Here’s a garter dropping fact for you.
Just 30-odd years ago, a couple’s engagement was announced via an ad taken out in the local newspaper (or if you were from the social elite, the state newspaper).Today, there’s a fair chance your good news will spread to your Gen-friends via social media (let’s leave Grandma out of this one for the time being…).
But how do you communicate such an important event, the excitement and all the details using modern media without undermining the significance of your big day – or worse, turning it into a cheesy show-all event? Wedding blogger and Instagram guru Wendy El-Khoury, from Wedded Wonderland (check out @weddedwonderland), says there are some Instagram rules a bride should follow. “We see images popping up on Instagram of the bride before she even walks down the aisle, which is scary” explains Wendy. “There is etiquette around the use of Instagram and other social media platforms for weddings, and a lot of it involves common sense. In saying that, if used properly, Instagram is great for the bride and groom, giving them access to many amazing photos taken by their loved ones!”
Here’s Wendy’s top Dos and Don’ts for using Instagram at your wedding… now smile!
Set-up a hashtag for your wedding. “Let guests know the hashtag by adding it to the invitation,” suggests Wendy. “That way they’ll know they are welcome to take photos. A dedicated hashtag will ensure all of your wedding images appear in the one place and are easy to find.” Wendy suggests setting up a new profile on Instagram which is solely reserved for your special day.
Keep the hashtag relevant and easy to use. For example, #janelovestodd or #mrandmrsjones
Start the hashtag process from the moment you are engaged. “Keep using it through every wedding occasion, from the engagement party and kitchen tea, to the hens and bucks nights and of course, the wedding,” suggests Wendy. “That way you have a hashtag documenting the entire celebration.”
Encourage guests to take beautiful photos. Think, ‘in the moment’ shots, like the excitement on your bridesmaid’s face. “And don’t forget the smaller details,” advises Wendy. The butterflies fluttering through the garden as guests mingle, a vintage photo display of the bride and grooms family members, the beautiful table displays, bouquets, rings…
If you’re a guest, remember you are a guest and not the photographer! “Guests snapping a couple of images is one thing, but asking for the couple to pose for photos and getting in the way of the professional, especially during the ceremony, is downright annoying,” warns Wendy. “Someone has been chosen and paid by the couple to snap the all-important photos, so keep that in mind.”
Keep some things sacred. It’s hard to control your guests in a ‘flash crazy frenzy’. But Wendy suggests there are certain times throughout the wedding day that you won’t want to share on social media with people they don’t know, so give guests the heads-up in advance. “I like to call them the ‘hero shot moments’,” explains Wendy. “Usually this includes the bridal entrance, first kiss, first dance and cutting of the cake.”
Don’t let guests take inappropriate photos and hashtag the wedding. Do you really want your drunk uncle falling over appearing on your wedding hashtag? Didn’t think so. Perhaps let any rogue guests synonymous with this type of behaviour know in advance what’s ok and what’s not. “Cleavage and ‘selfies’ using the wedding hashtag = inappropriate,” Wendy warns.
Don’t document the pre-ceremony. “Time spent getting ready with the bride and bridal party is a special moment between the closest people,” explains Wendy. “Unless you specifically want this time shared on Instagram, I’d specify to your inner circle not to post photos before your guests get to see you.”
Wendy is a social media expert with a background in education, project management and wedding planning. Wendy started consulting to the wedding industry in 2012 and has worked with over 100 of Australia’s much loved brands, helping them grow and capitalise on their social media footprint.
Wendy has focused heavily on building an online profile working as a channel to communicate between the wedding industry and brides sharing her expertise and inspiration via her blog and Instagram and Facebook accounts which now boast over 450, 000 followers collectively.