In the age of smartphones and social media, it’s common to see screens, well, everywhere, but chances are that you want your wedding day to be blissfully screen-free. What couple wants to look out into their gathering of friends and family just to see phones staring back?
There are several reasons why you might want to prevent your guests from taking their own photos and videos and posting on social media during your wedding:
- Guests who are determined to capture their own photos and videos on their phone can physically get in the way of the professionals you’ve hired to capture special moments during the day.
- Guests may forget to turn off flash or mute their phones, leading to some annoying interruptions during your ceremony.
- You may not want to have guests posting low-quality or unflattering photos during the wedding.
- Generally, it’s rude and tacky for guests to be glued to their phones during a wedding ceremony—even if their motives for sharing photos or video are genuinely well-meaning. They should be fully enjoying this moment, just as you and your soon-to-be spouse are, instead of being distracted by social media.
So what’s a couple to do? How can you prevent guests from posting your wedding on social media? Here are three things you can do, both before and during your wedding, to make sure a tech-free wedding happens without a hitch.
Set Expectations in Advance
When you create your wedding website, consider making mention of the fact that yours is an “unplugged wedding.” As a couple, brainstorm a way to tactfully let your guests know that phones and social media are not welcome during your ceremony. You could steer towards something straightforward (“We kindly ask our guests to refrain from using smartphones, cameras, and social media during the ceremony”) or cute (“We want to see your faces, not your devices; so please stow your phones until after the ceremony!”). You could also emphasize your unplugged wedding in your save-the-dates or invitations, if space allows. Giving your guests a heads-up about phone usage will make sure that they know what to expect when they arrive.
Have Signage at the Venue
Even if you’ve set expectations in advance, guests will still need an additional reminder to abstain from taking pictures, shooting video, live streaming, or posting during the ceremony. Think about your venue and where it makes the most sense to instruct guests on the proper etiquette. There may be a spot for a sign outside the venue, in a foyer, or even at the back of the aisle. You could also slip a note into your wedding program. Wherever you decide to include signage, make sure that’s clear, noticeable, and on theme with the rest of your wedding day.
Ask the Officiant to Make an Announcement at the Beginning of the Ceremony
Perhaps the best way to ensure that there are no rogue photographers, videographers, streamers or posters during your wedding is to have your officiant make a brief announcement at the start of the ceremony.
A mere mention of the fact that you and your partner are having an unplugged ceremony, and of your request for no cell phones, will be a sufficient way to make any stragglers put their phones in their pockets or purses. After all, guests could plead ignorance about the unplugged rule if it was just on your website and on a sign at the venue; but when it’s announced in a room full of people, the chances of someone being “that guy” will drop. Work with your officiant to identify the best way to make this announcement, and remember that it doesn’t have to be anything formal or fancy.
With a little extra prep work, you can reduce the chances of guests posting your wedding on social media, freeing up your mental space to focus on other details of wedding planning!
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