As a bride on her wedding day, for at least 24 hours you are a celebrity. And while fame has its perks (think bridesmaids bringing you signature cocktails all night), it also has its drawbacks—like the paparazzi (in this case, guests who have graciously taken it upon themselves to capture as many candid photos of you walking down the carpet aisle as possible).
This brings up a thought: Do you care if those photos end up on social media without your consent? And if so, how do you stop people from snapping and/or posting pics in our age of constant uploading?
We'll give you the bad news first: you can't. Despite all the measures we're going to suggest below, it's inevitable that your Aunt Mildred won't be able to help herself; that snapshot of you squirting champagne through your nose as wedding cake fell out of your mouth into your boob crevice was "too precious" for her not to share with Gladys and Phyllis on Facebook.
Here's the better news: You can still practice another celebrity-related behavior known as damage control. Scroll down to read 10 solid attempts for keeping that blurry pic of Drunk YouTM doing the "C" backwards during "YMCA" off the Internet.
1. Have an Unplugged Ceremony
Your first line of defense against unflattering uploads is forbidding photos, of course. The popular trend of unplugged ceremonies dictates a device-free service so everyone can be fully ~present in the moment~ and you as the bride can look out into your audience and see smiles not screens. If you want to really drive the point home, you could even require guests to check their phones upon entry. BRILLIANT.
2. Mention On Your. Wedding Website
Let people know WAY early on that this is a matter of importance to you, and use the bandwidth to elucidate exactly what you want from guests. Should they pocket their phones at the ceremony, but go snap-happy at the reception? Are you fine with the taking of photos, just not the posting? Is online sharing cool as long as you and the groom are first to publish? Will you ask that they use a wedding hashtag so you can conveniently find all your pics...and are easily able to request any you've deemed unworthy be removed?
3. Consider. Not. Having a Wedding Hashtag
Now that we mention it, asking folks not to social photos, but still having an official hashtag feels a little like mixed messaging, no? We know as The Future Ms. Buck you're super proud of #GetBuckAisled, but if you display it, you're asking for peeps to use it.
4. Include a Note in the. Invitations. and/or Programs
With an invite inclusion, you've yet another way to give guests an advanced heads-up that you don't want them encroaching on your professional photographer's turf. Then, a reminder in the program will have the info fresh in their minds.
5. Set Up A Sign at the Venue
We acknowledge the irony here, but if you search #unpluggedwedding on any social media, you'll find thousands of cute inspo pics.
6. Make an Announcement
Call upon all the authority vested in your officiant, photographer, or wedding DJ and have him or her say a few words about the ban. Again, make sure you're clear about is acceptable and unacceptable photographing and social media-ing.
7. Use Humor in Your Approach
If you're worried about coming across as high-maintenance, vain, or a control freak, having a sense of humor about your ask can help with how it's received. No one likes being bossed around, but everyone wants in on a good joke. Creative wording on a sign or funny delivery of an announcement may endear your guests into respecting your wishes.
8. Change Your Privacy Settings (So You Can't Be Tagged Without Approval!)
9. Call Out Any Violators You See
You personally don't have to do it (today you are a FAMOUS PERSON, remember?), but ask a few members of your wedding party, family, or photography team to play publicists and keep an eye out for any potential social media leaking. They can politely approach the perps and drop in a casual, "I bet that shot is going to turn out gorgeous. Just be sure to...wait until the bride posts/ask the bride if you can share/keep that photograph secret and safe until your deathbed."
10. Ask Your Photographer For "Sneak Peek" Photos to Post ASAP
There are many reasons for wanting to keep guests' photos off of social media. Maybe you're just a very private lady. Perhaps you'd prefer to never see untoward tagged photos that would (wrongly) suggest you were anything other than the flawless on your special day. But if your only real issue is with shared photos that appear before you've been able to post your great, big, grand, official, "wow, this happened" social media moment, you can decrease the likelihood of that happening by uploading that ish as quickly as possible. To aid you in that pursuit, tell your photographer you'd like to request a few "preview" snapshots from the day that would be turned around in the next 24 - 48 hours. Once you've chosen "the one" from those, share it immediately. Remember: the fans are waiting.