Social Media at Weddings: The Dos and Don’ts

From wedding hashtags to personalised Snapchat filters, here’s how to navigate the minefield of social media on your big day

We’ve all heard about unplugged weddings and bespoke wedding filters, but the fact is, wedding social media etiquette starts way before your big day. In fact, it kicks off from the moment you slip the ring onto your finger, with your engagement announcement.

Announcement etiquette

Make sure you share your happy news with everyone close to you, before you post it on social media. While she might slip your mind to call in all the excitement, it’d probably hurt your aunty to find out via Facebook.

Similarly, if you’ve told someone who you know is a bit of a Facebook blabbermouth, be sure to remind them not to post anything online until you have done so yourself; it’s not nice for people to find out second hand via social media.

Don’t offload offline

After a stressful day of fully booked venues and unreliable bridesmaids, it can be tempting to take to Twitter and blast out a full blown rant, but we suggest you take a minute to cool down before turning into a keyboard warrior. A thinly veiled message about how someone keeps letting you down could cause more trouble than you realise.

Keep your concerns off social media and talk to the person who has riled you personally, and if you really need to vent online, take to our forum, where there will lots of people in similar situations ready and waiting to offer advice.

Keep some secrets

Tempting as it is to post detailed Facebook updates about your plans or Instagrams of your décor in the run up to your big day, this is not a good idea.

“You’re opening up to too much input, and you risk building too much expectations and pressure,” says planner to the stars, Mark Niemierko. “You might also offend people who aren’t invited.

Spread the word

Personalised wedding hashtags (think #ParkerSmithWedding) are becoming ever more common as a great way to help you find all of the Instagram photos taken on the day. If you’re going down this route, your guests need to know about it – put your chosen hashtag on your wedding website, invites and the place cards.

Remember to choose a unique hashtag, too. The more common the hashtag (#smithwedding, for example) the more likely it is that your photos will get muddled up with another couples’.

Another trend taking the wedding by storm are wedding day Snapchat filters, so again, make sure everyone knows about it.

Don’t be afraid to go unplugged

It’s perfectly acceptable to request a social media ban – simply make your position clear from the very beginning with a link on the invitations.

Mark’s suggested wording: “We’d rather just share these moments with you, so please don’t share your pictures of our wedding on social media.”

You should also give an on-the-day reminder. If you’d like to see your guest’s pictures without the whole world having access, ask them to upload images to an app like wedpics.

Listen to your photographer

There are some nightmare stories going around about professionals being unable to get decent ceremony and newlywed shots of the couple because a sea of smartphones blocks their view.

If your photographer brings this up on the day, ask an usher or two to help with crowd control, and consider have your just-the-two-of-us shots well away from the drinks reception.

READ MORE: Photographer's warning to wedding guests goes viral

Go without your own phone

In the same way you’d hate to see your guests constantly scrolling through their phones during the wedding breakfast, you don’t want to spend your whole day refreshing Facebook looking for well wishes. Hand over your phone to a bridesmaid, or leave it in the bridal suite, and spend the day soaking up every last minute instead; you have your whole life to update your relationship status!

Image | Ria Mishaal
Image | Ria Mishaal

Provide props

If you don’t mind people snapping selfies on your big day, why not provide selfie sticks as favours? It’s a sure fire way to get people to use your wedding hashtag and mean you’ll have hundreds of pics to scroll through on your honeymoon flight.

Social Media Etiquette for Wedding Guests

There’s a whole set of advice especially for guests too, to follow from when the engagement is announced to the big day itself. 

First things first, hold off on posting engagement congratulations until the couple has posted themselves – you don’t want to steal their thunder

Secondly ask questions privately. If you simply must know their colour scheme, drop the couple a text rather than asking on a Facebook thread. You can’t expect them to spill all online.

The ultimate social media no no on wedding day is posting photos of the bride and groom before they’ve had a chance to do so themselves – or even until the evening guests have arrived – you don’t want to spoil the first look moment for anyone.

In fact, it’s best if you put your phone away altogether. The bride and groom didn’t spend months planning their dream day for you to miss it all while looking for the perfect Instagram feature.

Another cardinal wedding rule is not to get in the way of the photographer; if you must snap some shots during the ceremony, be as discreet as possible – turn of the shutter noise!

This rule is one to follow throughout your life, not just at weddings; don’t share unflattering photos! The picture of the father of the bride with his tie wrapped around your head might be hilarious to you, but it could embarrass him and project an impression of the wedding that the bride and groom don’t want out in the cyber world.

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