A Private Wedding

Please don't Instagram my wedding.

A Wedding Invitation Is Not A Media Pass

I knew something was changing when a few years ago, I got this question: A reader’s uncle had videotaped her vows on his iPhone, and the day after the wedding had uploaded them to his Facebook page and tagged her in the post. His message was that her vows were so lovely that he felt compelled to share them. Her message was that she felt like her privacy had been violated. She wondered if it would be tremendously rude to ask him to take the video down. “Of course it’s not rude,” I replied. “What was rude was to record one of the most personal moments of someone’s life, and to share it as if it belonged to you.”

Fast forward to 2013, and that exchange already feels dated. Mark Zuckerberg thinks that the amount that we share online and through social media will double every year. I don’t think that’s exactly true, since already we’re all shutting down feeds we can’t keep up with (for me, that’s Facebook—sorry Mark). But it’s true that the way people share has changed drastically in the last few years. It’s not just the ubiquity of social networking sites, it’s the way smart phones have put effortless power in our hands. If we can easily take a video, or snap a picture, we can just as thoughtlessly share those photos or videos. We’ve forgotten the person who records the moment (and makes it pretty) is not the person the moment belongs to. We’ve forgotten that privacy has value.

You Don’t Need A Reason 

The other week, I was reading an advice column about a woman who didn’t want her children’s pictures shared on social media. Since I’m in a substantially similar position (I share my kid’s pictures in very limited and reasonably private ways), I related. But the advice columnist’s response threw me. They told the woman to tell people, “I know I’m paranoid, but I’d rather you didn’t share my kids picture online.” And thanks for playing, but no. I don’t ask people to not share pictures of my kid because I’m afraid of predators; I just think that he should get to choose how he lives on the internet. I don’t want to make that choice for him, and I definitely don’t want some random person making the call. I disagree with the advice columnist because I don’t think asking people not to share your private life online requires an excuse. I just think it requires a please and thank you.

If you’re asking people to not share your wedding pictures on social media, you might feel like you need a reason, or feel compelled to make an excuse. You might think, “I’m not comfortable having my pictures shared, but it’s not like I’m famous, so what right do I have to ask for that?” But the reason is simply that weddings are private. You invited your uncle, not your uncle and all of his Facebook friends. You’re collecting a community of people to witness a very personal commitment. By doing that, you have the right to request and expect privacy. Figuring out how to do that well is the key.

How Do You Want Your Wedding Shared?

As with all things wedding, this is a conversation best had with your partner first, and then clearly articulated to vendors as well as friends and family. Let’s walk through questions to ask yourself and others.

  • How are you comfortable having your wedding photos shared online? Do you not care at all? Are you fine with photos being shared in a very public way (say, a wedding blog), but want to control how they are shared where your friends and loved ones will see them (say, Facebook)? Are you fine with having your photos shared, as long as you get to pre-approve where it happens? (i.e., maybe APW is fine with you, but Bride’s Magazine is not. Or hell, vice versa!) Are you fine with having some photos shared, but not others? (We opted to not share photos of our ceremony, because that felt hyper-personal.)
  • Once you have an idea of what you’re comfortable with, ask your vendors how they like to share photos online, and why they like to do it that way. (If you’ve hired good vendors, chances are they’ll have thoughtful answers.)
  • If you decide that you’re not comfortable having all your photos shared online, but really want to help your vendors out with publicity, discuss options like sharing photos that don’t include guests, or other personal details. Alternatively, consider letting them share shots that don’t include personally identifying details (i.e., distance shots of the two of you, detail shots, etc.). Keep in mind: if your photos are shared on blogs, they’re going to end up on Pinterest. It’s the current reality of the internet.
  • If you come to a specific agreement, consider including it in your contract with vendors, to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Next, think about how you want guests to share photos and videos. Having photos of your wedding shared on Facebook, Instagram, or other personal networks means that your ex, or a friend you didn’t invite, or a family member you are estranged from, might see them. That is a different animal than having your wedding published on a blog or in a magazine. (I’m kind of assuming your ex and your crazy Aunt Mindy aren’t avid wedding blog readers, but what do I know?) Because of that, it’s okay to have a different standard for personal sharing.
  • If you decide you want to encourage sharing (this can be a great way to get wedding pictures from a personal perspective), consider coming up with an Instagram hashtag, and leaving a note on the tables (or in the programs, if that’s how you roll) letting people know what it is. Tell people that you’re excited to see their pictures, and let them go to town. (Our post on crowdsourcing your wedding photos on Instagram has even better ideas).
  • If you want to limit sharing on social networks, or want to personally choose how much you share, consider putting a sign up where people can see it when they walk in. The sign can ask that people refrain from all sharing, or just from a particular kind of sharing. It might seem weird right now, but with social sharing on the rise, expect this to become more common. At our baby shower, friends put a note on the door that said, “This might surprise you, but Meg and David are actually fairly private people. Out of respect for them, please don’t share photos of this event on Instagram.” Problem solved, and no one minded. In fact, this turned out to be far more graceful than parties where we didn’t put up a note, and friends realized they’d shared things that we would have preferred they didn’t share, but were not fussed enough to ask them to remove.
  • If you’re asking people to refrain from sharing photos or video of your event, go the extra step. Talk to key players in your wedding about why you’re doing this, and ask them to put the word out. If your mothers, aunts, and best friends all have the message, they’ll make sure word is spread, and you won’t have to feel bossy.
  • Realize that whatever you do, the system will be imperfect. People may well share things you didn’t want shared, just out of habit. Asking people politely to take things down is not rude in the slightest, and deciding you don’t care enough to ask is fine too.
  • And finally, as a guest at a wedding (or any other private event), inquire before you post. The two questions I ask most regularly are “Is it okay to share pictures?” and “Is there something you’d like me to use as a hashtag?” Often the response will be very specific, “Sharing is fine, please don’t geo-tag.” Or, “Make sure you don’t share photos of kids, otherwise we’re golden!” or “I’m keeping this one offline.” Occasionally the answer is “What’s Instagram?” but that’s when I’ve asked the wrong demographic (and our teenage cousins are just going to SnapChat our parties, let’s not fool ourselves).

The Moment

Of course, there is a hidden upside to limiting people’s social sharing of your wedding: it forces people to be in the moment. As I talked about in my “Don’t Pin It—Do It” post, we’ve all become so used to sharing what we’re doing online, that we sometimes don’t know how to turn it off. Sometimes the reminder to put away your phone, to put down your camera, comes as a relief. I don’t have to document this one, I can just experience it. Thanks for that.

**Note: For a different (but equally important) take on technology and weddings, check out Offbeat Bride’s classing The Unplugged Wedding.**

Photo Kara Schultz

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  • This is definitely something couples need to think through ahead of time, although I imagine most don’t even think to discuss it ahead of time. We don’t all share the same level of comfort or desire to have our lives broadcast, but we need to make sure our level of comfort is made clear to all.

    That said, I’m definitely an oversharer. My husband and I had a wedding hashtag for Twitter (this was two years ago, and the idea seemed novel at the time). One of my favorite things about our wedding was using the hashtag to read our guests ongoing commentary after it was over. We learned of things that happened when we couldn’t be physically present, and we had a greater view of the day itself. We even turned the tweets and photos into a Storify, so it became a virtual scrapbook.

    That’s not to say our way was the right way for anyone else. I just wanted to add an example of how this can work if you’re trying to decide what to do.

  • Liz

    On a related note, I’d be interested to hear how APW picks photos to go with posts. I’ve noticed quite a few images on me and my husband’s wedding that our APW Sponsor/Photographer took. Most are just detail shots, but some of them are private things like my engagement ring and our first dance. I’ve never cared enough to say anything to APW or our photographer. I’m mostly just shocked, flattered and curious how they ended up heading posts that have nothing to do with me… It never crossed my mind to ask our photographer before the wedding how our photos might be used on the Internet. All of you still engaged people take note! Definitely talk to your photographer about this, even if you don’t think you care now, when a picture of the 15 pies you made with you grandma and mom the day before your wedding show up heading a post written by someone else about something about wedding desserts, you may feel strangely violated.

    • Jess

      I’ve thought about this scenario too and wondered if photographers are supplying APW or if individuals are letting APW use their images. We also did not talk about how the photographer might use our wedding photos. He ended up posting our entire wedding album on his public Facebook page. I’m not super bothered by it, but it is weird that something so personal is up on his page for everyone to click through.

      • fermi

        I’m interested what the answer to this will be as well.

    • Claire

      I can’t speak to the APW process for this, but I know I received a lovely note from Maddie asking permission to use my photo for the motorcycle post. I was happy to have it featured, and appreciated the gesture of asking first. I could see how it might throw you off to see your photos of your wedding featured unexpectedly and without your permission in such a public way – especially if you have no control over the content or message paired with your pictures.

    • Bubbles

      I believe (and anyone can feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) that this has to do with copyright.

      In a nutshell, your photographer, as the person who has taken the photos, holds the copyright to your wedding pictures. You do not. In fact, copyright attaches as soon as the photog presses the shutter button.

      Unless there was something specifically in your contract (which, in the case of weddings, functions as a model release) stating that they could only use those photos for specific purposes, they can do whatever they want with them.

      (Did I get that right? Somebody please tell me if I didn’t!)

      • Jenn

        That can depend on the photographer. One of the things my photographer has stated in his contract is that we own the rights to images of our wedding.

        • Bubbles

          Interesting! Does he also still own the rights, or did he give them up entirely?

        • meg

          Important note: it’s really rare that your photographer WON’T own the rights (it happens, but it’s rare). Sometimes a photographer will give you shared copyright, which means you both own the rights.

      • Liz

        I think you’re right (although I’m not a copyright lawyer), and I think everyone should consider that before signing a contract with our photographer. I am more interested in how photos get selected and edited for APW posts (by editing I am talking about the text that they add to photos now- I guess so they can share them on pinterest with some context??). That is way creepier to me than my wedding guests sharing their photos on social media.

        • Melodie

          Typically, you’re looking for a model release in this case. Your photographer shouldn’t be sharing anything unless he or she had you sign a model release. If they didn’t and you are uncomfortable with the photos being in public, you are perfectly within your rights to ask it be taken down.

    • meg

      So, this is an example of one of the many reasons I think this conversation is super important to have, both to figure out your comfort levels (which range from SHARE EVERYTHING, to share some stuff, to share nothing) and to clear things up with your vendors, and get your contracts written correctly.

      Here is how it works. Photographers do hold copyright on your photos (they’re always going to hold copyright on your photos, though you can limit how they use them), and often contracts specifically stipulate how the photos can be used. Usually the default contract says that photographers can use images for promotion, personally or with a third party. If you don’t amend that contract (for example, we amended ours to say that they could personally use photos, but needed permission for a third party to use them), photographers have a right to use your images. And they usually will, because their pricing normally is structured to assume that they’ll be able to use the photos they took for promotion/ business building.

      So, for us the way it works APW this. We have a pool where photographers can submit photos, and we ask them to focus on stuff like detail shots, or pictures where you can’t see faces/ are less personal. We also encourage them to please have direct conversations with clients (who’s contact info we don’t have), about what their comfort level is.

      It’s an imperfect system, for sure. Some photographers and clients are better about discussing this than others. So, now and then, we have people email us that they didn’t want their photos used. We always take them down STAT, but also explain that they need to have a conversation with their photographer right away to let them know that they don’t want their photos used (not just here, but anywhere).

      Short version: if your photographer is allowing your pictures to be used places like APW, that means you contracted that right to them. (We’re also going to have a post soon about going over vendor contracts!)

      And finally, there are other situations, like Claire’s photo with the motorcycle. If you submitted a wordless wedding, and we want to re-use one of your awesome photos, we’ll drop you a line directly and see if it’s cool :)

      • Bubbles

        Can I just say? I am super-excited about the contract post. I think that’s the part I’m most worried about so far. I don’t speak legalese, and I would really rather not get my FMIL lawyer involved in the process because of Reasons.

        • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

          Yes! I was reading this thread wanting a how-to on photographer contracts. Psyched to see what’s coming :)

        • Amy

          I had to have very many tense phone calls with our wedding venue to have them remove our photos after they (without telling us or our photographer mind you) used our wedding photos in their advertisements all over the tri-state area, on their website, on their twitter and facebook page, oh yeah, and the kicker was they found, downloaded and uploaded a short video our photographer made for us onto their Knot vendor page. I.was.furious.
          Mind you – this is a venue, not our photographer, our photographer was awesome and helped us craft cease/desist immediately language. Honestly, even the Knot took that video down about 5 minutes after I notified them about the fact that I hadn’t given permission, and it featured minors!
          This was still happening after I reminded the venue repeatedly that they were entitled to do none of this as per our contract. Some people will be genuinely baffled that you don’t want to have your wedding plastered all over the place.

          • meg

            To me that’s exactly the issue. You want to cover your bases in your contract (if for no other reason so everyone is on the same page with expectations). And then when people pull crap like this it’s easy to fix, because they have no rights to any of it. Dear lord.

  • MTM

    This. One of my cousins posted so many pictures of our wedding on Facebook that it looked like a flip book of the ceremony half an hour into the reception. We had kept the wedding small and details off of Facebook, and there were a lot of hurt feelings about this when all these pictures randomly showed up. Luckily my photographer was really awesome and let me my photos on a private site (she usually posts 20-30 pictures on her Faecbook page).

    • When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the
      -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from
      now on each time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment.
      Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service?

  • Tania

    My fiance and I wrote the “social media policy” for our wedding a couple of weeks ago! I’m a fan of social media (although I try not to over-share) but my partner is definitely more reticent and I had been thinking about how we could deal with this in relation to our wedding.

    Unfortunately most of his immediate family are not able to join us for the wedding and he said to me that he was concerned that guests would be posting things online during the wedding that his family would see, before we got a chance to share our day with them ourselves. And so we have written a brief statement which will be included on our ‘order of service’ which asks our guests to refrain from sharing on social media until they’ve seen us sharing… after that, we’re happy for them to go ahead. We’ve also found a photo sharing app that is password protected that allows our guests to upload their images and share them with other wedding guests (and us!). This will allow us to crowd-source our photos while keeping them out of view of the general public. It will be interesting to see if our approach works!

    • KATIES

      Can I ask what app it is that you mentioned? I’m a bit torn since I am typically a ‘sharer’ and I have definitely uploaded pictures from weddings I’ve been at. Now that we are planning for our own wedding I’m surprised by the new perspective I have about it. I would love to have a way to share with all the guests but not with the general public

      • Samantha

        There is one called WeddingPartyApp that comes with mywedding.com sign up – you get a wedding website, budget building and app, etc. All free. I haven’t tried mine yet.

        • meg

          I have The Wedding Party on my phone. It’s cool! No filters like Instagram, but I have Pic Tap Go for that.

        • We used it! It was great. You can post the photos to facebook or not as you choose, and it was fun to see who used it and how. I actually didn’t want smart phone photos initially but my now husband, who is more introverted than I am, felt like some people are more comfortable and have a better time if they can hide behind the phone sometimes.

      • Tania

        The app we’re using is called WedPics. So far so good!

    • kgoesgallivanting

      What photo sharing app are you going to use to crowd-source pictures? I have been looking for ones that are password protected.

      Oh, it looks like Katies asked the same question. :)

      • Samantha

        See above. :)

    • We have an unspoken “social media policy” around our future children, but perhaps we should sit down and hash it out a bit more. So far we’ve agreed that our children’s names will not be publicly shared and have already picked nicknames for them to be referred by (which amuses us when some of our friends assume that’s going to be the final official name).

      As I’m the main blogger in our family I also double check with him before I post anything about him online to make sure he’s okay with it.

      A social media policy for our family sounds like a good thing to work out, and keep adjusting as technology changes.

  • I’m super self protective which usually means I’m pretty private – I don’t say anything on Facebook I wouldn’t say on a loud speaker at work. That being said, I strangely didn’t feel this way about my wedding photos on Facebook. I think in part because I have a carefully protected world on Facebook and no one shared anything with anyone I was uncomfortable with.

    I also was feeling a lack of community and love around my wedding so the comments from high school friends and distant cousins was honestly really special to me and meant a lot. For me personally, I’m trying to live this year with less fear. To me fear is the reason I protect myself and what of me is out there on the internet and in the world at large. While I still have no interest in posting pictures of myself dancing with my dog in my bathrobe or drunken status updates, I also am trying to stop worrying about what other people think about me – which is for me personally, a big reason why I want privacy online.

    That being said, I also completely respect that other people have their own reasons for wanting privacy online and for not wanting to invite the world at large, into their lives. Its difficult because for as much as I concur with that stance, there’s also the part of me that does welcome it. That wants to share in the me that is me. I’ve worked hard on me and I’m starting to think I’m pretty awesome maybe. It’s tough working through this sort of breaking down of personal boundaries in the modern age of technology. Where expressing ones true thoughts here on a well read blog is so much easier than in conversation with those close to us. I don’t think I’m unique in this struggle and I think that’s why the end of this post and how it brought it back round again to living the life in front of you instead of the one on your phone really hits the mark for me.

    If we want to share, and gosh I hope people never stop wanting to share, maybe we should be focusing on sharing with the people right in front of us, and less with the generic horde. The internet brings us a lovely opportunity to connect on a global scale and I think we’ll continue to see positive social change due in part to this, but connecting to our actual lives is as if not more vitally important. Which is why since the Don’t Pin It, Live It post I’ve been consciously watching how much of what I’m trying to experience, I’m simultaneously recording. I’ve been leaving my camera at home and my phone in my purse now and guess what? I’ve been free to focus on the sounds, sights, smells and touches of what I’m experiencing and because of that, I’m feeling an awful lot more of the Good. And it’s been wonderful.

    • meg

      “I also was feeling a lack of community and love around my wedding so the comments from high school friends and distant cousins was honestly really special to me and meant a lot.”

      I love this.

      I actually don’t think people should or shouldn’t share. I’m sort of a perfect middle ground on this issue, in that I started a very public blog about wedding planning (hey APW!), write publicly about personal experiences, and also limit the photos (and experiences) I share with the world. AKA, I’ve thought a lot about this, and figured out what I’m comfortable with and not comfortable with. I also run a site that allows people to share bits and pieces of their weddings and lives with the world, so I spend a lot of time navigating the share-able. (For example, with Wordless Weddings we edit photos down from the full galleries. I never include pictures of the couple exchanging rings, because that feels too personal to me… even though it might not be super personal for other people, hey.)

      Anyway, I think there is great richness that can come from sharing (hey, APW), but being reminded to think about how you feel about it first is good.

      And also, <3 on your response to my Don't Pin It—Do It post. I love finding out something I wrote actually hit a nerve for someone.

      • I was going to jokingly chastise APW for even introducing me to the concepts of community around weddings as without it I might not have even noticed. Except the truth is I would have noticed and it would have felt even lonelier if I hadn’t had the vocabulary to express it and community here to gain solace from. So thanks, to Meg and the APW community at large. I’m slowly getting past my bad wedding feelings but I think it would have been hella devastating if I’d thought I was the only one who’d ever felt this way about their wedding. It feels a lot better knowing I’m not alone.

  • Rachel

    EXACTLY to this whole post! These are really good tips for coming up with your “social media policy.” I’m one of those people who is fine with having things shared on a blog but not on Facebook, so I think I might steal your “this might surprise you” language for our program. And the living in the moment part of it is huge too.

    One thing I would add is that it can be helpful to reassure your guests that you will make sure your photographer gets lots of guest shots and that you will make them easily available to them to download/purchase/etc (if you are going to do that, that is). I think a lot of guests just want to have pictures to remember the event because it may mean a lot to them too. So having a photo booth or a private stream (we’ll be using the Wedding Party app) or an online gallery where guests can see/share pictures of themselves and the couple can be a nice alternative if you’re comfortable with something like that.

    • meg

      Yup. We reminded people that we were paying (a lot of money) for awesome professional photographers, and we’d make sure they could get those pictures, so they could put their camera’s down.

      Also an interesting note, I *did not want our ceremony video taped.* That was quite the hubub, since some family members thought I was making a huge mistake (hint: I wasn’t). It actually did get recorded, and I made sure that tape went to oblivion, but the photos vs. video distinction is interesting as well. Sometimes you can feel totally cool with one, and totally uncool with another.

      • Rachel

        Ha, I read an article the other day about wedding regrets and the #1 was not having a videographer…it’s making me question our choice not to have one! Maybe I’ll throw this question out there on Friday’s open thread.

        • I want a videographer. Everyone I’ve talked to who has gotten married recently and did not have a videographer wishes that they’d had a videographer. My parents still watch their wedding tape on occasion, and I still watch the video of my Bat Mitzvah reception because it is funny to see everyone from 15 years ago. I am glad that these things exist.

          • Claire

            Interesting. We didn’t even really consider a videographer (budget reasons and it seemed over the top for the small, simple wedding we planned), but my partner’s boss ended up recording the ceremony and sending us the file. I treasure those 10 minutes of video like I wouldn’t have believed. I have watched that film on my computer so many times, and am always moved by hearing our vows and seeing the way we looked at each other. It reminds me anew about the love we felt on the day we committed our lives to each other. And sometimes I need to be reminded about that – especially during a rough patch.

          • My parents got married 30+ years ago. They have never seen the video. In fact, it seems to have got lost in the house. I look forwards to one day finding it, but I can’t say not seeing video of my wedding (or my parents or inlaws) ever upset me in any way.

            Besides, I love remembering my ceremony as it was – as this perfect moment alone in a room with a minister and my husband. The video would show 150 other people, and I prefer my solemn transcendent memories to the “truth”.

        • That’s interesting, that it was #1.

          We didn’t have a videographer, and I have no regrets on that. But I’m not a home video type of person, at least not for grand events. I just don’t think it ever lives up to the memory.

          Now, videos of all my siblings on random days in our backyard? Those are gold. <3

        • meg

          For me, those moments were ephemeral by their nature. I want to remember them the way I remember them, not in a video where I think “Huh, my voice sounds funny.” (For the record, I LOVE ME A CAMERA IN MY FACE. That wasn’t the issue. The issue was how I wanted to remember it.)

          I do wish I had the toasts on tape. I asked for no one to tape the ceremony, but to tape things at the reception instead, but achem, they didn’t listen.

          • k

            I asked my cousin to not video the wedding but please do go around with video at the reception asking people to give us advice. I think some videotaping got done, but two years later I haven’t seen it yet.

          • Which is exactly why I hate watching my elopement video. The video exists so that my brother/his sister could see us get married after the fact but it makes me uncomfortable every time it’s on because nothing I’m watching reflects the way that I felt or how I experienced my wedding.

        • I was thinking that perhaps the question of videographer can be answered by considering who you are. I’m the kind of person who will look at photographs over and over and if I had a video of my ceremony, I would watch that over and over too. Because I am a visual person and I like to re-experience emotions over and over again.

          That being said my husband said no to a video. He said he was uncomfortable enough with the idea of a photographer following him around, he certainly didn’t want a videographer too and I respected that.

          However now, the only part about my wedding I actually enjoyed, was the ceremony. And I can’t remember almost any of it. I saved my vows but my husband lost his. And I can’t remember what he said to me and it breaks my heart a little. I didn’t need a professional and expensive video but I wish one of the people I have photos of video taping my ceremony would have saved the file and sent it to me. Even with bad lighting or low sound, I wish I could relive those moments.

          So unless you truly need the fancy and full on wedding video to remember it easily, why not ask a friend sitting close to the front to capture it on their iPhone? Maybe that’s the happy middle ground.

        • Shiri

          I find this curious, too. I was worried I’d regret that (though it wasn’t even a question with us) so I had my best friend’s fiance record our ceremony, first dances, and the speeches, and my husband did the same at their wedding two months later. We’re coming up on a year since our wedding (!) and while my girlfriends at work have asked to see our wedding video, I haven’t had the slightest desire to watch it.

          It was really important to me that my own memories of the wedding form before I let pictures or video form them for me. That said, I’m sure I’ll be very happy later in my life to have my family members’ toasts on video, I just don’t need to see it now or have paid to have it done in a fancy, artistic way.

        • Has anyone tried the Wedit service? I keep seeing it pop up (on LadyPorn, er, Pinterest, of course) and it seems like a good solution to the videographer? I DO NOT want a camera person shoving a camera in my face all day. But I would really like to see the perspective of some guests (and I have a good contingent of guests who were film majors, so they would probably get some really interesting stuff on tape) and I’d like to have a video of the ceremony.

        • We were not planning on having a videographer, mostly because I care way more about photos and wanted to spend the money on that, but then a few close family members couldn’t come for health reasons; so we asked a friend with video experience to record the ceremony so we could share it with that family. He also did a montage of people dancing at the reception, and when he showed it to us, I just loved it. I had no idea I would love it that much. But for me, the reception was more of a blur than I wanted – as much as I worked to be present in the moments, it just flew by – so it was really fun to see what people were doing and how much fun they were having.

          I’m glad we have the ceremony too. I’ve only seen the beginning of it, which was great because of course I couldn’t see the processional when it happened as the bride, and I loved getting to watch my smiling then-fiance walk in and everyone cheer for him. Part of me doesn’t really want to watch the ceremony – just because I know it will be so emotional – but I feel like one day I will want to see it again, and regardless, I’m glad I have it to eventually share with family who missed the event.

          So I’m still glad I didn’t spend thousands on a videographer, but I’m also glad I found a friend to record the event for us.

        • Abby Mae

          We’ve chosen not to have a videographer too! But, I have been having second thoughts about it now. So, I’ll be right there with you on Friday’s open thread about this videographer conundrum.

        • Rachel,
          I did have a friend record our ceremony. I have seen the video exactly once. It was nice to view it, but I have no desire to watch it again. I am way to self critical of myself, and while I was beaming and super happy and smiling, all I could focus on was, wow, was I actually swaying the whole time? So, while it may be other people’s regrets, I know I wouldn’t have missed the video. I prefer my memories on this one.

          One thing we did do though, is set up a video station at our reception so people could record messages for us. This is one of my favorite wedding souvenirs and I have watched this during each anniversary. So, there are different ways to do it. My suggestion is to examine your feelings about it and see where you end up on the spectrum, and let that be your guide. :)

          • Rachel

            I have been toying with some ideas regarding video messages so I love that idea! I’m thinking it would be great to get a recording of some the reception actually (just the toasts…I can probably have a friend do it) and then maybe sweet/funny good wishes for the couple (kind of like a video photo booth).

        • Alexandra

          It’d make a good question. My real issue with a videographer is that I have this huge disconnect between what I think I sound like, and what my voice actually sounds like. Namely, I have this speech impediment that I forget about on a day to day basis.

          I’m certainly not paying someone to videotape something that makes me cringe. If someone does record it, and it doesn’t make me cringe… Well, maybe that video can live.

          • Rachel Wilkerson

            Ahh, I have a speech impediment I forget about until I’m on video too! It’s taken me years to get comfortable seeing myself talk on screen. Solidarity fist bump!

        • MDBethann

          We didn’t have a videographer and I didn’t mind. My brother-in-law set up his video camera for us near the front and recorded things because my grandmother was delayed in arriving and we wanted to make sure we had a recording she could watch later if she ended up missing the ceremony. My in-laws did some major home renovations during and after our wedding, so the video was boxed up and 14 months later I still haven’t seen it and while I’m curious, I really don’t mind. I have beautiful pictures and I have the program with the words we said if I ever need to jog my memory of the day.

        • Ms. Cardigan

          We are having a wedding videographer. My dad is sick and lives in a nursing home, so it was a no-brainer to me that it was a worthwhile expense to have a someone reliable film the wedding, especially the ceremony. I know I will hate the sound of my voice, and probably how I look too, but I know my dad, and others who can’t make it, won’t be thinking at all about how my arms look too flabby, I’m not expressive enough, etc.

      • Lauren

        We didn’t want a videographer either, but my mom’s fiance took video without asking. From the front row. My mom has commented on how nice audience shots are ruined by the camera in his face. I decided not to exert any emotional energy on it in the end because I didn’t even notice that he was filming until my mom told me later. And then he went ahead and created a low-quality movie with stills and video and it turned into a lovely gesture. I really, really wish he hadn’t, but in the end, I decided to accept his decision in the spirit it was made–as a gift.

        Now, I have no desire to watch said video, but my mom does, and well, that’s nice for her.

        The most startling part for me was how it really, quite frankly never occurred to him that we didn’t have a videographer for a reason. I think he just thought we were too cheap to hire one. What would make me cringe is if I found out that others in attendance thought we had him hold a flipcam for budget reasons. No judgement on amateur videography in principle, but something about a close member of the family holding a flipcam the entire time just feels tacky.

    • Alyssa

      No regrets st all here….but our photographer was amazing and perfectly captured the freeing of the day, and looking at the awestruck face of my husband and joyful faces of our friends and family, it all rushes back to me immediately.

      My mother-in-law took some video, and I feel awkward watching it…I’m sure some of that is due to the presentation, which a professional would soften, but honestly, that day is so beautiful in our memories, and even as our memories change, I love them that way.

      • Abilene

        I agree with you – video that was taken of our ceremony just embarrasses me. I watched it once and deleted it. I’d prefer to let myself remember it through my own eyes, not someone else’s.

  • Laura

    I am really enjoying this continuing discussion. I am having a full Catholic wedding mass, and am thinking how I can leverage the sacredness of that space to tell everyone to keep their devices to themselves, except the people we’re paying to take pictures.

    • Stella

      I think this is a great way/(excuse?) to keep the ceremony itself private if you’re going the religious route. In my experience (admittedly protestant not catholic) its quite normal for guests to be asked not to take pictures during the ceremony… some Ministers may actually insist on it…

    • Samantha

      Same here. I wrote something on our wedding website but perhaps it would be a good thing to include on the program – or have someone announce prior to the ceremony beginning. I would just explicitly state that we request no photography during Mass and that there is a professional photographer to capture the moments we’ve agreed upon. Or something. But I’m with you. I don’t find fifty snapping cameras too appropriate for Mass, but that said I do want to document the ceremony. It’s a challenge finding a balance.

    • KE

      The church may already have a sign you can put outside the door requesting no photography within the sanctuary. Plenty of churches, especially historical ones, do that. If the church doesn’t have a no-photography sign, you could ask permission to put one near the door. My church has a strict photography policy that only allows non-flash photography from the balcony, though there’s no sign.

      More so than the sacredness of the space, what discouraged our guests from taking photos during the ceremony was that they didn’t see a professional photographer doing so. When there’s a photographer crouched by the altar, it’s hard for guests to understand why they can’t snap a few photos.

    • Our minister just flat out said it, before I walked down the aisle.

    • rachel

      I had my officiant come out a few minutes before the ceremony started to ask people to please not take pictures during the ceremony. It worked great and I didn’t hear any comments about it.

    • meg

      The religious angle makes it MUCH easier. That was our line in the sand as well. Our photographers took pictures, but they also had really strict rules (assigned by us). They had to stay on the perimeter, so they were not involved in the religious service.

      And yes. LOTS of clergy will be more than happy to say something. My mom was at a wedding where the prest said, at the beginning, “Everyone may now stand up and take a picture. Go crazy.” She waited a minute and then said, “Now put your camera’s and phones down, and do not take them out again in church.” High fives, bossy priests!

    • One of the first things our Minister told us (not even in an official planning meeting) was that she did not allow photography in her weddings other than a designated photographer who has rules to follow, though she would be willing to re-stage certain things after if we wanted (I doubt we’ll do much more than a shot with us and our two Ministers). This rule is second only to her rule that pre-marital counseling is not optional.

      • meg

        I love this by the way. Partially because it’s so old school. My parents wedding photos include staged communion photos.

      • One More Poster

        This is my rule, too. I publicly state it and then provide time for people to turn their devices off.

        It will be the rule at my own wedding, and I’ve already clued in our wonderful photographers. In my experience, the photographer also gets better pictures ‘after the fact’ anyway.

  • erica

    This article hit home for me. I was faced with this with our engagement shots, our wedding and honestly any time we are around my FIL who constantly sends email blasts and facebook photos.

    Part of our engagement shoot took place on our boat…in my bathing suit. I’m a bit self concious about the entire world seeing those photos and my photographer was amazing. In the end, there was one photo that I would have refused to let anyone see, but the way she captured us made me love each photo. She also respected my wishes and did not add those to her blog.

    For our wedding, I was hell bent not to have photos of other people capturing our moment. We passed the word early on during the engagement with a reminder for people as the day neared who we felt would try to sneak a photo. Nothing irritates me more than to see professional photos with people holding their cameras and iphones up. It’s my wedding, my choice. It’s the only thing I truely cared about. Call me crazy, but it was my beef and I’m not ashamed. We also included a note on our programs saying Please share our wedding day with us fully and not through the lens of your camera. It’s a little much, but it worked in the end. Oh and we also have great friends who respect us!

    • Brenda

      I totally get what you’re saying, and someone doesn’t want me to take photos I won’t and I definitely don’t post anything people have asked me not to post, but for me, experiencing something fully means I’m taking photos. I don’t have the greatest memory and I find that taking photos helps me notice things, that the act of thinking about the picture and how I frame it and the colors etc helps me remember. I love that i look back at my photos and I can remember what I felt like in the moment I took it. It helps me remember my own experience, and even when there are professional photos of things, I like my own because it’s documenting the way I saw it.

      But again, anyone doesn’t like sharing, I don’t share. Easy.

  • Hlockhart

    Would you consider wedding grad posts without photos? I’d be curious to see those, especially now that there are a number of other photo-heavy wedding post categories on this site.

    • Leslie

      When reading wedding grad posts, I never look at the photos. I just skip from text block to text block. I find the photos interrupt the train(s) of thought, and I’ll only ever look at them if a number of people mention a particular photo in the comments.

    • meg

      We do, yes. Usually posts without photos don’t get labeled as “Wedding Graduates”, they get run as essays. But it actually happens all the time. Plenty of essays that you read about weddings get submitted as grad posts either without photos, or with very few photos.

      • Caroline

        Good to know. I hope to submit a wedding grad post once I’m a grad, but I’m not sure about sharing photos online. My fiance is really against sharing on Facebook, and less bothered by on blogs, but we’re still working out what our social media/internet policy will be.

  • fermi

    I personally do not care if people take photos at my wedding in September. I so far have not found a photographer (I’m in the Southwest, just no APW sponsors in NM?) and doubt I’ll look hard to find one. So honestly I want to see all the pictures that people take…I’m hoping to do a hashtag of some sort on Instagram so that I can see them all. That’s just me though. I do not care. I am a person who LOVES taking photos – I actually am one of those people who still prints out photos and makes albums too!

    • H

      There are several! APW photographers that include travel in the price of their stated contracts. We just had Amanda Summerlin (out of Atlanta) do ours, and she’s fabulous! I know she went to Utah recently – so I would say give a couple photographers a call, and ask!

    • Emily

      A friend of mine in Phoenix does amazing photography and travels for weddings – http://www.meganresch.com/weddings/

      She did our engagement photos, and I wish she could do our wedding!

      • Rebekah

        What I wouldn’t give for more sane vendors in AZ. . .

    • Sarah
  • Kirstin

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. I hadn’t thought about creating a social media policy, but I like this idea a lot.

    We are currently planning a small reception (75 is our target number), with even fewer at the ceremony – most likely immediate family, a few extended family, and a few folks who will be assisting with the ceremony, no more than 20 total. We have gone back and forth a bit on whether or not to include all invited to the reception to the ceremony too, but honestly, I would rather have that very intimate moment be a bit more private. I didn’t want to have a wedding at all, and so this has been our compromise.

    I am concerned with what is going to be shared with those not there at all, but also don’t want to make a big deal about the ceremony in front of those who are invited to the reception only. I definitely wouldn’t want guests taking video of our ceremony, or live tweeting my vows. I also don’t know that I would personally post every photo that we get back from our photographers to Facebook – I am always surprised when folks do that and have 5-6 albums of their professional pics.

    As others have said, I think my stance might surprise people, as I tend to share a lot personally on my own blog or Facebook/Twitter. But in those instances, I also choose what to put out there. Posting silly photos of a pet is much different to me than sharing every detail of my wedding, but others may not neccessarily understand that.

    • Carly

      Hey Kirstin – random side question: partner and I are looking to have the same deal – limited ceremony with immediate family/very close friends, slightly larger reception with extended family… May I ask how you’ve handled that divide in terms of invites and, as well, the potential for hurt feelings? I’m trying to balance our intense need for a private ceremony with the fear of making people feel like they’re being put in to a ‘hierarchy of importance [to us]’.

      • Hi Carly,

        This is how we did our wedding back in 2009. We had a private ceremony the day before the reception. It was immediate family only with a few very close friends participating in the ceremony (officiant, photographs) who were also in attendance. We let everyone know up front that we were doing a private ceremony. We worded our invitations saying as such and then inviting everyone to celebrate with us at our reception the next day. We added inserts with the ceremony information for our immediate family. We also were out of state from mostly everyone so we did our ceremony on a Friday morning with the reception on Saturday evening. The people who traveled knew exactly what they were traveling there for, and everyone had a great time. The people we thought would give us push back were surprisingly very cool with it. There were a couple of people who were upset at first (and they were people who I thought would understand). I recommend being upfront and not spend too much time justifying your decision.

        • Carly


          Honest and resolute – novel concepts, haha! Thanks so much for your input :)

  • I do not know any people that are this afraid of social media, so this is a foreign concept to me. Personally, I’m not big on social media, but it’s more because I don’t have TIME for it, rather than because of privacy concerns (which, seriously, if you have the GPS enabled on your smartphone, people can find you, so…yeah).

    When I got married, I was really excited that people took pictures of my wedding and posted them on Facebook. It was really awesome to go through my tags the next day and see pictures, because of course the pro pics took a couple months to come back.

    And when my cousins get married out of state, I stalk Facebook the day of their wedding for tagged pictures, because I really WANT to be there, but I can’t. So seeing their wedding day on Facebook in real time is really cool, and infinitely more exciting than seeing the wedding video a few months later (which, really, I will NOT watch unless it’s 2 minutes long).

    But then, I’m younger than a lot of people here, so maybe it’s a generational thing? I was sharing my pics on MySpace back in high school, so the concept of NOT sharing is really foreign to me.

    EDIT: Also, if friends on facebook share pictures from another wedding, for people I don’t really know, I don’t look at them, because I just don’t care.

    • Anne

      I understand what you were trying to say, but your use of the word “fear” really rubbed me the wrong way. It’s not a fear of social media that Meg’s describing, it’s a desire to keep certain things private. If someone chooses not to share every detail of a personal moment with his or her 500 facebook friends, many of whom are mere acquaintances from years ago, that’s not fear, but rather a desire for some parts of one’s life not to be open to everyone you’ve ever met.

      And I wouldn’t chalk this up to a generational divide — I’m in my mid-late 20s, so I can’t be much older than you are. However, I don’t share everything about my life on the internet — it’s not that I’m “afraid” of being found, I just don’t need to share everything with strangers. I love seeing others’ photos appear in my news feed, and it’s a great way to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while or whose weddings you can’t attend. But I think it’s unfair (and incorrect) to call people who choose not to post every detail about their lives online “afraid” to do so.

      • I did not use the word “fear,” I said “afraid.” One definition of “afraid” is “feeling reluctance, unwillingness, distaste.”

        So if you have a reluctance, an unwillingness, a distaste for showing your pictures on social media, you are afraid of doing this. My use of the word “afraid” was perfectly acceptable.

        • MTM

          Except that it is someone ELSE posting your personal moment. I wasn’t “afraid” of me posting the moments I wanted to share. I did not like others posting my personal moments for the world to see.

          • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

            So much of this. What I am willing to share (and where) may not be what I’m willing to let others share. And what may appear be a surprising amount of information to one person (and therefore why won’t you share other things) may be the pre-agreed factoid for sharing.

        • Anne

          What MTM said is key. When someone else posts your pictures, it’s not your action but someone else’s you’re disagreeing with.

          I’m also not sure I buy your definition of afraid. So every time I choose not to do something I dislike or would make me uncomfortable, that’s fear? I’m reluctant to buy things at the grocery store all the time, and I would hardly say that deciding not to buy ice cream because I know it’s bad for me has anything to do with being afraid of dessert. Likewise, if I choose not to post a picture of my wedding on Facebook because I want to keep that moment private, it’s a completely different matter than if I were afraid of others seeing the photo. I don’t believe personal choices not to do things we don’t agree with are motivated by fear, but by an understanding of our own values and desires.

      • KE

        Exactly x 1000. I’m 26 and on facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, and linkedin. You can learn a lot about me without much effort. Despite that, I’m a private person at heart, and wherever possible, I’d prefer that the info and photos be content that I choose to share.

        That said, I thought of our wedding reception as a community event, and was happy for people to put photos of the reception online. There were only a few ceremony photos that got on FB because my church doesn’t allow photography (which I was more than fine with).

      • I don’t think the desire for privacy is necessarily generational. Most of my friends and peers are of the constant updates to twitter/facebook/instagram mindset and I come down decidedly on the other side.

        Some people are more privately inclined than others. Because we have so many more ways of sharing our lives than existed twenty (or even ten, or five) years ago there are many more things to negotiate – and there have always been things to negotiate. I’ve been known to get upset when someone has passed on my address or phone number without asking me because I expect a level of privacy. On the same level, I’d expect that if I ask loved ones to respect the privacy of my wedding (or shower, or birthday part) that they don’t post pictures all over the internet.

        • Anon

          I’m the same, I hate it when my phone number gets handed out freely without my permission so I never do it to others. God, just ask first!

          • KEA1

            YES–and the phone number/contact info without permission thing is a really good example to use. Filing that example away for use whenever I end up getting married and needing to put my foot down for privacy of the event.

        • meg

          I think it’s a great point that their have always been privacy concerns to negotiate.

          And again, I’m not anti-sharing. (Clearly! My job!) I just live and work in this all day every day, and understand the nuances of figuring out your comfort level. Which might be “share everything,” which is awesome.

    • Rebecca

      As Meg noted in her post, it’s not necessarily fear that motivates people to ask that their private moments not be shared on social media. Personally, I’m just a fairly private person, and I’d prefer that private moments not be broadcast, for example, to everyone my Aunt Sally has ever met, and half a dozen people she friended just because, since we all know that Aunt Sally hasn’t set up groups or privacy settings. For the same reason I won’t be standing on a soapbox in Central Park proclaiming my love for my partner. It’s private and I don’t care to share with the entire world.

      I’m not afraid of what might happen if people see photos or whatever, but frankly it’s none of their business and I’d rather not share. I hate the idea that my private moments are other people’s to share with all and sundry just because they happen to be there. And I doubt that I’m all that much older than you are, so I don’t think it’s necessarily generational- I think people have different preferences for privacy, and it is reasonable to ask people to respect those.

      I think weddings are particularly tricky because they occupy a funny space between public and private. But when my sister asked her friends not to tweet at their wedding, it wasn’t because they didn’t want their wedding shared on Twitter- it was because they wanted their guests to be at their wedding, not staring at their phones tweeting the few glimpses of the wedding they got between tweets.

      • If someone asked me not to tweet at their wedding, I would be very offended. Not because I use Twitter (which I don’t – I have neither time nor inclination), but I don’t like being told what to do. I do not need to police other people’s activities, and I do not like it when people police my activities.

        • Laura C

          If someone doesn’t want this key moment in their life to which they’ve invited you put on Twitter for anyone to read, you’d see that as unreasonable policing of your behavior? Would it also be offensive to you if they asked guests not to stand on their chairs and narrate the ceremony as it was happening?

        • rachel

          Do you like it when people respect your wishes? I’m guessing yes, so you should probably respect their wishes as well.

        • Class of 1980

          They are not policing your activities; they are setting important boundaries for their own major life event.

          It’s not like they’re getting their jollies by seeking to control you.

        • meg

          If you don’t want people to tell you what to do, that’s fine. But that means you need to stay in spaces you own, basically. (And probably work for yourself without clients.) A museum or a church has every right to tell you how you can and can’t behave on their property. Same goes for a wedding, that’s not public.

        • Rachel

          I think what rubs me the wrong way about people who staunchly defend their right to photograph/publish the friends/family members who don’t want to be photographed or have said photos made public is that it makes me feel like my body and my relationship are not my own…that they are there for others to comment on, share, discuss, and take ownership of. As both a woman and a person of color, that makes me extremely uncomfortable. So while I agree with a point made below that weddings are a public event, there’s a huge difference between “public to my community” and “public to the community at large.” Even Facebook has layers of privacy and most people don’t have completely public profiles for a reason.

          I guess the good news is that I cannot imagine anyone I’m inviting would publish pictures of me at my wedding on FB when I specifically asked them not to just because they didn’t like being told what to do.

          • THIS.

            I think it’s a dangerous thing to claim that others have no right to decide what you share, when what you are sharing directly affects them. You’re in a personal safe space of their creation (their wedding, where they’ve selected specific attendants and a space to hold them), so I would say they have the right to police that however they please.

            It’s a very similar claim that you see men use when they post upskirt shots of women, saying they have the right because they’re out in public.

            And also, I think of twitter like a megaphone in a crowded public hall. If you’re going to stand in a crowded room and shout something to strangers about a friend, then I think they deserve to tell you that no, they’d rather you not. As I said in a different but not unrelated comment below, it’s a matter of mutual respect for privacy and personal space.

          • meg

            You know, Lucy’s comment about safe space is apt. It’s a little like someone live tweeting group therapy. Cool if that’s part of the agreed upon rules, SHOCKINGLY UNCOOL if you’ve been asked not to.

        • But if your activities involve the private moments of others, is politely asking you to reconsider them, “policing”? I think that is a really rude and entitled attitude to have.

    • Class of 1980

      Well, I don’t know if it’s a generational divide considering my mom in her seventies all the way down to my niece in her twenties is on Facebook.

      I am the lone holdout in my family and was only a member of Facebook for a short time before I canceled it. I despise the exposure and lack of privacy and would be very unhappy with anyone I know putting my photos up.

      My sister is driven crazy with an intrusive relative by marriage that follows everything she does via Facebook. It’s only made the intrusion even more onerous.

      I don’t like the privacy issues that Facebook has, and I don’t like the way a photo can bite you in the ass later on if someone misinterprets it. Look how many people have been fired or not gotten jobs because there are too many photos of them on Facebook partying it up.

      Thanks to the Internet, I’ve seen personal family moments of people I do business with overseas that I’ve never met in person … stuff like what their house looks like and their toddler running around with no clothes on before bath time (linked to their business page). I’ve seen what old friends and their children are up to that I no longer even have contact with in the real world. I know an old friend’s son has come out as gay, and I don’t even talk to the friend anymore!

      It’s just plain weird to know so much about the personal lives of people that are no longer in your life or that you’ve never met in person.

      Absolutely hate this new world of no privacy or boundaries.

      • I always feel bad when I hear an opinion like yours (my husband feels much the same as you) because I think this is the way things will be now and I hate that folks like you and my hubby are so unhappy with it.

        What I try to do for him when he gets crankly about lack of privacy and people over sharing on Facebook is to have him focus on the good parts – the ability we have to stay really connected with his sister and her family several states away, the ease we have with social planning and arrangements with friends spread over a fairly large area of the state and the ability to express oneself when you choose to. I’ve also set up his Facebook to be portioned off and arranged to suit the different facets of his life. He can have all his photos of the dogs show up on his moms wall, but she doesn’t have to see his status updates, you get the picture. It’s what helps me feel more control and he seems to appreciate it too.

        Sometimes focusing on the benefits of a situation we don’t like (carrots are good for you even if they’re a pain in the ass to eat) helps lessen how much we dislike it. I understand where my husband is coming from and why about Facebook and I don’t think he’s crazy or wrong. I just think he’s bound to continue to be disappointed unless he learns to look at it differently.

        • Class of 1980

          We have always been able to be connected via phone calls, letters, photos, and later e-mail. We’ve always expressed ourselves.

          You feel the benefits of Facebook outweigh the bad, but some of us have considered it and think the opposite. I don’t see why we have to learn to like it. We can opt out.

          I don’t think Facebook will stand the test of time … at least not in it’s current form. Maybe the social network will become a lot more refined, but not until consumers start caring about boundaries.

          • To each his own of course and I do understand your point. To clarify though, I wasn’t speaking only of Facebook, though that was the example I used. I’m speaking of the internet and all the boundary crossing/dropping and over sharing it has brought with it.

          • Class of 1980

            Understood. And I hate it all. ;)

          • meg

            Agreed. I think it’s pretty clear that the ways people share are already changing.

      • k

        Amen sister. If there’s one thing I’m grateful for, it’s that I’m old enough to have travelled when that actually meant you were out of touch — you could be overseas for six months and no one knew where you were, what you were doing, or how to get in touch with you. It was AWESOME.

      • I totally agree with you. There was a time a while back when Facebook randomly changed their privacy settings, and all of a sudden I was seeing pictures of friends’ friends babies and weddings (not even people I knew, just random friends of my friends, when my friends had commented on or liked the image). I found it really uncomfortable to have a news feed full of extremely personal images, complete with captions (“my son at his bris!”), and had to imagine that most of these people didn’t even realize that because of the privacy settings, I was being fed a stream of their personal images (and probably would have felt extremely violated if they did know). I changed it myself because I didn’t want to participate in that kind of internet voyeurism.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        I ran out of times I could “exactly” Class of 1980, but EXACTLY.

        I’m still have a Facebook account and there are times when I think about a period in my life, wonder how people are doing now, and look up a bunch of people. I can see what people are doing even though I haven’t really thought about them, never mind talked to them, in years.

        But I’m also grateful for the people I can’t find. For example, I don’t know anything about the past eight years in the life of the woman who was my best friend in high school. We fell out out touch with each other an e-mail address ago. I really appreciate that if we were to recognize each other in the street, we’d be able to ease into reconnecting with each other.

    • k

      Even if it is a generational thing, so what? Does my desire to not to have the Internet invade every second and every facet of my life somehow not really count because there wasn’t one when I was in high school?

      • Class of 1980


        • Just Another Blue

          I concur with “Word.”

      • Brittany

        I get what you’re saying, but I think there’s another angle to the generational thing. If someone expressed a desire to keep pictures off of Facebook or Instagram, I would obviously respect that, however it would never occur to me to ask their permission first. I don’t think that’s because I’m rude; I think that is very generational. When the NYC school district released their new social media policy for teachers, it included a piece saying that you need to get permission from everyone school employee pictured in individual photos in order to post them. My college friends who also work for the schools and I thought that was bizarre. We had a lot of conversations about how long it would take us to get each other’s permission for every photo we have together online and how unrealistic that would be. My older colleagues didn’t see anything onerous or unusual about this rule. I guess what I’m saying is that most of my generation lives online. My friends and I have the common sense not to post inappropriate or potentially damaging things about others on Facebook, but I don’t think any of us would think twice about posting snaps of a friend’s wedding.
        You’re desire not to have your life broadcast certainly counts, but I wouldn’t know that was the case if you didn’t mention it in some way.

        • Class of 1980

          Yes, that part is generational.

          Older people see it as an erosion of something that was once valued, whereas very young people are less likely to have experienced privacy as we knew it, and thus undervalue it.

        • meg

          I’m not sure that is generational. I’m hyper aware of this because I work online, but I hear a LOT of people asking what and how it’s ok to share. And a note for those that don’t ask: you should, if it’s someone else’s picture or private life. It takes two seconds, since you take the picture, and look up an say “cool if I post this?”

        • k

          oh, I know, I know. There are photos of me all over the internet that I never approved and in many cases didn’t even know were being taken. Fortunately almost all of them are on activity-specific websites where I’m not identified by name (in fact I bet some of the people posting them don’t even KNOW my full name). Nothing like getting an email “Do you know you’re on the front page of the Yahoo canyoneering e-group?” to liven up your day, especially when you don’t even go canyoneering very often and have never looked at that group in your life. At least it was a good photo!

          I know full well there’s no way to stop it. If you’re out in public, you have given up the right to not have your photo posted online. That’s just the way it is, and even before the internet if you were in a public place and Diane Arbus happened by, she could take your photo and by simply being in public you were deemed to have consented to have your photo taken. And she could have put it in a show. But now sooo many more people will see it with so little effort being expended to make that so.

        • mmouse

          My MIL is in her mid-50s and she doesn’t think twice about posting online about our (my husband, myself, & my son’s) private lives. I don’t know that’s it’s necessarily related to age, but more towards how people view the boundaries of where their lives and others’ lives intersect.

      • I think maybe the key here is this:

        RESPECT. If you respect someone, then you consider their feelings before you do something that could affect them. That totally includes posting pics of them online or on Instagram.

        Because I think the happiest place to live is somewhere in the middle of this debate, partly accepting that yes, to an extent this is the way life is, but also sticking up for yourself and what you’re personally comfy with by asking friends not to post stuff when you don’t want them to. And regardless of which side you come down on with this issue: I’ll post anything because I don’t care / I don’t go on Facebook and I don’t want to show up there by proxy, you should respect each others feelings and do what you can to protect them.

    • meg

      I don’t think it’s generational. To clarify, I’m not personally against sharing (and this post isn’t anti-sharing, it’s just encouraging you to think about what you’re comfortable with). I’m in sort of a different place than most, since I have a public profile. But because of that, I’m super fine with things getting shared on Facebook, because it’s private. I was also really happy when photos of our wedding popped up on Facebook the day after the event. I tend to be fine with pictures of our kid popping up on friends Facebook feeds. Where I’m not ok personally is when I’m in a room with a bunch of parents and babies, and some parent snaps a picture with my kid in it, and is about to put it on (very public) Instagram without asking. But that’s my personal line.

  • Sarah

    We are a month away from our wedding and I’ve been dealing with this question for the reception. I have been adamant from the start that I did not want pictures taken during the ceremony and we have language in the program saying as much. (I may extend that to a pre-ceremony that we have). But at the same time, I don’t want to stop people from taking pictures during the reception – especially because we have friends from across the country who do not get to spend a lot of time together and I don’t want to limit them from taking pictures of themselves being crazy on the dance floor. And if people are going to take these pictures – I want to see them. Do people have preferences for hashtags verses the aps that are available?

    When it comes to my photographer (and other vendors), our wedding is rather unique because we are melding two communities. I love our vendors and want to help them get more business – if they think posting pictures of our wedding can help that, then I am find – especially because usually even if our name is on it, its so anonymous. And our photographer puts the majority of the pictures behind a password-protected firewall so the more intimate pics are kept for family and friends.

    It is an interesting topic and its interesting to see how its becoming more of a topic around the dinner table with our families.

  • Keeley

    My stance is that I don’t mind people taking photos at the reception, and I’m sure some will get posted on Facebook, which I don’t mind either. However, I really don’t want people’s cameras and phones in my face when I’m walking down the aisle, or, like a commenter above mentioned, professional photos where everyone is holding up their phones/cameras, and especially guests blocking other guests’ view trying to take a picture. So I’m going to put something short and sweet (and polite) in the program that says to keep cameras and phones away during the ceremony. Hopefully that won’t offend anyone, though my dad was weirdly offended by the idea of my telling people not to take pictures of part of my wedding. I wholeheartedly agree that you don’t need an explanation, just a please and thank you.

    • I’m in the same boat as you. However, I dont know that everyone will read the program, so I’m also having our officiant say something at the start of the ceremony, before things kick off, “kyley and [groom] have asked that, in the spirit of being present with them in this important moment, you do not take pictures of the processional and ceremony. They will share professional pictures with all guests after the wedding. Also, please remember to silence your cell phones. Thank you.”

      I figure it’s short & sweet.

    • meg

      Annndddddd check out our post that just went up.

  • Anon

    I think it’s a major omission from this post to not include asking your weddings party how they feel about public images. If you have bridesmaids or groomsmen or children involved, it might be worth finding out how THEY feel about shared images on photographers’ or wedding blogs like APW. They might not be crazy about the idea even if you are, and I don’t think that signing on to be part of someone’s wedding party means automatically signing off on their images being plastered on the internet either. It’s not just about the bride and groom here.

    • Anon

      Meg mentions guests’ photos briefly, but not really in detail about protecting THEIR privacy, just about being a decision of the couple’s.

    • meg

      It’s a good conversation to have. And I definitely did mention in the post that you can totally set limits with your photographer to not share guests images. Also, plenty of people submit their weddings to us without guest images (or without very many of them), which totally makes sense.

      I tend to think guest images are usually a little less of an issue, because when it’s not your wedding day, it’s far less personal. IE, I am private about some of my life, but I show up as a guest in wedding pictures all the time online, and I always think it’s sort of cool. No one knows who the hell I am in those photos. But not everyone will feel that way, so it’s good to check. Also, use your common sense. If you submit photos of your wedding to a blog, and you know your wedding party is cool with it, but your great aunt might not be: don’t submit her photos (or tell your photographer not to).

  • Jashshea

    We used a photo/video sharing service that works on iOS/Android OS, so most people were too busy uploading nonsense pictures there to bother adding anything to FB. The ones that made it up on FB were fine for the most part.

    The one thing that makes me unreasonably crazy is when people post low-quality pictures on FB. I’m tagged in 3+ pictures at my wedding where I’m shoving cupcakes in my mouth like an animal. But post a blurry, out of focus picture that could be nearly any woman in a white dress? Step up your GAME, wedding guest :)

  • We got married a few years ago and never even thought about the whole social media issue, which ended up not being a problem for us. We didn’t mind that people posted pictures of the wedding before we got our professional photos back – mostly because we really wanted to see photos that people had taken – the day is such a blur, that it was nice to see photos right away. I do agree that I would have drawn the line with our ceremony, though. I don’t think I would have liked it if people had posted video of our vows. In terms of posting other people’s photos – it’s a good point. I try not to post a lot of photos on my personal blog of friends and family without their permission, and I only tag photos on Facebook that I know the other person wants to see or would not be embarrassed by. I do tend to share a lot, but try and think about the images I’m sharing. I know I can trust the people I’m friends with on Facebook, as well as my husband’s, though I have talked to him about trimming his friend list. He’s one of those who will add almost any requests if the person went to school with him years ago, but he no longer really knows them, so he ends up with 500+ friends. Anyhoo – back to the point in hand. I do remember finding it a little odd when photos I was tagged in from our wedding would be commented on by people I had never met and had no idea who they were…

  • KateM

    I totally see both sides on this. I have a friend who got married last weekend, and though we are no longer close and were not invited to each others weddings, I loved seeing pictures of her wedding day.
    My wedding had pictures on FB as we were walking down the aisle. posted in real time. The week we were on our honeymoon, there were over 400 pictures from our wedding. Granted I have 3 cousins who are professional photographers and those pictures are amazing, never mind the ones from our hired photographer.
    However, I do think we need to get in the habit of asking and not assuming it is ok. My engagement was announced on FB by someone who was with my brother when I called him. I hadn’t finished making my calls yet. In general, I think we need to be more thoughtful of what we we use technology for. As an HR professional, I am very aware of my social media persona and monitor it closely. I try to be thoughtful about what I say about myself, but also others. It corresponds nicely to the Don’t Pin it/ Do it post. Technology is such a great tool, but boy does it need reining in.

    • Moe

      When we eloped one of the first things we did before calling anyone was de-activate Facebook for about a week. We didn’t want anyone (espeically parents or close family) finding out we had married unless it came directly from us. Even then we had to tell each family member to let us break the news instead of it spreading through the old–fashioned family grapevine.

    • Jenn

      While I commented that I feel all this is rather public, I do, actually agree with you that it’s important to be clear with guests as to when it’s ok and not ok to post stuff.

      When we got engaged, we were pretty clear with everyone that we told not to mention it on facebook until we had managed to mention it. We wanted to make sure that our families found out from US and not facebook. I actually can’t think of one person who didn’t honor that wish.

      • Anon

        The big thing about this issue is that people just don’t think about it. If you mention it respectfully they usually get it right away.

        • That’s the part I don’t like – the not thinking part. We’ve been told for generations to think before speaking. We need to extend that to think before posting.

        • Melissa

          We didn’t think to mention not posting on Facebook, and one of his cousins posted something while we were in the middle of calling people. It never occurred to me to ask people not to post, because I thought it was common sense. Now I know better.

      • KateM

        We had done that, but the person who was with my brother either didn’t hear that part, or ignored it.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        I had a friend recently do something similar with a pregnancy announcement. Please don’t share outside of this room until you see that we’re sharing it on Facebook. It will probably go up around Easter. It gave me a way of know when I could talk about it to friends in tangential circles. Boundary-setting for the win.

    • meg

      Yeah, I’m not anti-sharing at all, to be clear. And I LOVE when I get to see wedding photos on Facebook of friends weddings I wasn’t invited too, and get to squee over how pretty they are. The point is just to think it through.

    • Jashshea

      Regarding the first bit of your last para: EXACTLY. A relative of mine has broken the story of two family deaths and my own brother’s engagement to me on FB. She just posts everything filter-free. Which is my real problem w/FB overall.

  • Lauren

    I am somewhat conflicted on this. On the one hand, I Instagrammed a friend’s wedding so that another friend who couldn’t be there could follow along. My Instagram account is private to friends only.

    Then, at out recent wedding shower, I had a friend take multiple pictures of me and the fella opening gifts. Afterwards, everyone wanted a snapshot with me/us.

    I am somewhat ambivalent on the issue. Neither desiring as much privacy as Meg writes nor welcoming every share. It may be naive, but I am planning on, if I see anything I find distasteful after the wedding, to ask the poster(s) to kindly remove it. If they don’t want to, I think that says more about their inflexibility than my potential perceived bossiness.

    Thankfully, my church does not allow photographers beyond the last row of pews. So our ceremony will have fewer distractions. I have been to too many weddings where the photographer is on top of the couple and guests and it’s just uncomfortable for everyone.

    • meg

      To be clear, I’m talking about conversations you should have, not how much privacy you should or shouldn’t want. I had a very similar Facebook policy after the wedding. I untagged a few photos, enjoyed the rest. And I wouldn’t have a “no Instagram at parties” rule, except I have a public profile, and lots of my guests have robust online presences. But within private boundaries, I definitly share. And I share here in public too. Just talk about what you’re comfortable with. Full stop.

      • Lauren

        Oh, I completely agree with your post and that a conversation, if desired, is necessary. Never assume people can read your mind, is my mindset. I was mostly talking through how I feel about the issue and what kind of conversation to have, or if I even need/want one at all. Like Moe below, My boundaries are a bit scattered, so that’s why I’ve come up with a piecemeal approach. And especially if it worked for you, it will likely work for me.

  • Bubbles

    FH and I are going to request that guests refrain from taking photos of the ceremony, because we believe that portion of the wedding is very personal and should remain private to an extent. We are going to put that request on our wedding website, and assign one of our larger friends to glare at anyone who dares to take out a cellphone/camera during the ceremony. ;)

  • I love it when posts like this come up as we’ve been on the ‘unplugged’ train for a while regarding our wedding ceremony, as well as requesting that our guests don’t share photos on Facebook before we do. Having said that, however, my partner is decidedly anti-Facebook, and I like to retain some level of privacy on that site, so we may end up just asking people to keep the pics off Facebook altogether. Pictures of themselves having fun at our wedding? Great. Pictures of us cutting the cake, not so much. It’ll obviously be something we’ll work out over the coming months, but if my guests are offended by any of these requests, I would just see it as a sad reflection of the times we live in. Privacy should not have to be requested.

    • “Privacy should not have to be requested.”


  • Moe

    Ugh! I’m all over the map with these issues.

    I am so annoyed and tired of FB yet I can’t quit it. I love my Instagram account. I think I’m too old to Twitter, I’ve tried it and can’t catch on.

    As far as the wedding there were a number of my guests who took pictures and posted them. I wanted those images, and went about crowdsourcing them using IFTTT (there was an article here on APW about this). One friend took a fantastic Instagram picture of us as we walked up the aisle after the ceremony. I would not have had these memories if it were not for social media.

    On the other hand, I asked a friend specifically NOT to post my wedding pictures on FB because we have a mutual person in common, someone I ended a friendship with and I just didn’t want her to see my wedding moments.

    So I think the question here is one of control. How much can you control content and what’s a reasonable boundary? This is really hard for me. My photogrpher’s pictures are awesome, I love them. I can’t wait for my wedding guests to see them.

    I would also love to do something that promotes my photographer’s business so I’m torn about how to share his work and how much.

    I would be honored if my grad post was posted here on APW, this community was so instrumental in helping me get through this season in my life. I want to share the photos that go with it but this is a different forum in my perspective.

    For me, I think I will post a limited number of shots from the photographer to FB and filter them so that only wedding guests can see them. (I set up a list during wedding planning so that only invited guests could see posts related to the shower and wedding)

    This is hard stuff!

    • meg

      And you know what? Having all over the place boundaries is fine, and even normal. I get ALL of the things you just said, and the reasons why.

  • Teresa

    Is there a difference between asking people not to take photos and asking people not to post photos to social media? I loved seeing the pictures people posted on Facebook in the days after our wedding–I wanted to see every picture I could, I was so freaking excited! I can understand people not wanting that, but it doesn’t seem right to not allow people to take pictures at all. What if people just want them because they love you and are there and want the memories of the day? Or, in our case, there was a side of the family that hadn’t all been together in YEARS and they were taking lots of pictures with us and together.

    Also, just as a note to all of those people worried about seeing cameras as you walk down the aisle: from experience, you will see nothing but your partner at the end of the aisle. Literally, I had tunnel vision. I heard the music, we came around the bend and I saw only him. I didn’t notice anyone else, camera or not.

    • Hannah

      Yes! This! I think this is why the notion of an “unplugged” wedding rubs me the wrong way. It’s nice to say “put your phone away and be in the moment” but for me, having pictures lets me relive that moment later and honestly improves my enjoyment so much more. I totally understand if you don’t want me to put those pictures of you at the alter on facebook (because my random facebook friends certainly don’t need to be involved in such an intimate moment and I respect that), but to forbid me from taking any pictures at all? As a picture junky that bums me out :(

      • Bubbles

        Offbeat Bride had an excellent post on the concept of unplugged weddings a while back, that basically boiled down to, “Hey, we’re paying professionals to do this, so let them do their thing.” http://offbeatbride.com/2011/06/unplugged-wedding

        I, too, am a picture junky, but I will be asking my guests to refrain from using devices during my ceremony. The reception will be a free-for-all.

      • k

        It’s interesting to me this equation of “unplugged” with “no photos.” Photography has been around since the early 1800s; looong before there was an internet. Taking a photo and uploading it are not the same thing at all. If someone said “unplugged” to me I would not at all take that to mean no photos.

    • rachel

      For me it wasn’t that I didn’t want to see the cameras on the day of the wedding, the concern was that I didn’t want the pictures of my ceremony to look like this:




      I wouldn’t want to frame those or hang them on my wall, you know?

    • Samantha

      I think most people were saying no photos during the ceremony, because it is a special/sacred event/location. For everything else snap away and love your pics but please don’t post them all over the internet. That’s what I got anyway!

    • Teresa, I understand what you’re saying, but I think it’s a matter of mutual respect.

      My maid of honor does not enjoy getting her picture taken. It makes her extremely uncomfortable and she is extremely vocal that she does not like it. It’s an invasion of her personal space. Think of a person who doesn’t like to be hugged. Well, you like to hug, so do they need to just get over it?

      As a snap-happy person myself, I try to respect her wishes when I’m taking photos. I don’t force her into group shots, and I don’t take candid photos of her, and I always ask her permission if there is a photo I really really want her in. It was a significant topic of conversation when I asked her to be in my wedding, and in the light of that event she was more than happy to be mobbed by our photographer like the rest of the group, but it meant much more to her that I asked about it specifically.

      Also, some people are much more sensitive to photography and cameras. I noticed during the ceremony as my wedding, and some people would even get up and move around to try and get a shot. Not only that, but I was so overwhelmed by people trying to get my attention to snap their own personal photo at the beginning of the reception that I ended up fussing at a few people. So I’m sure those were not exactly memorable photos of my “happiest day”.

      Like I said, it’s about mutual respect. Some folks just aren’t comfortable with cameras focused on them, and if they want to request that people not take photos so that they can feel more comfortable on a day when they should feel as comfortable (or zen) as possible, then I think that should be respected.

  • Jenn

    My reaction to this post is interesting, and completely opposite from what I imagine the OP’s point to be.

    As the fact of my wedding will be a matter of public record after its occurance, I rather feel as though my wedding is public by its very nature. To me, my wedding is about my partner and I committing ourselves in a very public way as it will be of public record, and therefore public knowledge does seem to make the whole event less private. It’s happening in the middle of a hotel (the ceremony takes place almost in the lobby, which is not as sketchy as that sounds, I promise!) where there very well could be other people around that don’t even know us. While I want to celebrate the event in person with close friends and family, I feel as though the ceremony itself, as the component of the event that makes our relationship legal, feels the least private part of the whole event. I’m ok with that and actually embrace it.

    Before reading this post, I was feeling as though I did not want my photographer to put all of his photos onto facebook. I was ok with him posting them to his website, and using them for personal gain (he is a photographer after all and needs to eat), but less excited about all of the photos of our wedding in a place where they could easily be tagged by anyone and commented on by people I don’t even know. Somehow, after reading this post, I don’t mind that because this post has reminded me of how public I feel the event is.

    • Class of 1980

      Weddings have historically been public only as far as legal records and newspaper announcements.

      Photographs were always at the discretion of the couple and their families. There have been many famous people who married without ever showing a photograph of the occasion to the public on purpose.

      There was a time in the 1800s when parents would actually have been horrified by a photo of their daughter as a bride appearing in the newspaper. The wedding was private and the newspaper announcement was public.

      So “public” has nothing to do with photos. That part is your choice.

    • Rebecca

      I think it’s awesome that this post helped clarify, for you, what your feelings are on social media. And I can certainly see how a wedding can feel/ be a public pronouncement of your commitment to one another. I think that’s what makes this issue so interesting/ controversial- weddings can be simultaneously public and private, and any individual wedding can also fall on a spectrum of privacy to publicity.

      We had our (very small) wedding an hour away from a major city at a site with no cell phone service, so you can guess where our public vs. private preferences fall…we haven’t even changed our status on facebook. The people who should know already do.

  • Mart

    Funny how people dont like their wedding pics being on facebook but 9/10 when you look at their facebook page you could only assume they spend most of their time out drinking or complaining about a hangover. Because thats what most people put on facebook. And no doubt their Hen/Stag night is all over facebook because thats ok with them passed out in a heap somewhere but nice wedding pics. ARE YOU SERIOUS YOU WANT TO PUT THESE REALLY NICE PICS ONLINE ARE YOU MAD I HATE YOU. lol.

  • Umpteenth Sarah

    Another point: in some states and at some places, being in a same-sex partnership can be grounds for termination (see: recent firing of a Columbus, OH Catholic school gym coach because her name got linked with her long-term partner’s in an OBITUARY.. .hissssss). So, there may be all sorts of reasons why what seems like a harmless, loving gesture, like bragging about how awesome your recently wedded friends are, could end up being bad news.

    • meg


      Also true.

      • Elizabeth

        Yep. As a lesbian living in a conservative state, this is a big deal for me. Especially since my workplace recently issued an advisory recommending employees avoid controversial or polarizing posts on social media.

        Since gay marriage is a polarizing issue, there’s a whole other dimension at play for me besides instagramming fun.

        In an ideal world, I wouldn’t be nervous about social media + a life celebration being a professional liability. In the real world, it is. That sucks, but it’s reality, and it’s my reality to navigate.

        At my wedding, I’d like to be able to focus on being present, not worrying if any of the guests are accidentally impacting my career.

    • Class of 1980

      I always think about the impact of people’s disapproval of information or images.

      It could impact your life, livelihood, and lead to lost opportunities. That’s the value of privacy.

      • H

        My rule is I don’t post anything on Facebook that would turn into a media scandal and prevent me from getting elected President. I may choose never to become President, but I’ll be darned if a Facebook post is what makes that choice for me.

  • KateM

    On a side note, my dad was approached by someone who had seen a picture of him “drunk” at a wedding on FB. He wasn’t, his eyes close really quickly when there is a flash, and so almost all pictures of him look that way. He was furious, he felt his reputation had been damaged, and he isn’t on FB, so he had no way of policing the picture and didn’t know that it was online. Not being aware of your public image can also be damaging, even if the person was not ill intentioned, to someone who didn’t know my father the perception was very different.
    Again, as an HR person, when someone interviews, if their FB profile is public, I am immediately inclined to not hire them. I personally think it stupid not to use the privacy settings. It makes me question your judgement, maturity and ability to keep confidential information. Unfair maybe, but absolutely true. It is a strike against you.
    I guess my point is, that your online presence is becoming more and more important, and how we are able to control that especially in pictures is important. It probably also has to do with living in DC, where so many people have security clearances. This stuff can be held against you.

    • Ellen

      You really don’t deserve to be in HR then if having one profile pic is grounds for you not to hire them.

  • Caroline

    We really struggle with what the boundaries are. Or rather, the boundaries we like are super complicated and I have no idea how to communicate them to guests.
    Our ideal policy would be:
    -no photography during the ceremony, we’re paying someone a large fortune for that, please be present at this sacred moment
    -please don’t post photographs of us on social media, or photo upload sites like flickr, photobucket, instagram, etc without explicit permission. We will happily approve a few photos of us for social media, and may release 1-5 ourselves. Please don’t post unapproved photos.
    -please DO share your photos with us via an app or email or server or something to be determined.

    I feel like as a guest, that would be way too complicated for me to handle. I probably wouldn’t bother sharing my photos with them. I don’t know, is that over the top?

    • k

      That’s what I as a guest would do anyway on my own inclination. I don’t think it’s that complicated though; it’s three short bullet points.

    • Rachel

      That’s what our policy is basically going to be, and my thoughts are we could take a two-prong approach.

      At the ceremony, we can do a note in the program that says please no pictures and have our officiant say something. Done. That’s easy.

      On the tables at the reception, we can have little cards that say something to the effect of “Out of respect for the couple and other guests, please refrain from sharing photos on social networks like FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. But we’d love for you to take lots of pictures, and we hope you’ll join us in using the Wedding Party app to share photos to a private stream that only other invited guests can see. [then include app info or whatever]” I’ll probably put it on our wedding website as the wedding nears too, and I’ve also asked my bridesmaids to help spread the word about why we feel strongly about this.

      Anyway, I hope breaking it up like that and explaining it to close friends/family in person first will make it easier for guests to understand!

    • Amy March

      I would abide by this, but I probably wouldn’t bother sharing photos with you. I use FB for my photo sharing because it’s easy for me. If you’d rather I not, fine, but I probably don’t care enough to figure out some other way of sharing them with you.

      • Caroline

        See that’s the thing. I probably wouldn’t either. I’d really love to have candids from family and friends but it’s also really important for me to honor the fact that my fiance feels really strongly about staying off Facebook.

        • Rachel

          Eh, the way I see it, if I can learn to use Instagram, I can learn to use whatever app my best friend is asking me to learn to use. As a guest, I figure it’s good wedding karma to help friends out as they try to create new tradition. And I figure as these apps start to take off, we’ll see them at more and more weddings so people will feel more compelled to learn. So I guess I’m happy to be an early adopter, but I’ve also accepted that other people aren’t and we may see less of those candids as a result.

          • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

            I don’t have a smartphone, so I won’t use an app directly. But I’m happy to e-mail my photos to the couple, their designated person, or their designated program.

            But then, that’s the way I share photos all the time anyway.

          • MDBethann

            I second a Single Sarah.

            I don’t use apps because I don’t have a smartphone. So I share my photos on Facebook in albums that I limit to the relevant people (i.e. photos of my cousins’ kids can only be seen by family members; photos of a friend’s wedding can only be seen by others in that shared group of friends).

            I’ll happily e-mail you photos, but expect a lot of e-mails from me because my digital SLR camera has a HUGE file size (gorgeous pictures though).

          • me

            Our solution to this problem is simple. We’re asking everyone who takes photos with their cameras to pick up a cd envelope so they can share it with us. The envelopes are self addressed and stamped and contain a black CD so the guests can put their pictures on it and then mail it back to us.

            I can tell you this, though. If I find any pictures of my day on facebook, I will demand they be taken down and contact facebook to have them removed. It’s not just my privacy. I have children. And my friends have children. I value their privacy as well and I’m not going to plaster their lives all over the internet either. I stand by my original statement: if guests can’t respect our wishes, they don’t need to come.

        • We didn’t actually mind photos posted to Facebook, but for people not on Facebook (like my father-in-law) and since most people don’t post all of their photos, I made a Picasa web album and invited people to share their pictures there. Only people invited could see it, but that way we got photos from a lot of our guests and they got to see each other’s pictures.

      • meg

        Which is fine, right? If you’re sharing out of easy habit, that’s one thing. If your sharing as a gift to the couple, that’s another. Using an app always feels like a gift to the couple, and one I’m happy to do. But if you’re not into it, it’s not a big deal. You’ll contribute in other ways.

  • Sarah

    This is not completely related to this post, but I read the same advice column and also thought her response was a little off, so I’m glad I wasn’t the only one.

    • meg

      Can you remember where it was? I thought it was the NYtimes, but I couldn’t find it, and it was making me crazy.

      • Sarah

        It was either last month’s or the month before’s Real Simple.

  • Abby Mae

    We’ve worked so hard to make our invitations special and creative. We ended up wood burning and sewing them ourselves. However, we chose to have an intimate wedding and so not many people have seen our invites (which we consider a good thing). During this past year of planning we’ve had to deal with so many hurt/angry friends and family that we couldn’t invite (because of venue occupancy limitations, budget, and plain old abusive family members) and having some people actually trying to figure out how to come anyway.

    This week one of my FH’s friends was so amazed by our invites that she posted it on Facebook and tagged him in the picture. The thing is that we know a few people would try to crash the ceremony/party and we felt so awful about telling her to take it down. I wouldn’t have minded if it was after the wedding but because it is in June we knew that we would be dealing with some unwanted situations.

    I know we’ve gotten a few people frustrated with us and it’s hard but we think it’s worth it.

  • FC

    We asked our officiant to say something about photos during the ceremony. I think she said “M and F have hired a wonderful professional photographer to document the day, and in recognition of the sacred space of this moment, ask that you refrain from taking pictures during the ceremony.” It totally worked!

    There were no pictures on Facebook until we chose to put up some of our professional shots, and then a few friends added some pictures from the reception. We are fairly private people, and specifically chose our outdoor ceremony location for our ability to bar the public, so we really appreciated it.

    • Megan-E

      Great language for the statement! *files away for future reference*

  • mmouse

    The idea of having social media sharing conversations is so important. I got married nearly 4 years ago & we didn’t even think about what our comfort levels were (for the record, people took video/pictures/etc and posted all up and down Facebook, and we didn’t care a wink).

    Since then, my feelings towards Facebook, etc have shifted (my husband was never interested in them in the first place), especially when it comes to our new child. We are the deciders about literally everything regarding his well-being and that includes his online footprint. We want his to be very small until he’s old enough to make those decisions for himself.

    Where this is relevant to the wedding sharing side is people’s reactions to our wishes for privacy (or, as we think of it, just *less* sharing: we’ll post a picture every now and then). Some have been fine with it and some having complained that we aren’t being “fair”. We’ve had to remind multiple family members of our picture posting wishes and are ready to de-friend some multiple offenders if it happens again. In my view, it’s selfish for someone doesn’t ask before publicly, irreversibly sharing moments of other people’s lives.

    • meg

      I’m glad I’m not the only one on this bandwagon with our kid. We’re not sharing nothing, we’re just limiting things, and sharing them privately. I want him to decide and control his online footprint. It’s going to be interesting to see if more people start thinking this way.

      • We’re not even near the point of thinking about having kids, but Bryan and I have already decided much the same thing. Personally, I can only think of how potentially damaging it could have been had my parents been in control of my online identity. Especially considering the tenuous relationship I have with my mother.

      • mmouse

        Last night, I was share this article/comments section with my husband (he says this site is like the NPR of women’s issues, because I’m constantly telling him about the thoughtful stuff I read here). Anyway, he was So. Relieved. to hear that *we* aren’t the only ones who think this way. His sister just posted two pictures of our son the other day & we have a family get together in June. We’re working on our wordage for all the photos taken there.

    • MDBethann

      A colleague and his wife did this with their newborn twins. They were very premature (micro preemies) and a lot of people wanted to know how things were going. So they started a blog and just referred to the twins by their first and middle initials (also helped that one was a girl and one a boy) so that the twins could one day make their own decisions about their Internet footprint. I thought it was a great idea. I’ve seen other bloggers refer to their children as “Peanut” or some other nickname to provide some privacy while sharing.

  • It’s crazy how things change so quickly! I only got married a little over two years ago & the only thing we had to contend with was Facebook. There were no iPhones & other smartphones for photos & video, let alone so many places to share photos & video like Instagram, Twitter, etc. I didn’t mind wedding photos on Facebook- my hubs & I actually enjoyed seeing our family & friends’ photos before the professional photos were ready. But if I were to get married today, I think unplugged would be the best route for us! Every couple is different though, I know a lot of couples creating personal hashtags for their wedding day.

  • Anon

    It seems to me that telling guests not to take photos because there’s a professional photographer in the room is missing the point. People take photos for their own documentation, not someone else’s, and it’s not so stupid given how protective most photographers are of their copyright (which I completely understand, I’m not knocking it). And let’s be honest, few people really see most of the professional photographs that are taken to begin with.

    I happen to fall heavily on the pro privacy side of this debate, plus I am not the biggest fan of photos anyway, but it feels like a stupid way to get people to stop clicking, frankly.

    It’s about privacy, not about there being a better photographer in the room.

    (This comment’s in response to a lot of the comments above, not the post specifically.)

    • Samantha

      I think everyone’s points were – as per the ceremony, one professional photographer was hired to capture this moment and the couple does not want the entire congregation or group of guests to be clicking away during such an important moment. I don’t think the majority of people are worried about the reception. It’s not about a better photographer it’s about limiting and controlling what is happening during the ceremony.

      • Anon

        Yeah, I get that – but mentioning that they have a professional photographer is a red herring. If you don’t want pictures taken by your guests at the ceremony, just say that. There’s no need to mention your photographer.

  • Stacey

    I’m actually thinking of having both parents walk me down the aisle so that my mom doesn’t spend that time behind her camera. I’m pretty traditional and think it *should* be just a girl and her dad (if she has a dad), but I don’t know how else to make my mom STOP DOCUMENTING EVERYTHING INSTEAD OF PARTICIPATING. She’s soooo worried that my photographer will take to long too edit her pix and she wants pix immediately to show all of her friends, none of whom are invited. I know my retirement-age mom will be the absolute worst social media offender out of everyone invited.
    And the thing is, *I* don’t really care. It’s my soon-to-be husband who cares, and I need to find a place where I can stand up for who HE is to my mom. This has been harder than you can imagine.

    • Rachel

      Sometimes I call my mom “the paparazzi” because of how she documents my brother’s events. And it just drives me nuts because she doesn’t have time to print or put any of those photos in albums! They never get looked at again! I do NOT want her to have a camera at my wedding because I want her to just enjoy herself.

      Maybe you can reach out to your photographer and say, “Look, my mom is SUPER eager to have photos, to the point that she’s threatening to take them herself which I do NOT want…how much would it cost to get X number of sneak peek photos edited for us by Monday or Tuesday?” I doubt it would cost THAT much and it may be worth it to get your mom to chill.

      • meg

        Mmmhummm. We have family members like this. It’s always odd to me when a pro-photographer is in the room and they do it, because… we’re all going to frame the pro photos. That’s just how it goes. I totally get taking a few pictures from your own perspective, but when you won’t put the camera down, why? I wonder if it’s sometimes a way to shield yourself emotionally (which would make sense, and I’m not exactly knocking).

        • KC

          My relatives-like-this-who-shall-remain-nameless appear to enjoy:
          a) definitely getting the photos (often, people forget [or “forget”] to distribute photos afterward, which is challenging to those relatives who *love* to share photos with their cubicle-across-the-hall-neighbors-at-their-last-job et al)
          b) speed (instant gratification!)
          c) control (over what they capture, over how they share the photos)
          d) a sense that no event is complete without documentation (which, okay, yes, we forget things and sometimes photos remind us, but… no, not everything needs photos)

    • Megan-E

      I am so sorry you’re going through this! It sounds tough. I think your idea is a really practical and graceful solution. Your mom will be included, you will be representing your partner’s wishes (a beautiful statement of your commitment)… Especially if you feel like her documenting is something you can’t talk to her about and expect a solution that way.

    • TJ

      I’m on the other side of this situation, much like your soon-to-be husband, and if my fiance was trying to come up with ways around his mother taking ceremony photos I’d be thrilled.

      I get that she wants photos IMMEDIATELY NOW THIS MINUTE but I want photos in the church which don’t show her camera waving in the air, and I can’t understand why we can’t get what we want – she can have her immediately available photos after the ceremony. My soon to be sister in law was recently married, and that’s the only thing I see in any of her wedding photos/video and it really bugged me on the day as well.

    • I was a bit concerned my mom would want to take photos all the time during our wedding (she is big into photo documentation!), but I only remember her taking a few during the reception. I think she just was fine with participating/being present in the ceremony. I was pretty surprised by that… (and I hadn’t even brought it up with her).

  • Beth

    I am much more lax on social network sharing than my fiance, but still much stricter than many people I know. If someone posts a picture of me on Facebook, it better not be open to the public, I better not be tagged, and I better look gorgeous. :P Instagram I am more okay with, for some reason.

    My fiance is not on any social media site and he asked our photographer if we could amend our contract to state that he couldn’t use our images for marketing purposes. He was fine with it and said he probably wouldn’t want pictures of his own wedding posted online either.

    As a photographer myself, though, I cannot bring myself to tell people not to take pictures during the wedding because I know how much taking pictures means to me, and how looking at pictures I took has such different meaning than looking at pictures even a professional took. Plus, I have heard/witnessed too many horror stories of memory cards being corrupted or cameras (with memory cards still in them) getting crunched/ruined in car accidents and whole chunks of images being lost. It happens and sometimes there’s nothing the photographer can do to avoid it, and I’d rather have a few low quality, blurry instagram pictures taken by my friends than no pictures at all.

  • Alice

    We were overseas for a big family milestone birthday when my fiance proposed. We didn’t have internet access where we were staying which was actually lovely because it meant that we just enjoyed the time and celebrated with our family and friends, without having to share our news via social media. However, a day or so later I got a text from a good friend back home asking “Is it true?!” I thought news was travelling pretty quickly, considering we’d only contacted a handful of friends to let them know. I found out that my soon-to-be sister-in-law had posted OUR news on Facebook without asking either myself or my fiance. To add insult to injury, I had been right there with her in town while she used an internet cafe, and she still neglected to ask me. We tried to think of the best way to broach the subject with her, but couldn’t find the right moment. We were also worried she would take it as a direct criticism of her and so we never ended up asking her to remove it, although I did un-tag myself from the Facebook post. I still feel resentful about it, because it really wasn’t her news to share. I’m worried a similar thing could happen with future events. I know I need to talk to her about it eventually, and now I might have a bit more confidence to do so! Thank you for this post. It’s made me realise I’m not the only one who doesn’t want their relationship splashed all over social media.

    • mmouse

      You should talk with your fiance and come to an agreement about how you want your privacy shared. If it comes from him (her brother), she may take it better. When we have to discuss these things with offending family members, each of us deals directly with our own immediate family.

  • Just Another Blue

    So, I admit straight off the cuff that I’m old, and that I don’t “get” a lot of the social media culture that appeals to younger people. I mean, I love blogs, I use the internet all the time for work and for life, and I have blogged (anonymously) in the past, and I do use Facebook. But I have a real problem…I mean a REAL problem…with the idea that anyone at all would presume to take photographs of my wedding or video of my wedding with their phone and post it to their Facebook or Instagram or whatever like it’s just another snapshot of some sushi that they’re about to eat. I really am having a hard time reconciling my personal need for privacy with the culture of overshare that social media has created already. I’m uncomfortable with the amount of information that some of my Facebook friends share about THEMSELVES…but to even think that someone would take such a private moment out of my life and post it online without asking just feels like such a violation that I can’t even articulate how angry it makes me. And the fact that this is something that we’re even having to talk about makes me sad, because really, what is wrong with people? And when I read discussions on this topic that actually involve people DEFENDING their “right” to take photos of someone else’s wedding and post them online, as though they are all very important artists and their Instagram interpretation of someone else’s private wedding is just vital to share with the world….man, it’s hard to even think about it without feeling very upset.

    • KEA1

      I don’t know how old you are, but I am 38 and RIGHT with you on this. I get physically angry reading/hearing people assume that it’s somehow their right to publicize my news/events without my permission, or that it’s somehow “not fair” that I would expect privacy and the right to disseminate my personal information as I see fit.

      • Just Another Blue

        I am 38 as well. :) So maybe it is a generational thing, but I don’t think so. And I don’t mean to be extra aggro about it…but man it really gets me. I have lots of privacy walls on my personal Facebook, but not everyone I know has the same. I have been stalked in the past, so I put ZERO personal information on Facebook. I don’t “check in”, I remove myself from tagged photos if not outright requesting their removal. I cannot understand why people would post identifying photos of their houses or pictures of their children or why people have to tell the entire internet what restaurant they’re eating at. I just don’t get it, and I don’t want to be part of it, and if I don’t want to be part of it in my every day life, I certainly don’t want something as intimate as my wedding to be part of it. And the very idea that I might actually have to argue with someone over their desire to photograph my wedding and post it online…well, we’re eloping, and that is one of the (many) reasons.

        • mmouse

          I’m not sure if age really has too much to do with it. I’m 30 (and have had a Facebook since you needed a college email address), but I feel the same way about people violating others’ privacy. Also, I just can’t understand why people “check in” places or post publicly that they’re on vacation and whatnot. I often comment on friends’ posts where they have advertised their home address (because they “check in” when they’re home and it shows their house on a MAP) by telling them I’m coming to rob them the next time they tell me they’re away from their house.

          • MDBethann

            My only identifying location on FB is one of the two nearby large cities, and I don’t actually live there, so hopefully people can’t find me too easily unless they know me.

          • Me

            I know this is late, but it may be of some comfort to someone else. I’m 27 (as a month ago) and I deleted my facebook two years ago due to privacy concerns. I do NOT want my children’s photos online. At all. I can’t stop their dad from doing it, but I sure as hell can stop everyone else. After telling my mother several times to take the photos off her facebook, I went on her account and deleted them myself. She went so far as to print copies of a photo I gave her and used them in her holiday cards to random people I’ve never even heard of – and this included random facebook “friends” she met online. Privacy is huge concern of mine and my parents – both in their 50s – don’t seem to understand it at all.
            As for the wedding, we’re having a sort of unplugged deal. Guests are welcome to use digital cameras (but not during the ceremony) as long as they do not post them to any social media. And no cell phones are allowed. I don’t care how it sounds and I don’t care if I come off as rude. The likelihood of them even having reception is slim to none anyhow, but I just don’t trust it. I don’t want anyone posting any photos of my extremely small ceremony on the internet.
            Part of me wishes social media had never happened in the first place. It’s killing our privacy. So many adults are so indifferent to it and all of our children are growing up in a world where privacy hardly exists.
            Bottom line: It’s your wedding and if you don’t want anything shared online, then that is your choice. If a guest doesn’t like it, they don’t have to come. If they can’t respect your choices, you don’t need them there anyway.

          • anon

            Agree. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one out there that remembers the lectures about “the internet is dangerous / don’t tell the internet where you live”… the thing that really kills me is when I see those same adults that taught me the importance of internet safety/privacy sharing identifying information on their facebook feeds… not understanding the privacy settings is not an excuse!


    My man and I are introverts, but, oddly, we would be fine with everything but our actual wedding ceremony being a no-holds-barred, plugged-in, Internet extravaganza. We would relish this one circumstance where it is accepted to sing from the rooftops. However, as things tend to go with rituals like these, the most careful sensitivity is required, so, this is what we’re going to do…

    We’re not just going to have a social network photo/video blackout of our wedding (save for whatever I feel comfortable sharing), We’re also going to have a social network conversation blackout about our wedding, before it and after it. (We’re close enough to those we’re inviting to just outright request it, luckily, since I have no idea how I’d request that kind of thing from a large group of people.)

    We don’t want anyone who isn’t invited to know that we are even planning a wedding. We also have debated even announcing the engagement to everyone since that brings the whole slough of “let me know when the wedding is” comments. I’m still not even sure how I can even announce my wedding or share pictures without extended family knowing we “dared” to invite our dearest friends instead of aunts/uncles/cousins.

    Here’s why: I have a very large extended family on my Mom’s side that I am not close with, and my feelings towards them range from tenuous to outright dislike. However, I don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing through my family tree (even though I am ballsy enough to do that) for one reason: my mother. She is mentally ill and on disability and the ends take some charity to meet. Just like she would have been – if not for her illness stopping her career in its tracks – her siblings and parents are very successful and well-off. They help her out willingly, but the family isn’t really all that emotionally healthy. I know that if I invited only some of them, she would catch all of the heat for years from the people who she relies on and it would be one more thing added to the heap of her misery. I can’t do that to her.

    Additionally, the groom is on good terms with but not very close to his family. And, like I said, we’re both introverts, so opening up emotionally in front of a crowd of people we feel anything less than fierce love for just ain’t happenin’.

    ………..SO! We’re just not inviting ANY family except our immediate family, and our closest friends who are our chosen family. It will be about 30 people. We feel like that is fair enough, and we get our ideal wedding environment. (It is a welcome side-effect that our very secular wedding and openly gay guests will not suffer from any possible comments or judgements by any of our God-fearing, “Traditional Marriage”-supporting family members.)

    But, the tl;dr point is, all that we’re trying to do to save my mom from drama with her family could all crumble unless people are clear the wedding is a private matter, and willing to keep it that way. I really appreciate posts like these getting the word out to people that weddings are a private thing until told otherwise. Social networking has only made many people forget that, but it hasn’t changed that fact.

  • AshleyMeredith

    It makes me sad that to be part of the conversation on APW I have to read the post THE MOMENT IT IS RELEASED, because it’s bad for my sanity to be that tied in to the next post release. I know. I’ve tried it.

    I had an experience which nobody has mentioned here. I was perfectly happy to have our friends take as many pictures as they wanted, and they actually saved the day, because both of our photographers failed to capture really important things that we had told them they HAD to capture – but the guests got good shots and shared. Yay.

    On the other hand, I told my mom, who is an at times obsessive amateur photographer, that for this one day she had to put the camera down. She was wearing a really lovely dress and I didn’t want it obscured by a giant, ugly, black camera in every picture of the day. Somehow, she decided that once the ceremony/formal pictures were over, that request no longer counted. So of course, in our goodbyes, which were some of the most emotional and moving pictures of the day, there’s the hideous camera right in the middle of our hug. It’s just one of the many reasons I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to have the slick, perfect, gorgeous wedding photos you see everywhere. (Also, see every APW post ever about WIC and expectations and reality.)

    Afterwards, everybody flooded our Facebook accounts with the photos, which was fun and cool and happy. What I didn’t realize or really think about at the time was that friends of friends could see them. Which isn’t, in the context of my wedding, a big deal to me.

    But I definitely felt violated a few weeks ago when a friend discovered that a picture of me walking down the aisle had gone viral on Pinterest. The original poster was someone I have never even met, who was an acquaintance of two of my friends. I mean, of all the pictures of me wearing my wedding dress, you decide to post one of the most personal ones. I immediately contacted Pinterest about copyright violation and they took it down, so thanks and sorry to everybody who pinned it. It’s shocking to me that anybody would think that was okay, and yet at the same time it totally makes sense.

    • meg

      That’s REALLY interesting. I noted in the post that the way of the world now is that if you publish your wedding on a blog, it’s going to land on Pinterest (of course everyone is only supposed to pin things they have copyright on, of course no one does). It probably would have effected the way I published pictures online, had Pinterest existed then.

      HOWEVER. The idea of your photo just landing on Pinterest without you publishing it, and it just being pulled from Facebook? Fuck. I suppose that’s really why that conversation is necessary.

      However, hell yes to the Pinterest team. I knew I liked them.

      • mmouse

        “HOWEVER. The idea of your photo just landing on Pinterest without you publishing it, and it just being pulled from Facebook? Fuck. I suppose that’s really why that conversation is necessary.”

        Did you hear about the couple in Australia who had someone take a photo of their daughter off their Facebook account, send it to a local television show, and that show put it on the air AND called the baby ugly? On TV. What is wrong with people?

      • AshleyMeredith

        “I suppose that’s really why that conversation is necessary.”

        Yes, but then, how do you have this conversation with someone you’ve never met? Everything was fine up until what that total stranger did. I’m hoping there can be more of these large conversations about the issues so that a sense of what’s generally respectful and what’s not can be spread through the culture. Kudos to APW, as usual.

    • mmouse

      “It makes me sad that to be part of the conversation on APW I have to read the post THE MOMENT IT IS RELEASED,”

      I know that feeling too. I can get APW almost everyday, but it’s always at weird times, so sometimes I don’t comment at all. (Unless I get lucky on my timing, like this post :) )

      • I discovered APW recently and I comment on stuff that’s two or three years old sometimes. I don’t think its a race to get in. You never know when whoever wrote a piece might look back at it or when someone might be reading an old post and benefit from something that you have to say. When I am really struggling with something and read a post on APW I have gotten insight from comments that were a few pages down.

        • Haha, I am reading this post late and wanted to comment to say that people do keep reading stuff (sometimes well) after the day it’s posted. :)

  • Such a great conversation to have. So many people don’t even think about the implications of posting private moments on social media. My brother’s wedding was entwined with insane family drama thanks to our inconsiderate sister and Facebook.
    Yeah. Facebook.
    What a silly thing to have drama over. But it happens and I think mostly because these conversations never happen. I applaude anyone who makes the choice to have the convo about kids or weddings or anything. Great way to diffuse possible drama.

    I personally banned all social media sharing of when I gave birth. I saw too many times on FB where it was getting posted by family members other than the parents. No cameras or people were allowed. Then after we had private time as a baby family, our other family was welcome.

    LOL, no, it didn’t go over very well at first. But eventually everyone respected our decision.

  • So useful. I have been mentioning worrying about this as I look at wedding pics of one wedding all over different peoples pages on facebook and people always shrug it off as if I am making something out of nothing. I guess before I was getting married, I didn’t think about the fact that its not just that a couple is paranoid about anything, they just might like to control how their pictures of a special, and actually a very political day (in terms of families and guests) enter the universe. I am not a super private person by nature and I love sharing pictures. But as I have had a lot of struggles around my guest list and know that there are friends who probably won’t get why they aren’t invited, particularly if they see who else was invited, I think that a bunch of pictures popping up on different facebook feeds the next Monday could actually be very hurtful.

    This reminds me that I really need to talk to my mom about pics before the wedding. My mother is an absolute picture taking and facebook posting fanatic, I feel like facebook is all she thinks about when shes taking pictures, and though I appreciate her documenting our family events (no one else ever has to take pictures since we got my mom a digital camera, and we have visual memories of everybody at everything, easy to get to on the web), sometimes I feel like it gets in the way of just taking in and enjoying the event and spending time with other people at events. And sometimes pictures just aren’t flattering, but as I don’t go on facebook very often, everybody has a chance to see it before I do.

    I’ve been to so many events where people are just holding their phones up looking at whats going on through a screen instead of having the experience firsthand. I think in this high technology age taking pictures and video is one way people protect themselves emotionally from the risk of truly engaging, like when folks text message at social events because then they don’t have to find someone to talk to and hold a conversation. I want to have a sacred, intimate, involved ceremony where people are completely there. So I am thinking about asking people to unplug during the ceremony and setting up a private crowd sourcing for reception pictures to channel that picture taking and posting energy in a direction that I can approve.

  • Theodora

    The daughter of close friends was married yesterday. The bride’s mom asked me months ago, as soon as the engagement was announced, to be the “second photographer.” I’m just an avid amateur, but my friends love my ceremony pics. I am very well known to the pastor (this was my own congregation), and I have his full permission to wander around the sanctuary during the ceremony taking non-flash pics. I use either a point and shoot digital or my smart phone. All phone/camera sounds are totally turned off. I also stay totally out of his way, which I why I believe he gives me permission to “wander.” He doesn’t give that to anyone else. I post all pics I take on my Picasa account and then email the link around to everyone. I set the Picasa album for “anyone with link can view.” People can share the album if they wish, and most everyone does. I also set it so people can download pictures.

    Anyway, after yesterday’s wedding, I told the mother of the bride I would post them on Facebook, if she and her daughter gave me permission. Another guest, who took pictures with an iPad (!) posted them to Facebook in the 90 minute interval between ceremony and reception. Since the cat was already out of the bag, the bride and her mom told me to go ahead and put the pictures on Facebook. I put them on a “friends of friends” setting

  • In a shell, you are creative person, because the one, who has taken the wedding videographer, holds the copyright to your photograph. You do not. In fact, copyright attaches as presently because the photographer presses the shutter button. Nice blog!

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