How to Stop Guests From Posting Wedding Photos Online

Put the phone down, Aunt Mildred

Updated 09/27/19
Photo by Chris & Ruth Photography

As newlyweds on your wedding day, for at least 24 hours, you're celebrities. And while fame has its perks (think your wedding party bringing you signature cocktails all night), it also has its drawbacks—like the paparazzi. Or in this case, guests who have graciously taken it upon themselves to capture as many candid photos of you walking down the 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?

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 out of your nose as you cute the wedding cake 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 suggestions for keeping that blurry pic of you drunk dancing off the Internet.

1. Have an Unplugged Ceremony

Your first line of defense against unflattering uploads is forbidding photos altogether. The popular trend of unplugged ceremonies dictates a device-free service so everyone can be fully present in the moment, and you two can look out into your audience and see smiles, not phones. If you want to really drive the point home, you could even require guests to check their phones upon entry. BRILLIANT.

2. Mention It on Your Wedding Website in Advance

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 guests taking photos, just not posting them? Is online sharing cool as long as you and your partner 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 to be removed?

3. Consider Not Having a Wedding Hashtag

Now that we mention it, asking folks not to post photos on social, but still having an official hashtag feels a little like mixed messaging, no? We know as The Future Mrs. 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 added yet another way to give guests an advanced heads-up that you don't want them encroaching on your professional photographer's turf. Then, including 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 what 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)

Here's how to do it on Instagram, here's how to do it on Facebook, and here's how to do it on Twitter. You can't remove a tag on Snapchat apparently, but you can always report that punk.

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 publicist 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 couple posts, or ask the newlyweds if you can share it."

10. Ask Your Photographer for "Sneak Peek" Photos to Post ASAP

There are many reasons for wanting to keep guests' photos off social media. Maybe you're just a very private couple, or perhaps you'd prefer to never see untoward tagged photos that would (wrongly) suggest you were anything other than the flawless being that you are on your special day. But if your only real issue with shared photos is if they 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 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 to 48 hours. Once you've chosen "the one" from those, share it immediately. Remember: The fans are waiting.

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