Wedding Etiquette – Social Media & Mobile Phones

Around 66% of people in the UK own a smartphone and over 60% of people in the UK have a Facebook account (Warren Knight 2016). A growing number are also on Instagram and other social media platforms. It’s therefore inevitable that social media will play a part in your wedding. Bit will you choose to ban it or embrace it? Today we’re going to consider wedding etiquette – social media & mobile phones. Everything in life is so instantaneous these days, but should it be?

Wedding Etiquette - guest on mobile phone

The cameras on mobile phones are so far advanced and are these days very high quality.  They are therefore rapidly making the small point and shoot camera redundant. That’s not to say that a professional photographer’s going to turn up to shoot your wedding with just a mobile phone. However, in day to day use, the convenience of using a mobile phone camera app far outweighs carrying around a small camera.

During Wedding Planning

With 3G and 4G connectivity and wifi hotspots available in many places the chances are that your wedding guests could be posting photos of your special day way before the official photographs are available. But wedding etiquette  regarding this needs to be established prior to and during your big day.

How do you feel about your guests taking photos and posting them online? Either way you need to let your guests know what the wedding etiquette is that they should be observing.

Do you want to make sure that your official photographs are the first to be seen? A brief note in with your wedding invitations should do the trick. Something polite along the lines of “Please relax and enjoy our wedding day, we’ve hired a fabulous photographer to capture all the special moments and would really appreciate it if you could refrain from posting photos from the day online until after we have shown off the official photos.”

The Ceremony

You want people to enjoy the ceremony in person rather than through a lens. Consider putting a note on the inside cover of your Order of Service reminding guests to turn off their phones during the ceremony – who wants to be the embarrassing guest who forgets gets a call at a crucial moment in the service?! Maybe the vicar/priest/officiant could remind guests at the beginning of the ceremony. This could be done in a serious or funny way, depending on the style of your wedding.

Also, you’ve hired an amazing photographer who is being paid to capture all the special moments of your day and the last thing you want is for the photos of the ceremony to be marred by other people taking photos. Wedding Etiquette - photobombed wedding ceremony

Ok, it’s photoshopped, but you get the picture!

The Reception

Sometimes some of the best photographs are unplanned and take you by surprise. The photographer can’t be everywhere at once and during the reception  could miss a beautiful candid or amusing shot. It might therefore be worth considering asking guests to upload their photos from the reception. Give them a hashtag to use for the purpose so that everyone can look at them easily.

Wedding Etiquette - Instagram sign

Decide on your hashtag (make sure you check to see that no-one else is using it first) and put it in the information for guests in the invitations, put it in the Order of the Day or program if you’re having one, maybe print signs for the reception tables. Make sure that guests know what it is or they won’t know to use it.

Whatever your views and wishes just make sure that the guests are aware of them.

General Caution

The wedding party members should also exercise caution when posting on social media before the ceremony. It may be ok for the bridesmaids to take photos of you as you get ready, but you don’t want them posting photos of you in your wedding gown before your groom has seen you!

As a wedding stationer it’s very tempting to post photos of the stationery I’m making. However I observe the wedding etiquette of  keeping things under wraps until after the big day because I don’t want to spoil any surprises. Therefore I wait before I post on my Facebook page, Twitter or Pinterest.