How Mad Should I Be that Our Friends Ignored Our Request to Keep Our Wedding off Social Media?


We were pretty clear

by Liz Moorhead, Editor, Ask APW

Q: I just returned home from my incredible wedding yesterday. It went as well as it possibly could and it was absolutely beautiful. Aside from my anxiety, it was pure magic. I was not prepared, however, for how I would feel the day after. We had an unplugged ceremony, requesting everyone put away their phones and just be present. Imagine my surprise when my now-wife is checking her Facebook and sees a photo of all of us (brides, rabbi, and party) still under the chuppah! The person who posted it even made a comment saying, “Technically I didn’t break the rules, the ceremony had already ended!” Accompanying this photo was the hashtag #loveisloveislove. Now, I’m not a huge fan of social media to begin with and have deactivated my once well-used Facebook account, so please check me if I’m being unreasonable here… but I feel really uncomfortable with this. I felt like we asked for people to be present during an intimate moment, and instead someone betrayed that request, displayed this moment for the world to see, and then took the opportunity to turn it into a political statement that reflected well on themself. Once this was done, it was re-posted and others started sharing.

Soon after we started seeing photos of us with the Rabbi, wrapped in the tallit. Then came videos and photos of first dances, father-daughter dances, etc. I wasn’t present for the pre-ceremony announcement that I was told the Rabbi made, but what is the social media etiquette for this? Considering my anxiety was already insanely high from being paraded around in front of eighty-five people I know and love, it would have been really nice to be asked before such intimate moments were put on display before the entire Internet. To be clear, it’s not that I want to control everything posted from our wedding or that I don’t want people to share their moments of celebration! I would love to see selfies and people posting pictures of themselves with friends, or with one of the brides, etc. But of the ceremony and first dances and parent dances without permission? Don’t people need to ask first? Isn’t there supposed to be a respect of privacy? Or was I explicitly supposed to talk about social media and list those things I didn’t want shared?

After this happened, my wife was kind enough to indulge me in my request for her to post a tactful and polite “Please be considerate of intimate moments when you post” status. But considering I was so blindsided by this social media frenzy as well as my feelings about it, I figured I would write in so other brides can think about it and be given advice before their big day.

—Hindsight is Not Always 20/20

A: Dear HINATT,

Oh man, I’d be furious with the “technically” friend. FURIOUS. No matter what your officiant said, this friend clearly understood the request and chose to find a loophole.  I’d be really tempted to, “Well, technically…” any of her requests for the future. TECHNICALLY, she’s a jerk.

But, I’d just caution you to be careful not to let your irritation with her (or any of the other friends who shared sacred pieces of your ceremony) spread to all the photos, lumping them all in with the bad apples. I completely understand the vulnerability, the overexposure you describe. But asking folks to put away their phones during the ceremony isn’t really the same as asking them not to share any photos at all. Most guests don’t expect to need permission before sharing wedding stuff, especially reception stuff. At this point—for better or for worse—it’s taken for granted that they can share whatever, unless specifically asked not to.

You’re not okay with them sharing whatever, so it’s a different story, and I get that. It’s not too late for you to send some private messages asking for stuff to be taken down. Explain that these moments still feel very personal, and you would rather not share them online. These folks are your friends. They might not understand (everyone has different limits for social media exposure), but they should comply.

Before you do that, I’d suggest you do a quick introspective once-over on your feelings about it. Like I mentioned above, make sure your irritation with rule-breakers isn’t informing how you feel about all the rest of the photos (because those ceremony photos definitely should come down). But also consider the line you feel has been crossed. You’d hoped friends would share their enjoyment of your wedding, but wouldn’t share your own experiences. I understand that these feel like your personal moments, but notice how foggy that line can be. Your friends love you, so they feel they are sharing their own enjoyment when they post videos and photos of you.

If you read through all that and your skin still crawls when you think of those photos floating out there, go ahead and start messaging away. Meanwhile, future brides and grooms, take note: make sure you slap a, “Please don’t share wedding photos on social media,” on your program or wedding site if you don’t want them shared.

And don’t invite that “technically” person.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASk APW a Question, PLEASE DON’T BE SHY! IF YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO BE NAMED, ANONYMOUS QUESTIONS ARE ALSO ACCEPTED. (THOUGH IT REALLY MAKES OUR DAY WHEN YOU COME UP WITH A CLEVER SIGN-OFF!)

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her sons.

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  • Lisa

    Ugh, that makes me seethe on your behalf, LW. You’re not a person who uses social media, your rabbi asked people not to use their phones during your ceremony, and your “friend” thinks it’s OK to post something you clearly did not want out there without even thinking to ask you about it first? She sucks. If you want to maintain this friendship going forward, I’d have a direct conversation with the rude guest (in person if possible) about how this made you feel and tell her she needs to take the photo down.

    For the others, if after a few days you still want those photos down, definitely send them a polite e-mail/text message and request that the photos be taken down. It’s easier to assume innocent intentions with this group. They might have seen that first picture of your ceremony and incorrectly assumed that you had cleared social media posting, or they might have thought that the reception wasn’t as big of a deal, especially if there was nothing specifically requesting no phones/social media sharing. If they’re good friends, they’ll comply with your request, but if they’re not…maybe they can go the way of the original social media user?

    • penguin

      I’d be mad too. I don’t understand the need to post pictures of other people’s moments. I also just think it’s generally crappy to post pictures of other people without clearing it with them first (unless they’ve already said that’s OK ahead of time). I always think it’s so odd when I see people on my Facebook feed posting pics of someone else’s wedding ceremony – that’s not yours to share! Just be there.

      • Amy March

        I always think it’s so wonderful that they are sharing in the joy!

        • JR

          After my wedding, I was so thrilled to see other people’s pictures of my ceremony and reception on Facebook. It tided us over until we got the professional pictures, and it let our friends who couldn’t make it share the experience a little bit.

          • Stephanie B.

            My brother-in-law posted a (low-light, kind of blurry) picture he took of our first dance with his Blackberry and tagged us in it. I’m pretty sure he posted it even before the dance was over. And I was pretty excited to see it, even though it looked like we were maybe underwater.

            That said, my husband and I were fine with it, so our wedding and our feelings don’t apply to the LW’s situation here.

          • penguin

            I could understand posting pictures of the reception, and I think that’s pretty common. I understand why a lot of people don’t want photos taken of their ceremonies – to me it’s just disrespectful, unless they asked you to take photos/video of it.

          • Amy March

            You think it’s disrespectful even if people don’t ask you not to take photos at the ceremony? I think that’s just a completely unreasonable position. It’s extremely common and many people like it.

          • JR

            Yeah, I think the default for most people, at this moment in time, to assume it’s okay unless requested otherwise.

          • penguin

            Yep I do. It’s a ceremony, sometimes a religious one, and I think it’s weird for guests to take photos of it. You probably wouldn’t go to a church service and take photos. Yeah if the couple didn’t explicitly ask you not to take photos, OK you probably will, but personally I still wouldn’t. I get that people need to be explicit if they don’t want any photos taken of a ceremony, I just don’t agree that the default should be to take and post pics of everything. It is what it is at this point though.

          • Amy March

            People take photos at baptisms, of their kids singing at Easter, of their friend reading scripture. Fine if you personally don’t want to but I think it’s out of line to decide people who do are inconsiderate especially given that lots of couples have no problem with this at all and even like it.

          • penguin

            I don’t care if other people do it (at other people’s weddings), especially if the people involved are fine with it. I was just speaking for myself, me personally. I might think it’s a little weird if I saw it happen but I wouldn’t lecture them or something.

          • Her Lindsayship

            Yeah I have to disagree with you on that last part – I think the social norm is that unless you’re asked not to, photos during the ceremony are ok. I totally understand why people wouldn’t want them, but I definitely think they have to be explicit about not wanting them, not the other way around.

          • penguin

            I agree that you have to be explicit about it, I know that most people default to photo taking/sharing. I don’t love it, but I do agree that it is the norm now.

          • CMT

            I think it’s always been the norm, it’s just more visible and accessible now that everyone has a camera in their pocket.

        • Jess

          This is the mental gymnastics I use regarding my in-laws. “Aw, they’re just so excited about this event!”

  • Cleo

    FYI, the photos of the couple with the Rabbi and wrapped in the talit (prayer shawl for those not familiar), were probably also taken at the ceremony. It’s a common practice in Jewish ceremonies.

    (correct me if I’m wrong and the letter was edited and said to the contrary)

    So I’m with Liz on the first dance and reception photos/videos – wait a few days and see how you feel – but as for the ceremony, lump everyone in (even though everyone else who posted might have had better intentions than the “technically” person).

    • kazeegeyser

      I know Jewish weddings usually don’t go down on Shabbat, but I would be horrified to break out ANY electronics during a Jewish ceremony, traditional or not. It just feels wrong.

      • Amy March

        Why? I’ve never been to a Jewish wedding that didn’t have a professional photographer and lights and speakers etc? Would never occur to me to be particular reticent about electronics at a Jewish wedding.

        • kazeegeyser

          Sorry, I should clarify. I generally associate Jewish events with Shabbat, since I spent so much of my youth/adolescence attending services on Friday night/Saturday morning. During this time, for most communities, there is absolutely no active use of electronics – so speakers/lighting is fine as long as it’s turned on BEFORE Shabbat started. I’ve been scolded at many times for looking at my phone during a service. Bar Mitzvah photographs/portraits are taken at the synagogue weeks early since you can’t do them day-of. That sort of thing.

          Now, Jewish weddings cannot occur on Shabbat (traditionally Sunday or Wednesday!), but I’ve had this ingrained into me so much that it simply seems wrong to pull out my phone.

          • Yael

            I kind of see what you mean. I’m orthodox, and live in an orthodox community where everyone is shomer Shabbat, meaning we don’t use phones at all for 25 hours every week minimum, more if there is a Yom tov. I think that because of that most of us are aware that not every. Single. Thing. Needs to be documented via photos, and certainly not on social media.

            not saying I’m not attached to my phone, I am, it’s the first thing that gets turned on after Shabbat is over and as a rule I feel less guilty for being on it during the week because I do unplug, but I am definitely mindful of things like actually enjoying vacation versus taking a ton of pics, posting on Instagram etc even when those events take place during the week. Honestly, sometimes I wish I was BETTER at taking pictures!

            But yeah, id be mad. We JUST got engaged BH a week ago and the first thing I made clear is that we are having an unplugged ceremony. I know that tons of reception pics and pics of the kabbalat Panim will end up online and we are completely fine with that

          • Yael

            Also, wanted to add that we are not a couple who uses social media. My fiancé has zero social media accounts and I have an Instagram account that is locked down with only like 70 followers, mainly family.

            I know this makes us the minority among our generation, but there must be other millenials like us…right?

          • Amy March

            I think there are lots of people who do this; and also that you have an Instagram with 70 followers, so yes. You are a person who uses social media.

  • Alex K

    I am a bit confused. Did you ask for no photos during the ceremony or don’t post pictures of the brides? I think you asked for no photos to be taken during the ceremony. If that is the case, you 100% should ask people to take down ceremony pictures. But I don’t think it is fair to ask people to take down dancing and other reception photos. You told people no ceremony photos…and that’s what you should get. I personally wouldn’t hear “no ceremony photos” and “no photos of intimate moment.”

    • Alex K

      Ack… that should read.. I personally wouldn’t hear “no ceremony photos” as “no photos of intimate moments.”

      iPhone typing is a skill y’all.

    • Katharine Parker

      I also don’t have a clear sense of what “no photos of intimate moments” means to the couple. I don’t think of weddings as intimate–personal, special, intense, emotional, sure, but also public, so the “intimate” qualifier leaves me unsure of what is being asked. I would respect a friend asking me not to post photos, but I would like more specifics than “of intimate moments” in order to know that I was following their wishes.

      • Sara

        Yeah, I wouldn’t read that status and assume they’re talking about the first dance I may have taken. I would assume they’re talking about the ceremony picture someone else posted.

      • Jess

        I would have no idea what to do with a phrase like that. Does that mean like, don’t show a photo of the brides dancing up on each other? Holding hands? Photos of their parents looking at them fondly? Two great-aunts having a laugh over some whiskey?

        I wouldn’t know what they meant by that.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I agree that I wouldn’t have understood that intention as a guest, but I also think it’s ok to ask people to take photos down if you don’t want them up. Even if you didn’t give a proper warning in advance. You can’t control your online presence entirely, but I think at least with your close friends you have a say. It’s just a matter of asking them to be taken down without accusing them of violating your privacy, which I agree they didn’t really do.

      • MDBethann

        I agree. I have explicitly asked people to take down pictures of my daughter; she’s a toddler and I don’t want her pictures shared publicly online. I do have a limited distribution FB album for her because our family is very dispersed across the country, but I have zero qualms about asking people to remove personal photos or information about my family from Facebook or other social media, especially if they posted it without asking. When photos are made public and involve other people that aren’t you, it’s the polite thing to do to ask first, no matter what the photo event is. For job or other reasons, people may not want their photos all over the internet, especially public spaces. That should be respected, no matter the event or reason.

        • Amy March

          I agree that you should respect a request. I don’t agree that it is impolite not to ask first.

        • MDBethann

          I think with minors it is very important to ask first. Schools, daycares and other orgs all have waiver/permission forms regarding pictures of children and whether guardians consent to the public display of a child’s photo. I’m not talking about adults. But minors can be put at all sorts of risks if their photos are public and the guardians ahould always be asked. A friend might be aware of custody or other family issues that an online picture mig picture exacerbate. For example, a daycare i worked at in the 90s had to install coded doors before they were the norm because there was a nasty custody situation and the mom was worried that dad would take the child to dad’s home country. An extreme case, I know, but to this day it gives me pause before posting anything involving others without their permission.

          • Amy March

            Oh just kids? I don’t disagree wit you on that.

  • Amy March

    There’s nothing necessarily private or intimate about a first dance that you perform in front of 85 people though. I don’t think you made any request about this, let alone a clear one. The “please be considerate of intimate moments when you post” does not provide any guidance to your friends who reasonably have a very different understanding of intimate than you.

    I think for the #technically friend this is a good opportunity for a phone call that says “please take that photo down, and also you’re my friend. Please don’t ignore my wishes on a technicality.” For the rest of them though, quite simply no. There is no expectation whatsoever that people need to ask before they post.

    • penguin

      It doesn’t sound like she requested no photos posted of the reception, so I can see why people would post some pictures from that. I’d be pretty pissed about the ceremony picture, they obviously knew they were posting something that the couple didn’t want posted, and went ahead and did it anyway.

    • Enh, I don’t think her friends did anything wrong (besides technically, obvi) but I also don’t think there’s a problem with her asking them to take pictures of her down. Like, I’ve had people ask me to take picture’s down because they didn’t think the angle was flattering, I don’t think it’s out of line to ask a friend to remove a picture of you that you feel uncomfortable with.

      • Amy March

        I don’t disagree with that- I just think she’s wrong that there is any expectation they should ask or that they were out of line. I’m fine with nicely asking them to take them down just for personal preference.

        • Oh, sorry I mis-read. Yes, definitely with you that they were not out of line :)

    • SLG

      I agree that plenty of people wouldn’t think “please be considerate of intimate moments” was a blanket prohibition of posting photos of the first dance — you are, after all, doing it in front of 85 people.

      That said, it’s quite possible that those are the ONLY 85 people you wanted to see that — and if you consider that intimate, it’s intimate for you. And if that’s the case, you should make it clear to everyone: “Please don’t post any photos of the wedding couple on social media, including photos from the reception. These moments are only for our guests who are present with us.”

      … or something to that effect. I’d probably wordsmith it a bit more, but it should be clear.

      (And OP, as someone who definitely wouldn’t want photos of my wedding on the social medias, I feel your pain!)

  • NolaJael

    I think if you are such a private person that your skin crawls at the idea of pictures of totally normal wedding events being online then you should probably opt for an elopement. You invited people to your wedding. People, in 2017, post things online about their lives — where they are, what they ate, who they were with — every. single. day.

    But also, you’re not on Facebook, so maybe stop lurking through your partner’s account? It’s not your thing, so don’t do it?

    • sofar

      Way harsh, but … I kind of agree with you? (With a disclaimer that the *technically* friends is kind of clueless).

      And I say this as a bride who LOATHED the idea of our wedding photos on social media (and strong-armed my mom away from doing a giant photo dump on FB the day we got our photo flashdrive from our photographer). I also set my FB so that nobody could tag me without my permission because I did not want my profile full of awkward wedding photos taken of me eating/dancing. But awkward photos ended up all over (with my husband tagged in them) and pictures clogged up my feed for days as friends posted stuff.

      People sharing events they attend is a social norm now (like it or not). If you don’t put a VERY clear disclaimer on the invitation/signage that says, “Please do not post ANY photos of the brides at this wedding ANYWHERE,” then, well … photos of you on the internet is a thing that will happen.

      Obviously, LW can ask people to take the photos down. But I’d be very careful about accusing people of posting your “intimate” moments. Maybe just say, “Hey, I’m getting some grief from family I didn’t invite to my wedding because they found this photo on FB. Could you delete it, untag my wife, or maybe set it so that it’s visible to your friends only? I’m worried other relatives will see it and react.” Someday, down the line, you may do something with the best of intentions that inadvertently pisses someone off. Would you want them to tell you were being “inconsiderate?” Or give you the benefit of the doubt?

      • Amy March

        Or skip the lie and just say “hey I’d rather there not be photos of me at the wedding online, would you mind taking it down.”

      • NolaJael

        Same. I’m not super photogenic and we had an unplugged ceremony, but as for the rest of it, I knew that the choices were grin and bear it or make myself miserable trying to hold back the tide. I chose to make peace with it.

      • BSM

        We asked our immediate families to hold off on posting photos until we did because we wanted to get our pro ones out there before a bunch of, ahem, candids were floating around Facebook.

        That seemed to be pretty effective when we had to ask my SIL to take down a few right off the bat.

      • Her Lindsayship

        Re: “strong-armed my mom away from doing a giant photo dump on FB the day we got our photo flashdrive from our photographer” – we just got access to our online photo gallery for the wedding, and my normally-more-private-than-I-am husband was like, ‘we’ll just share the public gallery with everyone!!’ I didn’t care about people posting their own photos from the wedding, that just seemed inevitable. But for some reason, the professional photos feel more private to me. I have a lot of feelings, I may need to explore them in HH tomorrow, but I’m glad to see there are others who didn’t get their photos back and immediately want to share them with the world.

    • emmers

      I have an acquaintance whose husband lurks through her account and posts things as if he were her. It was especially bad around the election, and he posted a few anti-abortion, homophobic rants. It was super awkward when I sent her some long private messages about gay friends that I have, and how these posts were making me feel, and he replied.

      Just generally better if the person posting/using the platform is the person who has the account.

      And the privacy stuff is rough. I agree that if it’s that much of a sticking point, and elopement would be a good option, though I can understand feeling disappointed/hurt that your carefully planned “please don’t post” messages were ignored (or you at least felt like they were).

      • BSM

        Sooooo awkward. Did she know he was posting stuff like that?

        • emmers

          I’m assuming so, since it was through her account on on her wall. I think they both probably hold those views, he just is more vocal. Though in their case I guess she’s vocal too, at least by social media appearance!

    • Katharine Parker

      Yeah, “don’t look at facebook if you don’t want to get upset about what’s on facebook” is sort of “what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over” updated for 2017.

    • penguin

      I don’t think being anxious about having your wedding photos online should mean that you have to elope. If you want a wedding with your family and friends there, you should be able to have that. People should respect requests not to post photos of you online.

      • Violet

        Probably because I’m a more-than-average-private-person, I agree with you. Back in the day, you could have your phone number unlisted. Pictures of you were only distributed as far as people who got together in person to look over snapshots. Now just because I want to celebrate getting married with friends and family, I have to be subjected to my image reaching probably thousands of people (if privacy settings the poster uses are either Friends-of-Friends or Public)? All because it’s 2017? Just because the times change doesn’t mean all people do. I’m just not ready to give up on finding a middle path between letting everything hang out for the world to see or eloping.

        • NolaJael

          Phone check maybe? Like a coat check? :)

          • Alli

            Some concerts require locked phone case things now lol

          • Sara

            That happened to me at a talk show screening I went to. Not a crazy idea!

          • Violet

            Ha! I think that would be a hard one- phones are still phones after all, and some people are VERY attached to them. They might even have a capital R Reason for needing to be near their phone at all times, despite the fact that within recent memory, no one other than surgeons were constantly accessible, and we somehow all survived. I think you’d get major pushback essentially confiscating phones.

          • penguin

            I’d respect a request not to post photos of someone else, but I would be VERY reluctant to give up my phone. What if they lost or damaged it? What if someone actually urgently needed to get ahold of me? And other reasons, like I don’t wanna put my phone in the basket.

          • louise danger

            it puts the cell phone in the basket /silence of the lambs

            OR everyone complies and puts the phone away but someone accidentally/on purpose leaves the ringer on and then no one can find the correct phone during the ceremony #nightmarefuel

          • penguin

            I could totally see that happening. Or great aunt Mildred then pulls out her iPad for photos and goes “What? It isn’t a phone!”

          • Ha!

          • Right, I think if you do this you need to warn people very loudly WELL ahead of time. If I walked into a wedding with a surprise phone check I’d almost certainly refuse.

          • Jan

            Fuck no, I wouldn’t give up my phone. Not because I need to be on it all the time, but because it’s mine, not yours, and just because you’re hosting something doesn’t mean you get to decide what happens to my possessions. I went to a play one time that confiscated my phone and I gave in because I felt pressured (during my ex’s very difficult deployment, and he would call at unexpected times). I was pissed, and it was just annoying overall.

          • Amy March

            Expectations have changed though. I don’t think it’s fair to say that just because you used to not need your phone you can’t possibly legitimately need it now.

          • Violet

            Yeah, which is why I’m saying going this route would receive major pushback.

          • JR

            Agreed – if I knew in advance that I wouldn’t have access to my phone for my some period of time, and I could let my babysitter know, that would be fine. But if it was sprung on me last minute, I would be worried about her trying to aske a question about bedtime or whatever and be waiting for my response. I would have been way more okay with being phone-less before having kids, but now, if I’m away from them, I really want to be accessible (and to be able to scan my texts, or lack thereof, as confirmation that everything is going ok).

          • jem

            I’ve heard of this happening at comedy shows, actually

          • Megan

            Celebs do this at their weddings.

        • AP

          “All because it’s 2017? Just because the times change doesn’t mean all people do. I’m just not ready to give up on finding a middle path between letting everything hang out for the world to see or eloping.”

          Exactly.

        • e.e.hersh

          I totally hear you on the sadness about how there’s not a reasonable expectation of privacy anymore… but I do think it’s true that the majority of people have changed and there’s no going back. If someone decides to make something about you public without your consent, what can you actually do about it (assuming they ignore personal requests to remove it)?

          There is very hardly a middle ground anymore. It almost feels like you have to take unabomber measures to get off the grid… I am totally worried about this for my kid as he grows up.

          • Violet

            Agreed. It really feels like the tide has turned, and that’s that. Hell, there still aren’t even enough laws about revenge porn on the books yet, let alone people posting non-intimate (in the sexually-explicit way) photos without consent.

        • quiet000001

          I think you don’t have to give up and elope, but you probably do have to be more pushy than normal manners would like and set very clear boundaries with your people, and ask people to try to enforce it.

          • Violet

            Agreed.

      • Agreed. I think the problem is it sounds like LW *didn’t* ask people not to post pictures, but asking people not to post pictures of you in a semi-public place is a perfectly reasonable request (one that will never have total compliance, but yano)

        • Pannorama

          But it does sound like they did ask people to not *take* photos (at the ceremony), which would mean that the “don’t share” request would be kind of moot.

          • Yeah ceremony-poster is wayyyyy out of line. I meant the the reception pics — Which I still think is fine for LW not to want posted, but there needed to be more clarity imo :)

      • NolaJael

        You’d have be very very very explicit about this and prepare for push back, I think, because you are sending mixed cultural messages. You’re wearing fancy clothes, asking guests to do the same, making the area pretty with flowers, decorations, etc. and then asking them NOT to take pictures which is something that is so habitual it’s almost done without thinking.

        • I think there’s a huge difference between asking people not to take pictures at all at your wedding (like you said, fancy clothes & a pretty place) and asking people not to take pictures of *you*. I could be wrong but it seems like the letter writer’s discomfort comes more from the latter to me.

      • S

        The idea that if you don’t like photos of yourself online that you haven’t agreed to, you shouldn’t celebrate your marriage with friends and family is genuinely offensive and bananas to me. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. And I am actually not that private a person and have no skin in this game!

  • e.e.hersh

    So this may be an unpopular opinion, but I feel a little like once you group people together, you just really can’t expect to control what’s posted, nor should you expect to. I mean, yes, you can TRY to tell people the ceremony is off-limits and you put a note in your program or confiscate phones… but things will still leak. People may still disregard your request or not understand its importance to you. That’s… just the age we live in? Yes, it sucks for normal people to not be able to expect a level of privacy, but really – what can you do? It’s like when writers/artists, etc. put something out to the world – once it’s out there, you just can’t control the people’s reaction or behavior. And a wedding is the public (even though it’s supposedly private – private just means it’s YOUR public). It’s an event. It’s out there. Really, the only way around is to elope or invite 3 off-the-grid people to your wedding. But I kinda feel like these days you need to just come to terms with the fact that even though you do your best to prevent it, someone’s Aunt WILL post a totally self-serving take on your beautiful and special day. People can kind of suck.

    • Amy March

      I think this makes a lot of sense. You can absolutely request this, but you should also know that you can’t guarantee perfection.

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      I expect this more from family than friends, though, to be honest. I’d be way more hurt if one of my good friends went against my requests. I guess this is because I *expect* family to be more self-serving when it comes to weddings in general because there’s more complex stuff going on in the background a lot of the time (they feel like they have more ownership or are entitled to the photos, for various right or usually wrong reasons).

      But with friends, I would feel like they must actually know me and my priorities, and should ostensibly care about them more than a rando auntie does, so why would they go against my direct wishes? Not that it’s a friendship ender or anything, but I’d definitely be more disappointed.

      • Violet

        I kinda feel the same. When my partner’s cousin showed up in a white dress to our wedding, I was kinda like, “Meh, whatever.” (She changed for the reception, by the way, so someone must’ve taken her aside. Her mom, I’m guessing.) If a friend had done that, I’d have felt differently. I expect my friends to actually care about me. Family might, but they might not.

      • e.e.hersh

        I hear you – and I’d be more disappointed with a friend, too. But I think we also all need to keep in mind that people’s social media use (even our friends!) is driven by… weird stuff that we usually don’t even know about. You know? Some people are using it to get back at an ex. Some are using it to make themselves feel better about a rough time, whatever. It isn’t always about you or what you hope/expect from your friends in portraying you. It’s about their totally individual and possibly nutso motivations for social media, which are probably not about you at all!

        • NolaJael

          YES. And social media is designed to manipulate users subconsciously into using it more (Discus platforms included!!). I think there is definitely a place for making requests and opting for unplugged ceremonies (I did), but we have to keep in mind there are big cultural forces out there. It could become just another opportunity for disappointment if you believe you can control something and find that’s not the case.

          • AP

            “I think there is definitely a place for making requests and opting for unplugged ceremonies (I did), but we have to keep in mind there are big cultural forces out there.”

            This is a fascinating point and good food for thought.

    • G.

      Agreed. I think it’s useful to remember that you’re *requesting* guests not do something, but you can’t actually *prohibit* them from doing it. In this context, a request will mitigate a flood of social media postings, but it won’t eliminate it. I think you have to be (or become) comfortable with that. And when people disregard your request, I think assuming good/innocent intentions rather than malicious/hurtful ones serves better in the long run. By all means, have a conversation with #technically friend if you want, but go into it with generosity rather than anger.

    • A wedding definitely isn’t public though. It’s a personal (aka private) event that usually happens to be heavily attended. Like, I’m all for accepting the reality that privacy post-social internet is never going to look the same as it did in, say, 1973. But that doesn’t mean that people can’t try to set boundaries on what aspects of their life are up for public consumption.

  • K. is skittish about disqus

    Ugh, and the worst part about the Ms. Technicallys of the world is that people who make “jokes” like that (while bulldozing your boundaries) also tend to be extra skilled in turning things like this around on “oversensitive” you. They were just being their cheeky, cute selves! Why are you taking them and the situation so seeeeeriously?? UGH. I’ve had to learn to pretty much just lean into being “oversensitive” with these folks…just basically, “Yup, I’m a big ol’ meanie. Take it the F down.”

    Hopefully since yours is a friend (and not, say, an in-law…) they’ll be rightfully mortified. But if not, here’s some extra validation that they’re the obnoxious one.

  • KestrelBee

    I totally feel you. Two weekends ago, we got married. Everything was wonderful and lovely. We asked for an unplugged ceremony. While we were waiting for the processional to start, we were in earshot, and heard our officiant tell everyone that we requested as such and that everyone put away their phones, cameras etc. A few days later, we found out that my husband’s uncle had filmed the ENTIRE ceremony. We were both furious. This is a pattern of behaviour for his family. We make a request, and if it doesn’t suit them, it is patently ignored. We both felt that it was very disrespectful (if not a surprise). We have tried talking to his family about this kind of thing before, but it seems to go in one ear and out the other. I have a feeling this is going to be a lifelong battle. The only saving grace, is that that part of the family is older and doesn’t use social media. Our friends, on the other hand, know how both of us feel about social media, and have kept our wedding off of it. Sorry for the rant. It’s still a little raw.

    • sofar

      AUUGHHHH. The worst part about weddings is when you say you want XYZ and patronizing assholes basically decide, “No they don’t know what they really want. This shitty video I’m going to take is going to be a family heirloom and they’ll thank me later!”

      • Lisa

        The most I usually do now is, if the couple doesn’t have a videographer, take a few videos of the couple, post them as private on YouTube, and share the links with the couple. If they want people to see the videos, they can share them, but otherwise, they have a few snaps of important wedding moments (first dance, cake cutting, speeches) that they might not otherwise have gotten.

        • louise danger

          do you do this with the couples’ consent? if not, do you do this even if they’ve asked people not to use cameras/devices during the ceremony? if not/if so, respectively, i’d be really hurt to find out, “posting privately on youtube” or not. :(

          • Lisa

            Hm, none of them have specifically asked for no phones at any of their ceremonies or receptions. In both cases it was a case of “we can’t afford to hire a videographer and are sad about that,” they were very close friends, and the couple was enthusiastic about the videos I had shared. I would not take videos if someone expressly asked for no phones/no photo sharing.

          • penguin

            Ah that’s different than what I was thinking, I’m glad they were enthusiastic about it. My fiancé and I aren’t getting a videographer specifically because we don’t WANT any videos.

          • Lisa

            Definitely if I knew the couple was not into having their photo taken, I would not take the videos or share them. I’d also hope that, given our level of closeness, they would have told me that they didn’t appreciate being taped and ask me nicely to remove/delete the videos.

  • Meredith

    Maybe I’m inconsiderate, but the only time I have ever asked a friend if I could post a certain picture, was if it was of their baby.
    I think the #loveisloveislove is a bit much though, it feels like she was just exploiting your wedding to look woke ? Maybe. Like maybe friends should see beyond labels like that?

    • Amy March

      I think that’s one way to look at it, but also the most negative possible light. Which may or may not be justified depending on the friend.

    • Katharine Parker

      Agreed that asking before posting photos of kids is as far as I would expect anyone to go.

      • PLEASE always ask people before you post a picture of their kid, in a public (not FB way). That’s pretty standard practice, thank goodness.

        • Katharine Parker

          That is what I’m saying–I expect to ask before posting photos of a kid, not of anything else.

    • Ashlah

      The hashtag felt icky to me too, particularly when combined with ignoring her friends’ wishes regarding not taking photos of the ceremony. Whatever the friend intended, it comes across as though she just had to break the rule because it was so important for her to share that she was at a gay wedding. And Amy March is right that that is certainly the most negative way to look at it, and might not be accurate–maybe she was just legitimately excited and really didn’t think it would bother the brides. But I can understand if that is also part of what upset the LW about the post (she doesn’t really make it clear in her letter).

    • toomanybooks

      Yes, I hate the “love is love (is love)” slogan, it feels super fake to me, I didn’t care about people posting to social media but I did warn ahead of time that I didn’t want that hashtag on our photos. It definitely makes it look like the friend was trying to make an empty political statement.

  • Sara

    I would be furious at the ‘technically’ friend, but I feel like anything at the reception is probably fair game. I get that it feels intimate to you, but most people see anything on the dance floor as a photo opportunity or pretty much anything at the reception that’s ceremonial (cake cutting, speeches, etc). The ceremony is generally seen as something private and sacred but the reception is more a party atmosphere so I feel like lines are blurred there.
    But if you specifically asked for nothing to be shown from the ceremony, I’d start asking people take that shit down.

    • Violet

      I’m with you on the distinction between the ceremony and the party that follows.

  • ManderGimlet

    Definitely agree that the “technically” person was rude, but I would find out exactly what kind of messaging your guests received before unleashing. If I was told “No phones” at the ceremony, I would assume that I should not take pictures during the ceremony. That’s it, that’s the only directive I take from that. If I was told “no social media during the wedding” I would take that as do not post to social media during the wedding ceremony or reception. But it would definitely never occur to me to never post any of the pictures, and I would be truly flabbergasted if the pictures that were the most offensive were the ones of the bride and groom at the reception. Like, they are the reason I am there. I would find it super weird if a friend posted a bunch of pictures of my wedding with only themselves and other people but did not include any of me or my spouse?

  • AP

    I think “if you don’t want to be on the internet, don’t have a wedding” is a bit harsh…like, these are our options? As a private person, this makes me really sad and kind of bewildered that this is now the accepted norm. Like expectations of a certain amount of privacy are unreasonable, and this is just the way the world is now so deal with it?

    I realize I’m in the minority on this here, but LW I have total sympathy for you. I also had a “no social media” policy at my ceremony, and my guests were respectful of that. I had reasons for this, including family I didn’t invite and a stalker ex-husband, but I believe any reason you give should be enough. I’d have been just as upset as you had one of them posted something in total disregard for my wishes and feelings. I had a separate reception a few weeks later that I thought of more like a party, and for that I let guests snap and post away. But I cherish that our ceremony was just for us and not for public consumption.

    • Did you actually say “don’t post anything on social media” or did you leave it to your guests to interpret? For me, that’s the crux of this question – how explicit was the LW in their request? Just saying “we’re unplugging!” isn’t enough for most folks.

      • AP

        I agree, you definitely can’t expect folks to read your mind. We asked people to put away their phones during the ceremony and not to post the ceremony on social media. I was told one relative started to get out her iPad during our vows and my mom, who was standing next to her, shut that down (she was an awesome enforcer!) I also asked our photographer not to tag us in anything she posted on her business page from our wedding.

    • Violet

      I’ve got this crazy theory that there aren’t a lot of advocates for the Fourth Amendment because everyone who would advocate for it wants to avoid the limelight. Which is how we’ve essentially ended up with TSA “officers” (ha, they get no “officer” training) going through our belongings without any probable cause. But we all just want to get to Hawaii, so who cares?
      I know friends are not the government, so it’s not the same thing. But yeah, it feels like everyone who’s pro-privacy tend to be quieter, therefore no one either a. realizes we’re upset or b. gives a damn, because they’ve already won the majority vote of socially acceptable behavior so we should just get over it. Arg.

      • AP

        I mean, yeah. I have an overall problem with how we’ve ceded our privacy as a society, and that has a lot to do with how I feel about having my private moments shared on the internet. Also what/how I’m going to share about my future child. I feel like I got to live my childhood out of public view, why shouldn’t my child be afforded that same freedom? Anyway, can of worms, I know…

      • Katharine Parker

        But weddings aren’t private. You don’t have an expectation of privacy at an event that is essentially a government institution, to which you have invited guests, that often occurs at sites that are varying levels of open to the public at large. For example, traditionally, anyone can attend church weddings, which I recognize is not everyone’s tradition or current wedding experience, but I use it to suggest that there’s an idea that we’re losing some idea of privacy that is actually pretty new.

        This isn’t to say you can’t request no ceremony photos on social media, but the privacy elements aren’t totally cut and dried.

        • Violet

          Anytime you’re in a public place, someone is legally allowed to take your picture, this is true. That law was passed before essentially Everyone had a camera in their pocket, and when you could tell someone was taking a picture because they used a camera. Versus now– are they facetiming, looking at their texts, etc? Weddings require an invitation to attend- legally they are public, but interpersonally, they are private. This LW is feeling betrayed by a friend, which is why I’m saying I know the legal aspects are not the same as the friendship ones.

          • Katharine Parker

            I think, even interpersonally, they’re not private. It’s a community event. So if you want to establish certain boundaries–no photos on social media, no phone/camera use during the ceremony–you have to be really clear with people of your expectations.

          • Violet

            No disagreement from me that you’d have to be very explicit about not posting- but I disagree that weddings are public just because there’s more than one person there.

          • I think the “community event” delineation is a good one, but people impose rules and guidelines (that they wouldn’t be able to with truly public events) on community events all the time ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

          • Violet

            Right- if you’ve ever gotten an invitation that specifies general guest attire and didn’t balk at it, then saying you’re flabbergast at being asked not to post photos of a ceremony is just a bit inconsistent.

        • AP

          But there’s a difference between a couple of people chancing upon your wedding at a church or a park and the thousands of ‘friends of friends’ who see your wedding photos posted online. Maybe expectations of complete privacy aren’t realistic, but I think wanting to limit the size and scope of the audience is.

          • But even “back in the day” you couldn’t control something like that. We have plenty of family photos from other peoples’ events from 25+yrs ago. I’m essentially a stranger to those people, yet I can see photos of them from their wedding/other family event and they would never know. They don’t know if I’ve taken it to work and posted it for everyone in my office to see, or if I’ve posted it in some other public place.

            I guess I don’t understand how this is any different from how we used to share photos, except now we have an actual idea of the potential number of people that could see the photo if it’s on social media.

          • Violet

            Cause there’s no way it could reach the same level of numbers, and now distribution is way easier with simple sharing, email attachments, copy and paste. It just is, by an order of magnitude. It’s a difference of degree, not of kind. But that difference of degree is massive.

          • BSM

            And I would argue that the difference in degree breeds the environment for it to be more nefarious in kind.

            Like the person pretending to be me on Facebook that Facebook will not remove…

          • penguin

            Wow! That’s terrible. I wonder how Facebook would confirm that they aren’t really you? They should take it down though once they confirm. (Should as in, I think it would be right for them to, I don’t know if they actually will)

          • Katharine Parker

            Posting something at work of someone else’s wedding, yes, seems unlikely and weird. But what if @Jubilance:disqus donated those photos to a local historical society? They could then end up anywhere–back up on social media, in an exhibit, in a documentary, in a coffee table book, etc., with a broader reach than your cousin’s facebook.

            I’m playing devil’s advocate with this one, but along with change there is also continuity.

          • AP

            I’d argue that if that were the case, you might consider asking the person whose event you’d attended if it’s ok to give photos from their event to a historical society, especially if they’re in the photos too. Seems like you might give everyone in the photos a heads-up that they’re about to go public in a bigger way than they’d been intended.

          • JR

            For photo releases, that’s only if you’re using the photos for commercial use (like, making money on them). News organizations don’t no need permission to use a picture of you, if it’s news.

          • AP

            Maybe it’s the type of nonprofit work I’ve always done, but I’ve always obtained consent from participants in our events and services before even taking their photos. I guess we’ve gone above what we’ve needed to legally. It’s more about respect and expectations of privacy for people.

          • Violet

            Again, difference of degree. The odds that your pic will make it into the Cheers opening credits long after you’re dead- miniscule. The odds that a random pic of me has already been seen by thousands- highly likely.

          • Katharine Parker

            In the Cheers intro–unlikely. But depending on the historical society, getting some level of attention from strangers is probable. Someone will look through those archives. And unless your family and friends are “influencers,” the idea that thousands of people are looking at the wedding photos they post also seems unlikely. Hundreds? Sure. But expecting thousands of views is pushing it, beyond some level of viral-ness/influencer-status.

            But I wonder if this doesn’t expose part of the issue at hand–if you don’t want wedding photos posted, it actually doesn’t matter how many people see it. Because a lot of the photos that are being posted are not getting major views. Most stuff on fb/insta/snap/twitter doesn’t get major views. But the principle for people who don’t want it posted is that they don’t want it posted, whatever its reception is. So being like, “so many people can see it” is irrelevant.

          • Violet

            I’m responding to Jubilance inquiring if there’s any difference between a hard copy photo album and a photo shared on Facebook (where if that person has 100 friends, and each of those 100 have just ten friends each, we’re now at a thousand, so yeah, very easy to get there, even if you’re not a Kardashian). Fine, in the highly unlikely scenario that your photo makes it into a historical society archive, you’re going to have a lot of people see it. But can we all at least acknowledge that is a way less common occurrence than a photo on Facebook being viewed by hundreds or thousands? Which happens, like every day to millions of people?

          • Katharine Parker

            You’re assuming that the photo shared on facebook is with photo privacy of “friends of friends” (possible, although not automatic) and that every one of those friends looks at the photo. That is not how social media engagement works! Getting a thousand views on one image is a lot. Just because a thousand people could see a photo does not mean that they will see it.

            But even so, I’m posing the question: does it matter? Is your aunt who has 15 fb friends posting a photo different that your cousin who has 6000 insta followers? The hand-wringing over “thousands could see it” just seems a little excessive, when it is much more likely that many fewer people will see it. To be clear, I think people have the right to request that the photos not be posted either way.

          • Violet

            Honestly, mainly what I see now when I log in is pictures of people whom I’ve never met. So obviously the setting of Friends of Friends is fairly common in my circle of acquaintances. I cannot see how the numbers shake out such that it is just as likely a hard copy photo is seen as much as one that can be shared electronically. We can quibble over friends of friends settings or whatever; I’m never going to agree because the numbers just don’t add up to me.
            I was responding to Jubilance’s idea. To your question, the sheer numbers matter to me, but only to a degree. Is my main issue with my image being posted on social media one of numbers? No, it’s not. Is it a factor? I guess.
            With my job, it’s important that personal information about me not be publicly available. The higher the numbers/exposure, the more likely my private info will get to people it really shouldn’t. So it’s part of the story, but not the whole thing. I can’t speak for other people’s reasoning,

          • Exactly my point. At the end of the day, you don’t know what could happen to those photos. I’ve heard stories of people who worked at photo development places, who would make copies of the photos that people dropped off to have developed, and the person dropping off would be none the wiser.

            Granted I’m a social media fan, but I strongly dislike this hand wringing and painting of social media as some vile thing.

          • Violet

            Not saying it’s vile. Just saying it’s a numbers thing. What you’re describing is still objectively way less common than however many million active users FB has.

          • Lisa

            I don’t think anyone is bashing social media or the people who use it; some people are more private than others and prefer to keep their images off those sites for personal reasons, which is a choice friends and family should hopefully respect if it’s stated explicitly.

          • rg223

            Aren’t most or all of the people in a historical society’s photos dead though? I’m not sure it’s a logical comparison if the photo-sharing is THAT far into the future.

          • Katharine Parker

            Sure, and there are definitely differences between a wedding from 1917 being posted by a historical society’s instagram and your cousin posting your wedding from last week. I wasn’t using it as an exact comparison, but trying to probe at our ideas of what expectations of privacy do we have and what is the extent of them.

            I have a knee-jerk reaction to whenever someone is like, “in the past it was so different!” because usually, it was different in some ways and in other ways it wasn’t, a la McLuhan’s tetrad of analysis.

          • rg223

            Sure, I just don’t agree that ease of photo-sharing and people’s ability to see a stranger’s personal photos is one of the things that have stayed the same.

          • penguin

            Right, but if you took in photos of someone else’s wedding to your work and tacked them up everywhere, people would think that was super weird. But if you share something on social media, that’s considered pretty normal now, and a lot more people can see it.

          • AP

            I mean, you *could* take photos of a stranger’s wedding to your work and show them to your colleagues…but really, *would* you? I’d say the expectation that you wouldn’t do that is pretty reasonable, because that’s not the accepted norm. It’s easier than ever to share photos, so much so that it’s now the accepted norm, but I don’t think that means our expectations of privacy have to change along with that.

          • But how is taking it to work any different than me leaving my photo album out on my coffee table? Everyone that comes to my house has the ability to open it and see photos of other peoples’ “private” events. I think the assumption is that no one ever saw someone else’s photos back in the day, and that’s just not true. Heck, I’ve seen peoples’ photos at garage sales and whatnot. I just don’t see how social media is driving different behavior – there has always been potential to “eavesdrop” on someone else’s event via photo/video since those mediums existed.

          • AP

            Well, if you don’t see the difference between a photo album on your coffee table in your private home, viewed by those you invite in, and those same photos being shared by your family and friends on the internet, then by all means let people take photos of your wedding ceremony and share them online. The point I’m making is that I *do* see a difference, both in the reach and scope of the audience as well as in society’s changing expectations around what’s considered “private” and what information people feel they’re entitled to know about others. We can agree to disagree on this one.

          • Right, but photos in your photo album are different than “someone posted my wedding photos on IG without my permission, and now they’re on Buzzfeed and have gotten 1 million views,” which is a very real thing that happens.

            I mean, obviously, I use me some social media. I just think it’s fair to say it’s different, and fair to request privacy, if you want it.

          • Trinity

            This is exactly why I don’t post ANY photos of my child on social media. I would hate for her to go viral somehow, or have her photo used in some unpleasant way, before she’s even conscious of the concept of privacy.

          • SLG

            Yup. I am a pretty private person (hello no Disqus account), and a photo of my wedding program ended up on Buzzfeed. I have no idea who took the photo or what winding path it took to end up there. Thankfully only first names were shown, but in different circumstances I can imagine that having a very bad outcome.

          • I mean, I think there is a very big difference between snapshots, and posting something on the internet where it is 100% public, and you lose all control of where it might end up. And wedding pictures go viral regularly, so this isn’t really a hypothetical.

        • Weddings are private EVENTS. They’re not public parties. While I agree people will post pictures unless asked not to, of COURSE you can ask people not to post pictures. And I’d hope that anyone you’d invited to a private event you were hosting would respect your clearly stated wishes.

          And sure, people who attended a church used to be invited to weddings. But we also used to have a functional assumption of privacy unless we were say, doing a newspaper interview. We didn’t all act like members of the press. So we are very much losing an idea of privacy that we’ve always had.

          But yes, they do have to be clearly stated.

          • Katharine Parker

            I’ve said repeatedly in these comments that you can ask people not to post photos and guests should respect that. I still disagree that weddings are private–the reception is a private party, sure, but the ceremony is traditionally public. It’s a public recognition of a relationship. I’m also not referring to members of a church being invited. I’m referring to anyone, congregants or not, strangers or not, being able to walk past a church on Saturday morning, see a wedding was happening, and sit down to watch. This happened at my parents’ wedding thirty years ago. I’ve done this at European churches in the past ten years. Again, I recognize that it isn’t in everyone’s wedding tradition, but I use it to say that the idea of the ceremony being a private event is not universal.

          • penguin

            Although the ceremony isn’t always in a church or other public place – it can be at home or at a banquet hall or something else. I’d consider it a private event, unless you were purposely holding it in a very public place (like in a park or something).

      • Amy March

        RIP Justice Scalia.

    • sofar

      I think the trick here is the clarity. I like to think I’m an overall considerate person, but if I saw a sign that said, “Unplugged ceremony,” I still might snap a shot of the bride and groom cutting the cake at the reception. These days, I don’t post much, but 5 years ago I might have put it on social media with a hash-tag.

      It seems the LW wanted no photos of the ceremony or reception. And, the world being what it is, I think that calls for a MUCH clearer sign that says, “Please do not post any pictures from tonight on any social media platforms” and asked close friends/family to enforce that. An insert in the wedding invitation may also be necessary. For example: “We ask that you honor our request that no photos from the ceremony or reception be posted to any social media platform.”

    • Lisa

      This was what I was thinking. I agree that the celebrant may have needed to be clearer depending on the wording of the LW’s request, but if someone says, “Hey, please don’t put pictures of this event/me on social media,” you should expect your friends and family to comply. They don’t know your life and reasons better than you. I’m sure the LW would have said it if this was the case, but I’ve known people with stalkers who had to curtail ANY presence of themselves on social media because the stalkers were that good at sussing out even un-tagged pictures of them. If someone says they don’t want something on-line, it’s not the beginning of a negotiation.

      • penguin

        Right, agreed. I’m not inviting my mother to my wedding, and she’s on Facebook and friends with most of my extended family. I’d really rather not have pictures of my wedding ceremony up at all, and I especially wouldn’t want her to see them. It may still happen, but I’d really rather it didn’t.

    • Katharine Parker

      I think you can request that people not take photos during the ceremony and request that there be no social media posts from your wedding, but you have to be clear about that, and probably make that request in a few ways–write, “Please, no photos during the ceremony and refrain from posting photos of the wedding couple on social media,” in the program, have the officiant state it, maybe have a little sign at the reception, and tell people ahead of time when they ask about your wedding hashtag. Also, people might still slip up and you may have to request that they take something down. Requesting an unplugged ceremony is not making clear that you don’t want photos from your wedding on social media.

      • AP

        Yeah, it seems like the issue most people have with the LW is that her expectations weren’t clearly spelled out to the guests. And I get that. This is the world we live in, and if you’re pushing against the tide then it’s on you to be clear, firm, and expect pushback. But I don’t think her expectations are out of line, and it’s unfortunate that this has happened to her.

        • Amandalikeshummus

          I agree with you. If someone clearly says, “Please don’t put my face on the internet,” that request is not out of line. “Please don’t put your face at my wedding on the internet” would be out of line. But I think LW, had she been explicit, would have been well within her rights to ask that the first dance ect not be posted.

          • AP

            Definitely.

    • Girl, I mean, I’m with you. OF COURSE you don’t have to stop living your life if you don’t want parts of it on the internet. I’ve just learned to be super super clear on what my boundaries are. At my kids bris and naming, and our baby shower, we had a sign on the door that said “We love you, this is a private moment, please do not post photos on instagram.” DONE. In that case, we didn’t mind if photos made it to FB, so family could see them, but we wanted to make sure they were not on very public instagram. When people made mistakes, we asked them to take it down and everything was fine. If people had INTENTIONALLY posted photos when they knew we didn’t want them to, well, then, I would have been goddamn pissed, because that is not a friend thing to do.

      I mean, I have clear reasons. I have a public job, I have friends with public jobs, and I also have a private life. So there are things I want to keep off the internet, because, well, they’re private. But I think anyone can make exactly the same choices, as long as you’re clear about them with folks.

    • A.G. Russell

      I think it’s more “if you don’t want to be on the internet, don’t invite people who use the internet.” If you invite guests to your wedding, they are having their own experiences and may want to document them. I understand wanting small moments to stay small, I guess I’m just saying that there’s a wide variety of opinions on privacy out there. The most you can hope for is that the people around you share your particular view or at least will respect it if you ask.

  • rebecca

    People are weird assholes but it’s a lot easier to control your own behavior than their’s. We had an unplugged ceremony and maybe I’m being paranoid but I think people deliberately posted terrible (like eyes closed, out of focus, looking the opposite direction–they might as well be from a surveilance camera) pictures to spite us. So I just made myself untaggable and am taking a Facebook hiatus for the month of August. By the time I come back my newsfeed will all be people’s kids going off to school and I won’t see anything I don’t want to see. Ymmv, it doesn’t solve the root problem, but it’s the easiest way to control the amount of pain/wasted energy you have to experience because of this stuff.

    • penguin

      That’s weird that people would deliberate post bad pictures of you, how spiteful.

      • rebecca

        Yeah…I’m choosing to give them the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to stupidity or *really* wanting to post something and not being able to get a good shot. But like…if you took that bad of a pic of an avocado toast, there’s no way you’d put it on your feed.

        • penguin

          Right, exactly. I’m going to follow your lead and make me untaggable on Facebook before my wedding. It should help a bit at least.

          • Ashlah

            You might also want to prevent people from being allowed to post on your wall. I did that when we were in the process of sharing pregnancy news, so no one would out us on Facebook.

          • penguin

            I didn’t know you could do that! I learn so much from APW, I’ll do that as well!

    • 95% of the photos I take are out of focus (it’s a running gag now) so I often find myself sharing out of focus or otherwise bad pictures on social media, because they’re the best of the photos I took. Your eyes may be shut, but look how pretty the cherry blossom is framing the image! Your face may be blurry but your dress is crystal clear. Nobody’s looking in the same direction but my thumb isn’t in the photo, so it’s still a win.

      I suspect the photos may be especially bad because people were carrying a lingering “should I even be doing this” feeling post-ceremony (I assume these aren’t ceremony photos? Because that’s a whole extra level of deliberate arsehole) that meant they were trying to be “subtle” in that way where (a) it’s super unsubtle and (b) you just can’t take a good photo without taking your phone out of your bag even if you’re a superspy. So, um. They may be bad photos, but they may also be the best photos? Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity :)

      • rebecca

        Yeah, I also got yelled at for my entire reception and had some unfathomably rude guests so that definitely colors my perception but in general, I agree with the sentiment.

  • louise danger

    i think it’s totally okay to ask people not to take pictures during the ceremony; it is, as you say, a sacred moment that you’ve chosen to share with the people who are present. i am sorry that your friend chose to ignore/loophole out of your request, and i hope you will ask your friend to remove the post from social media.

    i’m curious, though: would you ask them not to take pictures at a party? because your reception is a party, even if it’s a low-key party with board games and pizza rather than a glitzy fete with a live band and dinner and dancing. people always want pictures of celebrations! look at the walls of your parents’ house, at all the photos of waist-high you with a pointy hat and a fiery confection on the table in front of you: the reception just happens to be a spendier version of that – taller you, better millinery, bigger cake, candles quantity variable.

    i think it’s a little unreasonable to expect that literally no one will take/post a photo of you (singular or plural) at the reception, unless you’re going to go to secret-celebrity-wedding lengths of confiscating peoples’ phones and cameras at the door. asking them to hold off on sharing candids until you’ve had a chance to post the pro shots? mmm, maybe a better chance of success, but i still wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • I think this is a perfect example where you have to learn to be explicit with what you say, because everyone is not going to interpret things the way you do. I’m sure you thought that saying “don’t use your phone, be present in the moment” would be enough, but clearly not. Honestly, if I heard that, i wouldn’t think that was a prohibition on posting photos of the ceremony. Saying “please don’t post any photos from our ceremony on any social media” is a prohibition, and when someone violates that, it’s very clear. I don’t think you were 100% clear in your wording though.

    It’s totally ok to feel some type of way about the friend’s photo, and to ask them to take it down. I think it’s fair to ask someone take down photos of you & your spouse. Anything beyond that – like if a guest took a photo of themselves with your cake or something – is going too far.

    • Lisa

      This. At our wedding, we had multiple announcements asking guests to refrain from using phones and cameras during the ceremony so they could be present with us and honor the sanctity of the moment, but we hoped (and were pleased) to find photos from our reception on social media. I think that’s the typical interpretation. If the request was to be present with you, guests probably take that at face value and comply, and that doesn’t convey your thoughts on posting to social media after-the-fact. I would give the friend the benefit of the doubt if you weren’t explicit about your reasons, and just un-tag yourselves or explain those reasons nicely and ask them to remove the photos.

      • Megan

        Same! We had a “please be present and put your phone away” announcement at the ceremony and my cousin came up to me at the reception asking if she could put pics from the reception on FB. My response was “of course! We asked you not to take photos at the reception so we could see your smiling faces when we looked out at you instead of a hundred camera/phone lenses.”

    • Her Lindsayship

      This is exactly it – it’s hard to know how great a difference there is between what your default sharing tendencies are and what your friends’ are. If you don’t explicitly lay yours out, they’ll use their own. Sometimes they are unpredictable… like my in-laws interrupting the professional photographers we paid so they could take family portraits on their iPhones. We tried to tell them, “we’ll send you the professional ones! We have a lot of other portraits to take at the moment!” but they insisted, saying, “we want our own pictures, it’s better to have the private version.” I wish I had told them in advance not to do this, but I never would have guessed anyone would actually *prefer* to have a crappy iPhone photo and that they would interrupt a photographer I PAID on my wedding day to get it, but there you are.

  • Jess

    I have all kinds of opinions about this situation. For reference:

    1) I am a generally private person. I don’t mind sharing (IRL not in the social media sense) stories and events from my life with people I love, but I’m not very fond of other people sharing my stories with people I don’t know.
    2) I am not a great user of social media, and generally do not post photos or thoughts or really… anything at all?
    3) I married into a family with two very big social media sharers. I accept that when I am with them, anything is open for being posted. I’m not fond of it, but that’s who they are. I have friends who are the same.
    4) I was born into a family with a parent who took anything that happened to me or in my life, turned it into a story with the kind of narrative they wanted to tell, and shared it with basically anybody. I learned to be very careful what sorts of things I told that parent, and by extension, anybody.

    In this day and age, people experience events through photographing, posting, and commenting about them online. This is the society we live in. It sucks. We can ask people to be respectful, but in most cases (even when physical safety is a concern!) people truly believe it is their right to capture and share and talk about events they are a part of.

    Moments of great importance, like actual wedding ceremonies, we have the ability to make requests of other people. They can choose to honor it or not. Hopefully they understand and respect us enough to follow our requests.

    Because that request is not the default (in other words, no, most people I know would not consider asking you if it was ok to take/post a picture of a first dance), we have two options: 1) we can be very explicit about what we want & constantly remind people of that or 2) accept that this is the world we live in and decide what we involve other people in if we aren’t comfortable having it shared more broadly.

    Personally, I do a lot of #2, because I know that I can’t change people’s actions and living in a world of my dearest friends and people R holds close is more important than never having my face on the internet.

  • Pingback: How Mad Should I Be that Our Friends Ignored Our Request to Keep Our Wedding off Social Media? | Wedding Adviser()

  • Dana East

    Oh man. This happened to us, too–and not in 2017! We specifically asked for no photos, cameras, videos, etc. during the ceremony, and yet there is literally a video of the whole thing someone took, while standing in the middle of the aisle. But, now, a couple years out, I don’t really care as much.

    We also explicitly asked people not to smoke a ton of weed during our reception, since we don’t partake and that often means the dance floor empties out–leaving us on it. It turns out they did, and the dance floor did empty out for a bit, and one group even ended up doing a ton of coke in our bedroom and drinking an entire bottle of nice whiskey that had been a gift to my husband from a groomsman.

    I was pretty mad (and also super hurt) when I found out, but y’know, now? It doesn’t seem like such a big deal. In this case, “Technically” friend is a problem and I would talk to her. But also, for the rest, you are definitely within your rights to ask them to take things down–just maybe not angrily, since they really didn’t do anything wrong.

    And also know that with the passage of time, a lot of these enraged feelings may fade. All the super-high, happy, amazing feeling you have right now are wonderful, but the flipside of them is just as potent. All of it seems just…intense…right after. That’s why it’s good to escape, on a honeymoon, or an unplugged week at home or whatever! Because it’s a lot of muchness. You may find that your feelings about this fade–not because they are unreasonable (they are totally valid), but because that’s kind of what feelings do. It’s not that you’re wrong, it’s that people…are themselves, even at weddings (especially at weddings?), and in real life they don’t do what you want them to, either. Weddings aren’t really that different, even though we kind of are taught to expect they will be.

    Definitely ask for what you want in this situation, but also be aware that your hurt and anger–and maybe even anxiety–over it may fade a bit, and that’s okay too.

    • e.e.hersh

      I can’t decide whether the weed/coke/whiskey raucousness at your wedding sounds totally awful or totally amazing, but I definitely agree that feelings fade after the wedding intensity winds down. Thank goodness!

      • Dana East

        Yeah! I mean, I think my friends were thinking that too. Like, oh, she threw such a great party, we better keep the whiskey train (literally) pumping! And now I get that too–and since I got married “early” in my crew, I now get to attend all their weddings and make sure they have raucous parties and crazy stories, if they want them (they all seem to). But at the time? I definitely felt disrespected. Now it’s kind of…funny, and a reminder of our youthfulness at the time.

      • I mean it’s like Aunt Mildred always said… It isn’t really a wedding unless there is a bouquet toss, something blue, and a coke-and-stolen-whiskey train in the bedroom.

    • NolaJael

      Agree. A lot of the candid pictures of myself that I’ve seen I hated at the time, but later I was more fond of them.

      There’s a theme in the comments that the photo restrictions seem to either come from a place of deep privacy or control/vanity. The first definitely understandable and a tough situation. The second…will probably fade with time.

      • Dana East

        Yeah, I mean, I will admit that I am vain but it was definitely about privacy and presence for us–we wanted people to watch our ceremony, not record it (we shelled out money for a professional to do that for us). I don’t think there’s as much vanity/control as one might expect, and even if it were, people really should be respectful! But also, they aren’t. And feelings about that are valid. But also, they’ll probably fade a bit.

    • NotMotherTheresa

      Wait, what?!?!?!

      When I read the LW’s complaint, I was honestly sort of like “Meh, guests aren’t perfect. It’s fine to be a little annoyed, but no biggie.”

      On the other hand, stealing your bottle of whiskey and doing coke in your room?!?! That’s just an entirely different level of bad guest behavior, and I’m super ticked on your behalf!

      But yes, you are 100% correct about the fact that people are themselves at weddings, whether we want them to be or not. Guests who want to play on their phones are going to play on their phones. Guests who want to leave early are going to leave early. And you know, guests who want to do coke in the host’s room are going to do coke in the host’s room. Such is life, and such is weddings.

    • suchbrightlights

      Okay. New threshold for “it went wrong, but it could have been worse” is “it went wrong, but at least no one stole our whiskey and then did coke in our bedroom.”

      Good grief.

      I went to art school so the idea of mediating your life experience with pharmaceuticals is not new to me, but time and place, guys.

      Has the passage of time made this funny, or only faded the hurt?

      • Dana East

        Yeah, my friends are arty bohemian types too, and we live in Northern California where weed, especially, is just around–especially at parties. More so now than when we got married, but still. And it was a “technically” thing–I did ask them not to smoke weed, but I didn’t realize I had to specify every hard drug I didn’t want to be happening! Especially since I don’t actually do any of them–I’ll stick to one too many cocktails, thankyouverymuch.

        I definitely felt like I was “right” as in, justified, and they were in the wrong, which in a weird way helped. But I also stopped caring about that awhile ago, and now I do think it’s funny. Like, my wedding was so rock ‘n’ roll, the dance floor so awesome, the playlist so good, people thought maybe they were at the club! Or with the band! They forgot decorum because they were having SO MUCH FUN.

        • suchbrightlights

          New entry on the list of how wedding went right: “guests mistook wedding for concert, couple for rock band.”

          Viewed in that light, congratulations.

  • JR

    I think this is the risk of framing requests to put phones away as “so you can be present” – that’s trying to control someone else’s internal stare. The ceremony ends, the person assesses that, at this point, taking pictures won’t interfere with her present-ness, and starts snapping away. I suspect your friend knew she was crossing a line because of the “technically” comment, but I really can see how someone would interpret a request that’s motivated by “be present” as very strictly limited to the ceremony. If you don’t want your picture taken and/or posted, that’s of course totally your call and should be respected, but if that isn’t what you told people, I can see how they took the instructions you outlined in your letter very literally.

    • penguin

      Yeah I’d leave out any mentions of “so you can be present” and jump to saying explicitly what you want – no photos of your ceremony, no photos of you online.

    • toomanybooks

      Yeah, I’m not a big fan in general of the “being present” reasoning when it comes to a lot of wedding stuff (like no phones, no kids, whatever). Just say what you want. If people see “be present,” they can think “but my phone is HOW I’m being present, who are you to tell me what to do, you’re not my dad” idk

      • Ashlah

        I had someone tell me to put my phone away and enjoy the show at a concert once, and it irritated the hell out of me. I had already planned to just take a few photos or a short video (I don’t even remember) and put my phone away because I recognize that watching through a screen does take me out of the full experience. But I also know that I really enjoy looking back on media I captured. I wanted both, and random stranger at a concert doesn’t get to tell me the correct way to enjoy myself.

        That said, I think we might have been guilty of using the “be present” language before our ceremony? Three years ago, I thought it was a kinder, softer way of making the request, and now I see it differently.

    • laddibugg

      I think some people say ‘so you can be present’ because it’s a bit harsh to say ‘I don’t want to look over and see you looking at your damn phone’

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    To be clear, it’s not that I want to control everything posted from our wedding or that I don’t want people to share their moments of celebration! I would love to see selfies and people posting pictures of themselves with friends, or with one of the brides, etc.You kinda do, though. It’s not like you drew a clear line, like “No photos of the ceremony,” or “No pictured of the brides.” You’re expecting people to intuitively just know how you would feel about the intimacy level of each photo they might consider posting. “Feels intimate to one of the brides” is not a measurable unit, or a reasonable line to draw.

    • Jan

      Yeah, this is kind of how I feel. LW seems fine if someone posts a picture of themselves with a bride, but isn’t cool with pictures of both brides? Or is it just both brides during the typical wedding stuff (dancing, cake-cutting, etc)? This is sort of a strange boundary, particularly considering this is, you know, a wedding. The focal point is sort of on the two of you doing stuff together.

      • Lisa

        I took it to mean that staged photos were OK (the brides knew the photo was being taken and consented) but action shots were off-limits in the LW’s head (the brides going through any of the wedding day motions/traditions). Yes, it seems like a rather arbitrary line and one that would be difficult to communicate to guests. Much easier to say, “No photos of the ceremony. Photos during the reception are OK but don’t post to social media.” and be done with it.

        • Amandalikeshummus

          I’m cool with any rules, as long as they are explicit. I guess if it was too complicated to understand like, “You may only post pictures of times when the shadows are at a 45 degree angle and there is something yellow in the picture.” But assuming everything is in good faith, I’m going to do whatever I can to respect people’s wishes. Assuming I know unstated rules, though? I’m not a mind reader and don’t want to be.

          • AP

            Right- if the couple asks us to please post every pic we take using a special hashtag, I’ll do that too! For me it’s about respecting the couple’s wishes as best as I understand them. Being clear is key though.

          • “You may only post pictures of times when the shadows are at a 45 degree angle and there is something yellow in the picture.”

            That is so going to be my wedding photo rule.

            (actually, genuinely, it would be a fun way to make a game out of restrictions, a sort of photographic scavenger hunt. Try and get the following photos – the bride and something blue, the bridesmaids and cake, the parents of the couple and confetti, small children and the sunset…)

      • JR

        I took it to mean that they were okay with people sharing their own experiences at the wedding (I.e., pictures of themselves, no matter who/what else is in them), but they didn’t want the guests sharing pictures of the brides’ experience (pictures of the brides without the posting guest in them). But I think that underestimates how much the guests see the overall event as part of their own experience.

    • My reading of the letter, though, is that the LW wasn’t expecting folks to intuit her feelings. Instead, it sounds like even she was sort of surprised by how she feels now that the photos are up, and is just struggling to figure out her line.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Mmm, I think both things are true. She wasn’t expecting people to post the kinds of photos that feel personal to her, and so it surprised her when they did, and as a result of that she’s grappling with a bunch of uncomfortable feelings that she did not anticipate. She’s a private person, and I absolutely respect that, and I know how vulnerable and emotionally naked it can feel when someone else tells your private story to the world. Reading her list, though, she says “I wanted people to post A, B, and C, but I’m baffled that they posted X, Y, and Z because those are personal” and then communicates that complex idea to people with, “Please be considerate of intimate moments.” So pre-wedding she took for granted that people would feel the same way she would about things and act accordingly, and they didn’t, which is why she was completely blindsided and hurt. In the aftermath, the only yardstick their guests have going forward to decide whether their photos are ok to post is the word “intimate,” and that is super subjective.I do want to go on record and say that Technicality Guest is a dick, and I’m angry right along side her about that whole ish.

  • penguin

    Right after we’d gotten engaged, and we were still in the phase of telling people about it privately before doing a big Facebook announcement, we’d ask each person not to post anything about it on Facebook or social media yet. And every time, the reaction was something like “of course I won’t! How could you think I would! I don’t even HAVE a Facebook!” (yes you do, and you post on it all the time).

    I’m expecting a similar sort of thing when we ask people not to take photos of our wedding ceremony. I want it to be very clear, so it’ll be in the program, and probably on a sign, and the rabbi will make an announcement. But I also expect some people to be like “sheesh they think they’re celebrities or something?”, and I’m not looking forward to the snark. Hopefully we’ll be insulated from most of that because we’ll be busy getting married.

    • Violet

      Personally, I’ve found that being outside of the mainstream is easier with a DGAF attitude about other people’s snark. You’re subverting their expectations, they’ll naturally have their feelings about it, oh well. Best of luck!

    • AP

      The only snark I got was second-hand (“so-and-so doesn’t understand why she can’t take photos”) but generally people were understanding. I didn’t invite my dad or his side of the family, and that seemed to satisfy most folks who wondered why they couldn’t post. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, but I doubt you’ll get a lot of snark in any case! Fingers crossed anyway:)

  • Caroline

    Yes, definitely, politely ask friends to take down any photos of you you don’t want online. I think this is reasonable in all situations.

    And for future couples, I think being super specific is helpful. We repeated the same message on our website, in signs, in the program and from our rabbi:
    “Please turn off your phones to be present for ceremony which is a religious service.
    The groom is an intensely private person. Please do not share any photos of C or J on social media.
    We will share the photographer’s photos”.

    I think specifically asking people not to post to social media (as compared to just turning off their phones) specifically at the request of the groom helped people take our request seriously. (But some people still might decide their photographs are more important than your request because people are people).

  • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

    I would, very kindly, say that if you don’t want ANY photos of the ceremony or “events” posted on social media–pull a Beyonce and ask that people leave their phones at the door. Provide a phone number on the invites that people can reach if there’s an emergency. Otherwise, you can ask and hope that people respect your wishes–but not much else. If it bothers you that much, pull a Beyonce.

    • Amy March

      Unless you actually are Beyoncé, I don’t think this will go over well.

      • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

        Honestly, if someone refuses to attend your wedding because they can’t have their phone—they’re not there for you (at least not wholly). If there’s a real reason they need it (small child, family in crisis) sure. But otherwise, it shouldn’t be an issue (and I’m a small business owner who is GLUED to my phone). Tell people in advance of course.

        • Amy March

          Lots of people have real reasons. “They’re not there for you”?!? Ridiculous. You’re trying to be offended.

          • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

            I did say not wholly. I would like to know what the reasons could be (I’m currious). If someone needs their phone (and there are real reasons—parents, caregivers, family in surgery or quite ill) of course let them keep it–just talk to them about the photos. But I really can’t think of something not in that ball park where someone couldn’t leave their phone for 5 hours.

          • Amy March

            I mean if you srsly think it’s appropriate to interrogate your friends about doing something totally normal have at it. Good luck keeping them. For starters I’d expect every single parent invited to conclude you’re out of touch with reality.

          • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

            What is inappropriate about asking people to not use their phones for 5 hours? And if someone objects all they have to do is say “Small baby, babysitter, need my phone.” “Cool. Please don’t post photos of the day and be present with us.” Done.

          • Amy March

            But just ask everyone not to post photos? No one hates you, accomplishes the same goal.

          • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

            Sure. But as this letter clearly illustrates–that doesn’t always work. And if it bothers you on a deep level to have those moments shared—this is an option.

          • Amy March

            Not a good one. If this is how extremely important it is then I’m with the poster below. Elope.

          • Violet

            I mean, it’s an option insofar as when they program computers to find ways to kill cancer, one of the options computers devise is to kill the host. The human. I mean, I *guess* it’s an option, but it defeats the purpose of inviting people to your wedding if none of them are gonna show up because you’ve made it that restrictive.

          • SashaB

            My phone is a $700 device. There’s no reason for me to surrender my property. It’s my call if I want to know exactly when my elderly parents try to reach me or if my employees or clients are having meltdowns.

            A wedding doesn’t mean my hosts can dictate everything I watch or think or read for 5+ hours. If my host somehow managed to pry my phone from me, I wouldn’t be “present” during their ceremony. I’d be pissed and possibly anxious.

            If people don’t respect your wishes not to post on social media, address them. The other guests should be totally allowed to check their phones no matter whether or not their reason is as “valid” as having a sick child.

            If you want to take someone’s phone, put it on the invite. I’d happily RSVP “no”.

        • Violet

          Naw, I don’t think so. All it will take is for one guest to have a family member unexpectedly fall seriously ill during your ceremony….
          Look, I wouldn’t care. I don’t even own a smart phone, that’s how much I don’t care about being connected. But even I think this is harsh.

          • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

            Phone number for emergencies. It used to be done all the time. You could also ask people to simply delete Instagram ir Facebook from their phone for the wedding and ask that they not post anything after.

          • Violet

            K, so I’m going to my friend’s wedding, right? Am I to let all my friends and family know the emergency number on the off-chance someone I love falls seriously ill or is in a car accident for those hours? I’m gonna look bizarre. Also, what are the odds they’ll remember in this terrible emergency that I happen to be at my friend’s wedding? And who is this poor person manning the emergency phone line tasked with deciding what calls are worth interrupting the ceremony and which aren’t? Offer on a home? Job offer? Kid is puking but otherwise okay? Death only? How are guests going to feel when some calls are deemed important enough but not others? Oy. The headaches.
            Sorry, I just don’t think that’s a sufficient workaround.

          • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

            Anyone under the age of 30 will think you’re nuts. But that was what we used to do before cell phones. And it really did work. If someone called, the receptionist or hostess simply got the name of the person they wanted to speak with, found them, took them to a phone and they talked to whoever called. No judgement calls needed. It worked.

          • Violet

            It probably worked because it was more common, and the levels of discretion were more understood. But I can only see people now being confused by what this emergency line is for. You’re gonna possibly end up with multiple people getting called out of your ceremony to take a call, when if they had their phones they’d look down at the text, realize it could wait, and stay seated.
            As Amy March points out elsewhere, because we use phones differently now, lots of our behaviors have changed as a result. I used to be able to make plans with a friend a week in advance, show up to that place and time without a phone, and they’d be there within 5 minutes. It’s just not like that anymore. You’re gonna have a helluva time getting people to mentally go back in time to when they weren’t always accessible by phone. I don’t think it’s about them not “being there for the couple” or whatever, it’s just a mode of operating that is way rusty and therefore, liable to serious problems.

          • Ashlah

            FWIW, a lot of people over 30 would think you’re nuts too :) The world has changed, for better or worse.

          • FailBox

            I guess part of my confusion with this (and I am under 30, FWIW) is that there aren’t necessarily receptionists or hostesses available for that? My venue is very much just a venue (not a restaurant, not a hotel), and I’m pretty positive they don’t have extra staff just to answer the phone during an event… I don’t know if anyone would even answer the main number at night!

          • Ashlah

            I would find that to be quite a bizarre request. (The temporary app deletion, not the request not to post).

          • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

            Sure. The whole request is a bit odd. But if makes your loved one happy—roll with it. (It’s an imperfect solution, but a possible one)

          • Ashlah

            I guess I don’t think weddings give people a free pass to police people’s behaviors and belongings to that extent. Ask people not to photograph your wedding or post photos of you on social media? Sure. But take away their phone? Tell them to delete apps because you don’t trust how they’ll use them for a few hours? Nah. I don’t think throwing a wedding gives you a right to make those kinds of requests. Or, rather, you have the right to do whatever you want, but you have to know people will judge the hell out of you and possibly choose not to attend your wedding or follow your rules, regardless of how much they would otherwise want to be there for you.

    • Violet

      See, Beyonce can afford to buy new friends when she offends her pre-existing ones…

    • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

      Since this is unintentionally blowing up, a point of clarification:
      I do not think this is for everyone or a first solution. This is what I would say to a friend coming to me saying “I am DEEPLY uncomfortable with the idea of our wedding being shared on social media. It makes me feel icky and I don’t want it to happen.” This is not someone who wants an unplugged ceremony. This is someone who does not live their life online, and doesn’t want one of the most intimate moments of theirife shared there.
      It is not an easy option. It would require a small guest list, extra staff and an indoor ceremony. It requires LOTS of legwork before hand to talk with every guest and make sure they understood (and understood that if they needed their phone for some reason that was fine.)
      The deleting the apps comment was off hand and upon reflection, overstepping.
      My only point is that you can leave your phone off for 5 hours. It will be ok. And if we’ve reached a point where that request is so insane it can’t be contemplated—that’s concerning to me. (Again, parents, caregivers etc. do really NEED to be reachable.)

      • Violet

        Of course you can leave your phone off for 5 hours. I do it all the time. But my point is, that is now so outside the norm that unless your usual people know that it’s common for you (eg, you’re a long-haul trucker, a surgeon, a spy who goes undercover), they just won’t really be able to figure out workarounds for this one-off event. Do my close friends and family know I put my phone on silent from anywhere around 8:00 PM onward and know not to expect a response til the next morning? Yes, they do. But that’s because it’s common for me. If this is a random event, I just don’t see it clicking for a wedding-sized group of people.
        I’m uncomfortable with social media stuff, we were very clear about what we wanted/didn’t want, and people respected what we asked of them. I think what you’re proposing is pretty much a nuclear option, in line with eloping.

    • I;m a little surprised at the push back. I’m sure I’ve seen events on here where there was a phone bucket for people to drop theirs off in during the ceremony – maybe I’m misremembering it with events I’ve been to (phone buckets were definitely common before smartphones became the default, but with the rising cost of tech you don’t see it very often any more) but I don’t think it’s super unreasonable for a half hour ceremony with a small crowd. It’s tougher with a full reception, because that’s a length of time where the phone bucket guard may not remember who’s phone was which, also they deserve to have fun too.

      If I was really worried about it, I’d probably pick a venue with no reception or wifi. Plenty of places in the world like that still! (heck, my in law’s house would be perfect – they have wifi, but you could turn it off for the day!). It wouldn’t necessarily stop people taking photos, but it would force them to think longer before sharing them, and maybe they’ll remember your heartfelt request. Plus, if people don’t switch to airplane mode their phones will run out of battery searching for signal.

      • Yes. I hate that and would not do that. I am an adult and can turn off my phone for a ceremony (I do it every Sunday) but also my phone is expensive and I am prone to forgetting it if it is not in the place where I am used to storing it.

        But also I’m an adult and I am probably going to use my phone at some point during the reception–taking pictures of friends I haven’t seen in a while or even just checking out for a minute because weddings are long and phones are smaller than books to bring to a wedding and I really can’t do a 5 hour social event that has amplified music (and weddings are so often loud) without taking at least one break–especially if I need to be competent to drive home after.

  • RNLindsay

    I’m someone who wanted people to post pictures! I was so excited to see how things looked before our professional pics were available. One way to maybe help reframe it for you is that these candids from friends are from a different POV then your photographer would’ve gotten, and some might even turn out to be your favorites! My photographer did a crappy job of capturing my dad and me walking down the aisle, so my friends pics are what I have of that moment. For the reception pictures posted, I would try to reframe it for yourself that it’s nice to be able to view these moments, even if taken on a grainy iPhone.

  • toomanybooks

    I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY, LW, THAT I ONE HUNDRED PERCENT COMMISERATE WITH YOU ON THE HASHTAG ALONE, BECAUSE #loveisloveislove (THREE loves! It make is seem even LESS genuine than the usual two) IS THE MOST CONDESCENDING-ASS “ALLY” BS TO TAG ON A QUEER SOCIAL MEDIA POST, DON’T @ ME

    Actually before my wedding I made a Facebook post asking the Lord to please remove straight people hashtagging my wedding with “love is love” from His plans for me so people would know the score.

    I know not everybody feels the same way on this, but to me it’s the most insipid, meaningless slogan. (Reminds me of my dad, in a conversation about gay rights, saying “I think everyone should have the right to love whoever they want.” Yeah, it sounds “good,” but we already do that, we want LEGAL PROTECTIONS.)

    • CMT

      Yep. I think it’s super gross and condescending.

      • penguin

        “I already disrespected you by even taking this picture, but now I’m going to post it with this hashtag to show how supportive I am!! Look what I good person I am guys!”. That’s what I got out of the ceremony picture with the hashtag. If they actually wanted to support the couple, they could start by respecting their wishes and their privacy.

        • Jan

          It begs the question: if a Staight Ally ™ is there to support their gay friends and doesn’t post about it on social media to showcase how down they are, did it even really happen?

        • toomanybooks

          Yeah, the “technically” tells us everything we need to know about this person.

    • Comment. Of. The. Week.

      • toomanybooks

        My week is made! ✨

    • Tolkien Gay

      YES! This was one of the things that struck me the most about this post. I think it’s in reference to the speech Lin Manuel Miranda gave after Hamilton but that in no way makes it appropriate. It’s the kind of thing that royally upsets me as a member of the LGBT community and let’s just hope that others see through this sort of shameless attempt at personal branding.

      • toomanybooks

        Oh, it’s definitely been around way before Hamilton but yeah it’s like people latched onto it because they are actually committing to zero views or positions but they think it sounds nice.

    • Tolkien Gay

      After I made this comment I was immediately disappointed that I couldn’t upvote you again. Just know that I would if I could because, seriously….girl, preach.

      • toomanybooks

        If this was IRL we would be righteously high-fiving!!!

      • toomanybooks

        Also omgggggg I am still just flinching imagining someone doing this to me. (Like literally just the hashtag part, because I didn’t mind social media photos of us one bit!) I genuinely think if I saw someone hashtag love is love I would be like “oh gosh please remove that I’m deploying my safe word right now” – it feels like a devaluing of that relationship to have to state “love is love!!!!” at it.

  • toomanybooks

    Also though:
    I think there are some really good reasons for keeping people off their phones/asking that people not share photos! For example:

    -does one of the people getting married have a stalker OR someone else they’ve gone no-contact with, who they really do not want showing up or knowing more details about their life

    -religious reasons

    -it would out the couple to a wider amount of people in a way that could cause issues for them

    -idk, if there’s nudity involved? Seems unlikely for a wedding but there definitely was a wedding on here that featured a stripper, so it’s not like it NEVER happens I guess! And you doooooon’t want to post nude photos of someone online without their permission.

    …examples which I’m mostly offering as an alternative to the idea that when you have a wedding, pic sharing is just going to happen and the couple has to deal with it.

    • Henri

      YES. THANK YOU. I was reading the comments last night a little surprised that so many people who are usually pretty conscious and aware of these things seemed to just . . . not care? This seems like yet another place where folks ALREADY under stress and limitation due to other people are forced to make a shitty decision (like elope or suck it up), which . . . no.

      We often don’t know everything about a person’s life, especially if the information falls into a category they find embarrassing or shameful (stalkers, estrangements, etc.), beliefs, or deeper feelings. And I honestly don’t see how expecting someone to honor your request for them not to post about your wedding is any different than expecting them to honor your request to be generally considerate of you. (Someone below mentioned expecting friends to be better about this than family, which yeah.)

      Ugh, anyhow, thank you again.

  • Tara

    I see so many people commenting that this is just how it is these days. Something for those people to think about: how would you feel if a friend of a friend posted your photos to a public website and hundreds of people mock your beautiful memories. There is no unseeing that.