Twitter, Facebook, Instagram...social media can be a friend or foe on your wedding day. Some people just assume social media is a welcome wedding guest, while the bride and groom may think otherwise. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't use at least one social media platform, but posting during a wedding or other celebration requires adhering to a few guidelines and practicing common courtesy. Here are some etiquette tips to start the wedding season off on the right foot:
- Tell your immediate family and BFFs before they read about your engagement on Facebook. It's most respectful to let your mom, dad, siblings and close friends know before hitting "post." Taking a few minutes to make a personal phone call will alleviate hurt feelings.
- Think before you post. Sharing a picture of your enormous "rock" on Facebook may encourage others to view you as a little (okay, a lot) braggy. Instead, consider a photo of the two of you, with just a flash of your new "bling".
- Take tedious wedding details offline. Keep in mind that not everyone on the bride's friends list may be invited, and feelings may potentially get hurt. Also, remember that weddings and babies are both great photo ops, but in moderation. If you overkill on the wedding talk before the big day, by the time it happens, people will be glad it's come to an end. Hearing about it for a full year prior will take away from the special appeal.
- Keep the wedding dress under wraps (and offline). Some traditions stand the test of time. The groom may not want to see his future bride in her dress until the moment she walks down the aisle. Some guys go to the bridal store and pick out the dress with their fiancé, but that situation is still rare.
- At the wedding, let people know your social media wishes. It would be unrealistic to assume everyone will withhold from posting something on Facebook, but making your wishes clear will thwart the onslaught of unflattering "ugly cries" or unfiltered sighs when you are overcome with emotion. The bride and groom must agree in advance about how much or how little they want to have posted online.
- Different weddings -- different rules. You may attend one wedding that discourages live tweets, while another bride and groom will give you a hashtag to use when you post the pictures to Instagram. Some couples feel "the more pictures captured the better" and welcome their guests to take as many candid shots as possible. A professional photographer can only capture a few snaps, compared to an entire room of wedding revelers taking pictures of various stages of the evening (and sometimes embarrassing moments). Others are adamant that they want to be the first to share their wedding photos with their social media friends.
- Ask permission before you share. If you take a picture with the bride or groom, a quick "Do you mind if I post this tonight?" is the right thing to do before plastering it all over your Facebook page. If there was a framed picture as you entered the door saying, "Please unplug and share in our special day," the answer is "no". Don't even ask.
- Accept that there are really no 100 percent guarantees. However, asking for what you want hedges your bet that you won't have as many photo mishaps floating out there without your approving eye. You shouldn't, however, forbid your girlfriend from taking a selfie by the chocolate fountain with her new boyfriend.
- A "thank you" post does not take the place of a thank you note. Some rules are meant to be broken, but this is not one of them. Shortly after you return from your honeymoon, send out your handwritten thank you notes and check the task off your to do list. It's nice to thank someone in person, or over a quick text to say, "Enjoyed seeing you at the wedding and we love our new juicer!," but a thank you note is still required.
- Don't forget to update your status. In all the excitement you may have forgotten to update your marital status. Now is the time to post a few pictures to your social media site to share your good news!
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