In the South, good manners are passed down like a treasured family recipe for pecan pie. However, unlike the formula for a favorite after-dinner treat, guidelines to being well-mannered are changing with the times. With wedding season in full bloom—bringing an abundance of gatherings—many of our etiquette conundrums surface, and we are left feeling confused about social protocol. Every other week throughout wedding season, Erika Preval of Charm Etiquette school in Atlanta, will answer a question that helps us navigate the grey area of modern etiquette.
Q: I’ve managed to avoid it, but my fiancé is very active on social media. He’s excited about our guests posting photos on social networks, but I have mixed feelings. Is there a way to limit guests’ posts or delay them until after the wedding? How do we let them know our desires?
A: Social media has caused a shift in wedding culture, and can be either a welcomed +1 or a virtual wedding crasher. Whether you choose to have guests unplug during the ceremony or the entire event, your friends and family will be considerate of your wishes – they simply need to be clear and kind.
#FYI – Include your social media guidelines on the wedding website or on an enclosure within the invitation suite. This can include when photo taking is welcomed or restricted, when to share photos on social media and any wedding hashtag created for use in their posts.
Sharing is caring – There’s a modern upgrade to placing disposable cameras on reception tables! Before the big day, ask guests to download a photo-sharing app (like WedPics) for sharing moments captured via digital camera or smartphone. Photos and videos can be viewed and shared during and after the wedding, plus there’s an ON/OFF “Social Sharing” switch that can restrict social media posting.
Hear ye, hear ye – Be sure to provide a gentle reminder of your guidelines with signage at the entrance to the ceremony and/or heartfelt notation on the program. You might also ask your officiant to remind forgetful guests before the ceremony begins.
Note: Cell phones are used for any number of reasons beyond social media, so please be sensitive when considering extreme measures of controlling the environment, like phone-check stations for collecting phones.