• The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Social Media

    The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Social Media

    How to keep it #classy in the age of hashtags, filters and followers.

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With the pervasiveness of smartphones, tech etiquette is now a very real part of the wedding-planning process. From almost the moment you get engaged, questions around social media pop up, like: How should you announce your engagement? And then, looking ahead to the ceremony, what if guests are snapping pictures obsessively and it ruins the moment? And choosing a wedding hashtag? #Stressful.

Whether you’re an Instagram power couple or a tech-traditionalist match made in heaven, couples getting married in the digital age should decide what role, if any, they want social media to play in their celebration. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you plan your approach to social media before, during and after your wedding.

Leading up to the ceremony…

Do wait to post until AFTER you’ve told your loved ones you’re engaged.

While the temptation to post a flashy engagement announcement is real, your loved ones may feel hurt or disappointed if they don’t hear the big news from you first. Let your immediate family and close friends in on the secret either in person or over the phone. If the big social media reveal is important to you, ask your inner circle to keep quiet until you post the news publicly.

Do choose a wedding hashtag!

You’ll want a wedding hashtag, if for no other reason than to easily find your friends’ photos after the fact. Now something of a wedding cliché, wedding hashtags should be short and easy to remember. Some ideas include a funny combination of your names or working your married name into a common saying or song lyric. Once you choose, you can decide how you’ll incorporate it into your “I do” details like your wedding website, invitation, printed program and table settings.

Don’t flood your friends’ feeds with wedding-related posts.

It’s almost inevitable you’ll have friends—even good friends—you won’t be able to invite to your wedding. But in the age of social networking, everyone sees everything. Be mindful of your friends, family and acquaintances who won’t be joining you and limit your pre-wedding posts to only the best of the best.

SEE MORE: 10 Things You Must Do Once You Get Engaged

On your wedding day…

Do embrace social media guidelines­—loose, strict or anything in between.

Set clear social media rules, but also know that no matter how hard you try, not every guest will adhere to them—and that’s OK, too. Some general guidelines? It’s common practice not to post pictures of the happy couple in their wedding get-ups before the ceremony—lest you spoil the big first-look moment. Another popular solution to the wedding social media problem is to ask guests to deposit their devices at the door and then pick them up either when the reception starts or after the meal, whichever you prefer.

Don’t let your guests’ cell phones and tablets ruin your wedding photos.

You’re shelling out good money for a professional (or semi-professional) photographer, but they may not be able to do their job if your guests are also taking their own amateur photos. If you’re allowing guests to use devices during your ceremony and reception, politely remind them that the photographer will capture ALL the heartwarming moments—all they need to do is stay in the moment and take everything in.

SEE MORE: 5 Tips for Hiring a Wedding Photographer

Do lead by example.

If you’re a #social butterfly, lead the way! Post a selfie of you and your crew with your wedding hashtag and keep posting throughout your entire celebration. You can even assign one (or maybe a few!) “tweeters or instagrammers of honor” to flood your hashtag. Plus, there’s no way you’ll be able to keep up with all the wedding fun happening (you’ll be busy fulfilling your #HappyCoupleObligations like throwing the bouquet and talking to literally everyone), but you can relive all the best moments later when you search your hashtag.

Don’t worry too much about getting the #perfect shot.  

Couples are under a lot of pressure to post the perfect wedding picture­—you know, the one that will get hundreds of likes, go viral and break the Internet. But don’t stress so much about your Internet-breaking moment that you forget to enjoy your offline celebration of forever-love. You may even have better luck with a candid, spur-of-the-moment photo, like freshening up your lipstick after the ceremony or sharing a sentimental interaction with Grandma. Don’t overthink it!

After you toss the bouquet…

Do find a way to document your favorite social media posts!

With a wedding hashtag, you’ll have a treasure trove of memories to enjoy. While all the posts including your hashtag will live in the Twitterverse, like, forever, why not make them part of your wedding keepsakes? This can be as easy as adding them to your wedding album on Facebook, or, if you’re a tech enthusiast, use your social posts to tell a story about your “I do.” There’s even a company that will frame your most-cherished social media conversations. Or, if you want to flip through your most Instagrammable wedding moments, you can create a beautiful photo book with Chatbooks or Artifact Uprising.

For better or worse, in sickness and in health, social media is part of our lives. But with a few ground rules for wedding social media, you can decide what guidelines, if any, make sense for you and your sweetheart. And in the end, you may be surprised by just how grateful you are to have not only the big moments but also all those little moments—the photos from posts, comments and tweets—from the day you and your partner started your new life together.

SEE MORE: 45 Wedding Do’s and Don’ts for Brides, by Brides

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