals and situations, but this could rebound and create bad feeling.

Stick to tradition and don’t reveal anything about the bridal dress. The groom wants to see the bride in her dress moments before they wed and not in advance online.

Discuss wedding plans privately by phone or face-to-face and not openly on social media. It could be awkward for those who aren’t invited.

Everyone loves surprises so don’t reveal too many details about your wedding online.


Live in the moment

Guests need to respect the newly-weds’ wishes not to post photos before they do. One solution is to have an unplugged wedding, with guests keeping off social media. One advantage of an unplugged wedding is that the couple and their guests are living in the moment and aren’t distracted by their mobiles.

Professional photographers shouldn’t have to contend with loads of mobile phones waving around or the couple having lots of photos of their guests glued to screens.

A good rule for guests is not to get in the way of the professional photographer -by staying seated during the ceremony and not leaning into the aisle with their phones.

For the best of both worlds, why not go for an unplugged wedding and plugged-in reception? This means that the official photos on your list will have been done so it can be a free-for-all once the party gets started.


People will respect your decision

The way to tell guests about the unplugged rule is to mention it on your wedding website or a note in your invitation. You will find that people will respect your decision.

Couples who want to encourage use of social media will display a wedding hashtag on their website and also at the wedding. This means that everyone is free to snap away and share images on social media.

Don’t thank people publicly or post pictures of your engagement and wedding presents, as it’s not a competition. It’s far better to send a thank-you note as it shows you’ve taken time and thought.

It is not polite to discuss the cost of the wedding online or grumble about the mounting budget, as this will make uncomfortable reading for the guests.

There are no guarantees that everyone will stick to the rules but by asking for what you want, it will at least reduce the risk of photo mishaps. And if you do go for a plugged-in celebration, enjoy being in the tech limelight.