Weddings are a social occasion, so what’s better than going to a family or friend’s big day and getting celebrate with them? As a guest you can watch a heartfelt ceremony, hear funny speeches from members of the wedding party, enjoy food and drinks, and dance a little—sounds like a fun time.
Since social media has become a part of most people’s everyday lives, people want to document their experiences more than ever and weddings are no exception. While weddings lend themselves to increased social media usage given the countless photo opportunities, guests can be unsure what and if to post photos, but using it at a wedding is simpler than you might think.
Tesha Taylor, director of operations, because Event Space in Phoenix, said they’re seeing a lot of trends with couples incorporating social media aspects into their wedding. “I think the biggest reason is because people want to share photos, and share the experience with friends and family, maybe especially with those who couldn’t be attending with you in person.”
Given the excitement of weddings, it’s understandable guests want to take and post photos and videos of the wedding and their experience—however, it’s a good idea to use social media delicately and consider the couple’s social media preferences. Taylor said a good indicator they are social media friendly is if they have set up a specific wedding hashtag and are encouraging guests to use it. Even so, it’s polite to ask the couple in advance what their preferences are for using social media, and if they have any requests for when to post. For example, “A lot of the times, brides want to be the first one to share photos of their wedding,” Taylor said. “So it’s always good etiquette to either wait for the bride to post pictures on their own, or wait until the day after, which allows the couple to have those moments privately to themselves before posting your own photos of the event,” Taylor said.
Instead of taking classic photos such as the bride walking down the aisle or first looks, Taylor recommends guests take photos of the celebration itself, “such as people on the dance floor, a table setting, or your personal experience at the wedding. Then that allows the couple to have those private moments and be the ones to release them first. Another thing to keep in mind, is the couple has most likely hired a professional photographer to capture those moments,” Taylor said. So although you might want to get your own candid picture to document special moments like the vows or first dance, Taylor suggests being cognizant of where you are taking photos, and the photographer can get those coveted shots.
For those who haven’t used social media at a wedding before, Taylor recommends taking some time, talk to other guests and observe others’ social media usage and post photos at a later time. That’s the great thing about social media, Taylor said, if you’re unsure in the moment, you can always post photos or videos later, like at the reception or after the wedding.
While candid photos and unique moments are must-have photos at weddings, creating and using wedding hashtags and Snapchat filters have become increasingly popular. Usually couples create a hashtag that’s a variation or play on words of the couple’s last name and an adjective describing them or the wedding itself.
“We’ve seen a lot of really fun ones, couples and guests have asked us for help with coming up with unique hashtags as well as during certain events,” Taylor said, referring to one couple who created a hashtag with their last name and their dog’s name. “So it’s always a lot of fun to be able to work with different personalities and see what people come up with.”
Incorporating a wedding hashtag is a fun way for guests to feel included in the celebration when posting content. Taylor said posting to social media and using hashtags allows memories to be easily traced back in the future, as couples and guests can search through photos and videos of their event.
Attending a wedding is a joyous occasion, filled with fun and memories, and using social media to look back on that day is a great way to catalogue that special event. Perhaps enjoy the ceremony without taking photos—and start using social media and posting (don’t forget the hashtag!) at the reception.