Photo by Tom Pumford

Wedding Talk

Pre-ceremony Instagrams and ill-advised 'humblebrags' - How not to behave on social media at a wedding

Avoid any social media faux pas with these five all-important etiquette tips.

Heading to a wedding? Have your phone charged and your personalised hashtags copied to your clipboard, and avoid falling afoul of Facebook with these five social media rules.

1. Respect the 'unplugged' wedding

With the emergence of the 'unplugged' wedding, many couples are now jumping on board the anti-social bandwagon, and requesting that guests abstain from posting photos of their wedding on their social media channels completely.

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This can be for a variety of reasons, from the couple not wishing to offend people they might not have been in a position to invite, to simply being private people who would prefer personal aspects of their lives kept as just that. If the wedding is an unplugged one, you will more than likely find out either through the couple declaring it so on their invites, through family members, or on ceremony programmes or on signage at the venue entrance. If this is the case, do try to respect the couple's wishes.

If you really have the urge to share photos of your #ootd (outfit of the day to the uninitiated), that's okay, but keep the couple's names and your location - if you are at the wedding venue - offline.

2. Wait until after the ceremony update your followers

There are very few things worse than going to a live gig only to find yourself watching your favourite band through the iPhone screen of some selfish punter. However one thing that's probably more frustrating is having to witness your best friends exchange their heartfelt vows through the cracked iPad screen of a clueless guest who refuses to let the professional videographer to do their job.

Wedding ceremonies, both religious and non religious, are momentous events. They are a hugely important and significant occasion in a couple's life together and require the people present to be just that: present. So for those few minutes of the day, keep the phone in your pocket and leave the filters until the drinks reception.

Bonus tip: If you find yourself in the bridal suite on the big day, by all means take some snaps if the bride is happy to pose, but leave them offline until the next day. Don't ruin the bride's big reveal for her partner or guests with some shaky snaps of her getting into her tights with rollers in her hair.

3. Use the couple's personalised hashtag if they have one

Twelve months ago we were calling personalised hashtags pure notions; this year they're par for the course when it comes to weddings. In fact you could go as far as to say that a personalised hashtag is now a necessary aspect of the big day, allowing couples and their guests to navigate their shared wedding photos with ease as they trawl through the millions of similar snaps on their social media streams (at time of writing there are 11M+ photos using the hashtag #wedding on Instagram).

There are an abundance of tips online on how to create the perfect personalised hashtag (making it short, snappy, memorable and avoiding dates and symbols being some of the more helpful guides) and you can also now get your hands on an array of beautiful signs to display your custom online wedding label for guests too.

4. Exercise caution when captioning photos

For some people, sharing on social media is second nature, with hashtags a photo captions coming so naturally they often don't even merit a second thought. However wedding days are different to every other day, and your regular posts may not have the same effect at an event that's meant to be all about a happy couple in love.

Think before you post, and keep in mind that the day isn't about your new hair 'do. While the couple might not see your posts until a week after, other guests who have discovered them may interpret your humblebrags as being not-so-humble at all.

5. Remember anything can go viral

It's easy to get soaked up in the whimsical world of a weekend wedding, where everybody is happy, carefree, open and perhaps even feeling a bit mischievous. But while you might be using your friends' custom hashtag and thinking your photos and videos are all going into one 'hive mind' space of similar souls sharing similar snaps, always remember that anything you post online can go viral in an instant.

Unflattering photos are a definite no-no - if you have to consider for a second if it doesn't make someone look good don't post it. Another handy rule is if you wouldn't want your boss to see it, keep it offline.

Something funny might happen in the speeches, or the couple could fall during their first dance, while it might make a great 'epic wedding fail' video, stop to consider those involved before you head to YouTube - they might be laughing now but in the morning after a couple of thousand views they may feel quite different.

Photo by Tom Pumford