How to Handle Social Media at Your Wedding

Wedding table in desertPhoto: Laurel Klein

You’re getting married, and you get to decide how you want your wedding day to go.

Maybe it’s a wedding at home. Maybe it’s a grand celebration with hundreds of guests. Maybe it’s an elopement or a microwedding with a handful of witnesses.

From the dress to the venue to the caterer, you get to make all sorts of fun decisions about your wedding day — and that includes how much you want social media to play a part.

We’ve seen live-streamed weddings, and we’ve seen weddings where couples have put a complete ban on all social media throughout the event.

The good news is that you don’t have to go to one extreme or the other!

Here are some different ways to handle social media at your wedding ceremony, reception, and after the big day. 

Set Social Media Rules That You’re Comfortable With

If you’re an online influencer or looking for wedding social media fame, by all means, live-stream your event!

Create a cute wedding hashtag, post it on your website, and display your hashtag throughout the venue.

Encourage your friends and family to take pics, make videos, post away, and tag you in each post. It will be so much fun to look back and see how your friends and guests experienced your wedding from their point of view.

Not a big fan of social media or don’t want it to play a role on your big day?

That’s understandable too. Many brides and grooms are choosing to set some simple guidelines about not posting their wedding on social media until after the wedding day.

The decision to set some photography guidelines or not is entirely up to you!

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The Reasons Some Couples are Restricting Social Media at Their Wedding

Bride and groom walking with bridal party Photo: Bella Lafayette / Kimbrali Photography

Not everyone is a fan of Snapchat or cares about posting daily Instagram stories. There are lots of people who only use social media on occasion.

But, even some couples who do use social media platforms daily are requesting that their wedding guests don’t post photos throughout the big day.

Here’s why:

They want their loved ones to be present in the moment!

It takes a lot of time to plan a wedding. From choosing the perfect wedding dress to making sure the lighting in the venue is just right, wedding planning is like putting on a production, and couples want their guests to enjoy it.

If you had front row seats to Hamilton, would you watch it through your phone?

Of course not!

Most couples want to look out into the crowd and see all eyes on them — not all eyes staring through cell phones.

Another reason that couples are limiting social media at their weddings is the fact that they’ve already paid for a professional photographer. Pros know how to find the right lighting and set up great shots, and sometimes those great shots can be spoiled when there are dozens of cell phone cameras in the background.

For one, cell phone lights can affect the photographer’s lighting. Two, a crowd of people’s faces hidden by cell phones doesn’t make for the prettiest backdrop! 

For some couples, restricting social media is simply a way to ensure that they get to post the first images and videos from their big day.

Some newlyweds do this as a way to prevent less-than-flattering guests’ photos (after all, not everyone is a good photog!).

Others do it as a way to show respect for guests’ privacy, as there may be guests that don’t want their images posted online.

Tips for Managing Social Media at Your Wedding 

Two bridesmaids posing against rose wallPhoto: Adrianna Papell

Not sure how to manage social media at your wedding? Here are some ways that you can express your wishes to your guests.

Inform Your Guests of the Rules in Advance 

Make an announcement on your invitations, wedding website, and in your ceremony program, letting guests know how much or how little social media usage you prefer.

You can also set up signs at the entrance to your ceremony and throughout your wedding venue as gentle reminders. Just keep the message lighthearted and humorous (like “Keep your snaps under wraps!”). 

It’s also a good idea to have your officiant, band, or DJ make a brief announcement, such as “please refrain from posting pictures on social media.”

If you’re hoping to limit social media wedding posts, you may want to skip the wedding hashtag. Promoting a hashtag while asking guests not to post sends a bit of a mixed message.

Related: Where to Get a Wedding DJ (and What to Expect)

Have an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony 

It’s perfectly reasonable to set some general guidelines as to when guests can share photos of your special day. One way to do so is to embrace the wedding trend of having an unplugged ceremony.

An unplugged ceremony simply means that your wedding photographer will be the only photog snapping pics as you walk down the aisle, say your vows, and have your first kiss as a newly married couple.

With a small sign or a brief announcement, you can let your guests know that you want them to put their cameras and phones down, and that you’ll be happy to share your professional shots when the wedding is over!

Social media restrictions don’t have to last all night. Some couples choose to have an unplugged ceremony but encourage their guests to post freely during the reception. It’s all about what you feel comfortable with!

Want to be the first to post?

When the ceremony ends, take some super cute bride-and-groom selfies and make your official “We’re married!” post.

If you do request that guests not post on social media throughout the night, set up a photo booth at your reception. It’s a great way to distract your best friends and bridal party from taking their own pics and a fun way to get goofy, embarrassing photos that capture the moment!

Have a Designated Social Media Space

Another trick that you can use to limit social media at your wedding is to set up an Insta-worthy backdrop, like a flower wall. 

By setting up a stellar backdrop you can encourage your social media-loving guests to post photos from a designated area, rather than from your ceremony site or reception space. 

Let Your Vendors Know

Some wedding photos aren’t about the bride and groom at all — they’re about the flowers, cake, or table settings.

If you’re concerned about wedding photos being posted in real-time, let your caterer, florist, and other vendors know.

They’ll want to post photos to showcase their work and attract new business, so if you’d prefer that they wait a day or two before posting your wedding images on social media, be sure to give them a heads up.

Expect That Some Guests Won’t Follow the Rules

No matter how much you plan for your wedding day, things don’t always go according to plan.

Expect that no matter what sort of social media limitations you set, some guests won’t play by the rules.

Don’t let it ruin your day!

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We all have different feelings about social media. Some people are hooked on it, some think it’s a waste of time, and some are meh on the whole thing.

So as the soon-to-be-married couple, it’s totally up to you to decide how big or how small of a role you want it to play in your big day.

Remember, when planning your wedding, there’s only one rule you need to follow:

Do whatever it is you want to do!

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