Social Media Etiquette for Guests

Should wedding guests follow social media etiquette?

You may be surprised to know that the average wedding guest shares 22 photos on social media sites from your wedding!
(Source: Wedding Paper Divas 2013 online survey)

While more than a decade has passed since that survey, the findings today may probably be the same or
increased. So, it’s safe to say that modern weddings have many more issues to grapple with
than weddings from even ten years ago. Nowadays, there are a host of online RSVP
management tools and a plethora of social media channels for couples to contend with!

Apart from wedding planning, questions that now arise for couples include: Would you prefer
guests to avoid taking photos during the ceremony but feel more relaxed about allowing them to
capture moments during the reception? Are you comfortable with guests sharing photos online,
provided you and your new spouse have the first opportunity to publish? Whatever you decide
upon, you can enlist the help of your officiant, Master of Ceremonies or DJ to help make
courtesy announcements. You could even use special signage at the ceremony and reception,
indicating your preferences.

Naturally, all these new forms of communication warrant certain etiquette rules.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for using social media and technology at weddings.

  • Do take a cue from the couple – If the couple seems very tech-savvy and open
    about sharing details about their wedding online, chances are, they may welcome
    having photos of their wedding posted via social media. However, never take this for
    granted and always ask permission first. This is because many couples would like to
    be the first to post their photos or make certain announcements; and as guests, we
    should respect that.
  • Go silent – Prior to entering the ceremony and continuing into the reception, you
    should ensure that your smart phone is on silent/vibrate mode. Not only would a ring
    or notifications disrupt the proceedings but these would also be sound recorded in
    the couple’s wedding video.
  • Respect “unplugged weddings” – Some couples will specifically request a
    “blackout,” which means no guest photography at the wedding or posts on social
    media. They may do this prior to the wedding by mentioning it on their wedding
    website or including a card about it, within their invitation suite.
  • If you aren’t sure, refrain! – it’s important to be “in the moment” at a wedding. This
    is why it’s poor manners to be constantly on your smartphone taking “selfies” or,
    updating and posting photos during the wedding ceremony or reception. The couple
    should be the first to post photos, unless they expressly state that they welcome
    guests doing so, as the day unfolds.
  • Use the wedding hashtag – Some couples will devise a wedding hashtag for use
    on social media. In this instance, they will provide it through a note card, word of
    mouth, private email or on their personal wedding website. You can share photos or
    well wishes using the hashtag. After the wedding, it will be easy for the couple to
    collate photos or comments, by simply searching for posts with their hashtag.

Here are some don’ts when it comes to social media etiquette for guests:

  • Before the wedding – it’s best not to post photos of the invitation and its details.
    This is to safeguard the privacy of the couple, since chances are, they have not
    invited everyone on their friends’ list and would probably like to keep the invitation’s
    details (and if applicable, home addresses or phone numbers) discreet.
  • Leave it to the professionals Trying to capture every wedding detail with your
    smartphone or worse, bulky ipad or tablet will end up infuriating guests and the
    photographer, whose views you might block in your attempts. Remember that the
    couple has hired professionals to get exactly what they need and there’s no reason
    for guests to be jostling with photographers or videographers for angles or space!
  • Photos of guests It’s courteous to ask guests for their permission before you post
    any photos of them. This is particularly so for babies and children – as some parents
    prefer to keep images of their children off of social media. Unless the child is yours
    and is part of the bridal party, it may be better to avoid photos of guests who are
    children, altogether, no matter how cute you find them!
  • “Journalism” at its worst – One example of this, is a guest who gives a running
    commentary on social media about every minute that passes at the wedding via “live
    streaming.” It goes without saying that this isn’t necessary or even courteous to the

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