17 Dos and Don'ts for Using Social Media at Weddings
Seven wedding planners and trend experts share their advice for planners.
These days, most weddings aren't complete without an original Instagram hashtag or a customized geofilter on Snapchat—both of which encourage wedding guests to share their experience on social media. And since incorporating social media at the couple's request is a new norm for many wedding planners, there's a social media etiquette that comes with it. From knowing the appropriate time to share one's wedding design on Instagram and asking a client about their social-media rules to incorporating a wedding hashtag into the decor, planners and experts from across the country shared their social media tips on what to do and what not to do during a couple's big day.
Samantha Roberts, wedding social media strategist, SamanthaRoberts.co, New York
Do use the couple’s wedding hashtag on Instagram. “This helps get your work out in front of wedding guests—so they know who planned the impeccable event—and any potential digital wedding crashers, which are people virtually following along with a wedding through the couple’s wedding hashtag,” says Roberts.
Don’t post photos too early. “Do not ever post a photo of the bride in her dress before her walk down the aisle, or in the reception room before the doors open to guests,” she says. “You never want to reveal any big moments before they happen in real time.”
Andrea Eppolito, wedding planner and event designer, Andrea Eppolito Events, Las Vegas
Do take photos of the details that the bride and groom may miss during their wedding. “So often, the bride and groom miss special moments shared by their guests,” says Eppolito. “Share the photos and videos that will move the bride and groom, make them laugh, make them cry, and show them the emotions of the day.”
Don’t post photos of what the bride and groom are wearing—or the ceremony space—before the couple makes an appearance. “What they look like, the dress, the styling, and the space should only be revealed publicly after the couple has made their debut, after the ceremony,” she says.
Ilse Diamant, creative director, Diamant Events, Boston
Do ask your clients about their social-media rules. “Ask your clients what their social-media policy would be for both guests and planner staff, to know if they are cool with their wedding being exposed on social media,” she says.
Don’t create a client hashtag and post to social media without knowing if you’re allowed. “Learn to respect a client’s privacy. Use our three house rule,” says Diamant. “When we sign, it means at least three photos of the wedding will be posted. We need our clients to choose which three, so they sign a release and we can use them. The photos can be an overall look and feel, or they can be very specific shots of a piece of decoration.”
Blake Bush, wedding planner and event designer, Pure Luxe Bride, Charleston, South Carolina
Do create a wedding hashtag—and use it. “The whole purpose of the hashtag is for the bride and groom to be able to be able to see all their guests’ wedding photos in one place,” says Bush.
Don’t have your phone out during important wedding moments. “When the bride and groom are walking down the aisle or doing a sparkler departure, let the photographer capture the moment,” she says. “If you have your phone out, your phone and your hand will be in all of their photos and take away from the professional photo.”
Don’t be glued to your phone. “You’re not there for a social media play-by-play, but to capture some fun moments throughout the night,” she says.
Jordan Payne, wedding planner, Jordan Payne Events, Dallas
Do incorporate your hashtag into your design. “Definitely have a hashtag and display custom signs that coordinate with your wedding design at the reception, so that all guests can hashtag and share fun images on social media platforms—especially Instagram,” says Payne.
Don’t post images of the reception decor prior to the bride arriving. “Most guests do not see the reception decor prior to the bride and groom viewing it,” she says. “But if you do see it, do not post about it until the couple has seen it. This is out of respect to the couple.”
Amber Harrison, style and trend expert, Wedding Paper Divas, Phoenix
Do communicate your social wishes. “If a couple is socially savvy and loves the idea of using a wedding hashtag—or having a lot of social activity surrounding their big day—they need to share this excitement and their guidelines with guests,” says Harrison. “Help the couple communicate their hashtag and social preferences to guests early and often, so guests can partake in all the digital fun.”
Don’t let guests take pictures throughout the ceremony. “Professional photographers and videographers are hired for a reason, so don’t let guests get in their way for the sake of a good Instagram story,” she says. “Ceremony signage, notes in the program, and even an announcement from the officiant can remind guests to keep their phones, tablets, and cameras tucked away for the duration of the ceremony. The result will be engaged guests who are focused on experiencing the moment instead of capturing it.”
Colin Cowie, wedding planner, Colin Cowie Lifestyle, New York
Do set up a Snapchat geofilter for the couple. “You can either have one made by a pro or work with the couple to create one yourself,” says Cowie. “Either way, it’s a fun way for guests to post and send snaps while at the event.”
Don’t allow wedding staff to post before the event. “This includes any details like table settings, the cake, and place cards,” he says. “Never take away from the element of surprise and the look on guests’ faces as they first enter the venue.”
Do incorporate the hashtag into the decor for cocktail hour and the reception. “It keeps social media posts in one easily accessible grouping to go back and see later,” he says. “You can also add a hashtag to the save the date, or [put it] subtly in the invitation in order to get the word out ahead of time.”
Don’t present a large sign at the ceremony banning cell phones and pictures. “Not only is it impolite, but it takes away from the decor,” he says. “Instead, try adding a small note to the programs.”
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