How to set and enforce digital rules for your wedding

Your wedding, your rules. But not everyone knows what you want – and don’t want – posted online. Want to set the social media boundaries firmly to ensure your big day goes off without a reveal that you don’t want? Think about your wishes, and then find a way to let guests know. Otherwise, you could have some inadvertent spoiler alerts spoiling the event.

Privacy, please
Brittny Drye, editor-in-chief of Love Inc., says that some couples want to preserve that moment when they’re first seen. This is why it is important to request that wedding party participants do not post it online.

“The first look is a really emotional moment for a couple, whether that happens right before pictures or as you make your way down the aisle,” Drye says. “Make sure that moment is fully savored by communicating a strict no-posting rule as you get ready with everyone who sees you and have your wedding party reinforce it.”

Hashtags: A how-to
Another digital rule is to use a hashtag for your big day. Make sure you pick one that’s completely unique and let wedding guests know what it is, so your pictures aren’t filed under multiple hashtags. When people are not on board, pics can get lost in the mix and live online forever without being properly filed. That’s why a handy sign posted when people enter the ceremony and reception space can be such a benefit.

“Before creating a hashtag, search for it on Instagram to make sure it’s not already in use so when you search, only photos from your wedding weekend will pop up,” Drye says.

Got the perfect hashtag in mind for your big day? You have to then let guests know before they start posting under another hashtag.

“Share your wedding hashtag with guests via your wedding website, on treats in the welcome bags, a custom Snapchat filter, or signage décor,” Drye says. You can even specify the hashtag prior to the big day, she added.


Want to skip hashtags and social media posts altogether? Some couples are opting for a wedding day – or at least a ceremony – that is not broadcast online. The key to that is letting guests know ahead of time, because they may not know about your wishes for a private affair.

“If you want an unplugged ceremony, there are some really cute messaging options to put on a sign for guests to see as they enter,” Drye says. One example she likes: “Oh Snap! There’s plenty we don’t want you to miss…please NO photos until after the first kiss!”

Hannah Jean Schafer, who owns HJS Photography in Springfield, says it is becoming more common to have a sign at the entrance to the ceremony, or even the minister mentioning the couple’s wishes at the start of the ceremony, of it being an “unplugged” service, urging the guests to be fully present.

“When I see these things, it makes my heart so happy that the couple decided to mention their heart’s desires,” said Schafer. “So many photographs can unintentionally be ruined by someone trying to capture these precious moments themselves. There is nothing more frustrating than having an iPad in the middle of the aisle when you are trying to capture the bride walking down with her father.”

Another Springfield photographer, Matt DeBackere, said he has also seen couples in recent years opt for a no photos ceremony. “They typically will have a nicely made sign saying that they want guests to just enjoy the ceremony and not be distracted by trying to snag their own photos,” he said.

“I do feel like with the digital age and the increase of people staring at screens more couples are opting to encourage guests to focus on the wedding instead of being on their phones,” DeBackere continued. “Some guests will bring nice cameras, but the majority still take photos on their phones. When couples mention this, I always let them know I think it’s a good idea. I work hard to get all sorts of different photos during the ceremony, so there won’t be anything I miss, and it will be nice for guests to just enjoy the wedding!”

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