Love them or hate them, social media are here to stay.
Couples will have very varying opinions about whether they want their vows to go viral. The fact is that social media are the new “plus one” at weddings, and cannot be ignored.
An ‘old school’ opinion
I’m noted for being only a very slowly evolving dinosaur, but I can appreciate the attraction of seeing photos online the day after the wedding. However, I also feel that the occasion should not be diminished by hosts of smartphone-users raising arms every few moments. (It’s not so bad at the reception, but I’m less happy with it during the ceremony.)
I also consider that people should be taking in the whole atmosphere of an unique occasion – an occasion which is often the fruit of immense thought and planning. Their arms may be distracting or blocking the view of other guests. And if they are worrying about what picture to take next, is that really what they’ve come for?
Additionally, the couple are often paying a professional good money to record their special day. Guests have no right to spoil his pictures.
In my experience, most couples feel that there should be rules about social media. These rules vary, of course, but many believe that it should be the couple who are the first to post wedding photos on a social media site. A lot also feel that bridesmaids should not be allowed to upload photos of brides before the ceremony.
Whatever you decide, you need to inform your guests clearly.
A note (at the top!) in the Order of Service booklet is a good idea. (My more socially aware contacts tell me that you need to call it an “Unplugged Ceremony”.) Alternatively, the celebrant can announce this at the beginning, instead. Or, if you prefer, put up a sign at the entrance to the hall.
Note that children may also need to be “unplugged” for the half hour or so that the ceremony lasts!
Social Media Ideas
In certain cases, friends of the pair may create a hashtag handle for tweeting and photo-sharing. This also ensures that each wedding is distinctive. Useful, if you happen to be invited to a whole lot of weddings in one season.
A bride can nowadays designate a “Tweeter of Honour”, if she has too much to occupy herself with.
Instagrams can show natural, unforced moments. Nonetheless, it’s very rare that such photos beat the professional photographer’s shots.
Advantages of photo-sharing are that guests can contribute to a designated wedding album and, of course, those unable to attend, may be able to see photos or even live streams.
A Step Too Far?
So I accept that these changes are here, and need to be welcomed or confronted by every couple. They are a matter of opinion, with their share of “pros” and “cons”. I just hope that the day does not come when a wedding ceremony is stopped for the bride or groom to change their Facebook status to “married”!