Is It Really Okay to Instagram at a Wedding? Etiquette Experts Weigh in

Leah Bourne

It-girl and noted Instagram fan Poppy Delevingne (older sister of model of the moment Cara) made news recently after she told guests of her upcoming wedding to James Cook that they weren’t to Instagram the ceremony or festivities.

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“Poppy and James want it to be private and no one can post any pictures,” the eldest Delevingne sister, Chloe, told the Daily Mail. Sure, Delevingne is giving photo access to Net-a-Porter’s print magazine Porter—reportedly not in exchange for money but instead for freebies—but she won’t be posting photos instantly to her 470,000 Instagram followers, and neither will her influential friends like actress Sienna Miller and fashion writer Derek Blasberg, who will certainly be in attendance on her big day.

This got us thinking: In today’s age of instant access to everything and anything, what is the proper etiquette as far as social media and weddings are concerned?

Outside of the celebrity sphere, these days it’s perfectly common for couples to have a dedicated wedding hashtag, which they share with guests to use during the event. (The W Hotel in New York City even offers couples a $3,000 social media concierge for their wedding that includes live tweeting, and posting photos and videos!)

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to share your wedding via social media—many couples love the fact that they get instantaneous wedding photos taken by all different  people—it isn’t for everyone, and that’s where etiquette comes in.

“Some couples don’t want guests Instagraming photos or tweeting updates during the ceremony. How do you make that request without being a bossy boots?” Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of etiquette doyenne Emily Post, and co-author of Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette said.

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Margherita Missoni at her wedding, which popped up all over Instagram. Photo Via Instagram.

“There are a number of places to let guests know that you’d like to have a social-media-free ceremony,” Post says. “I think asking for this during the ceremony is fair; I think it’s a losing battle asking it at the reception, though you can try. Put a mention on any or all of the following: your wedding website, a sign at the entry area, the ceremony program. It’s also a good idea to have a friendly reminder announced by the officiant or someone in the wedding party right before the ceremony starts: “Sara and Jed ask that you refrain from using your smartphones—even for photos—during the ceremony. Thank you.”

Post says that you can certainly ask your guests to turn their smartphones off, but asking your guests to check their phones unless you are an A-list couple trying to secretly get married is simply going overboard. The takeaway here is if you don’t want your guests to use social media during your wedding, it’s up to you to politely communicate that.

graf barn wedding photography 0003 Is It Really Okay to Instagram at a Wedding? Etiquette Experts Weigh in

Dedicated wedding hashtags are becoming commonplace, but they aren’t right for everyone. Photo Via

Even if you are a social media-friendly couple, there are still some general don’ts to keep in mind.

Wedding blogger Wendy El-Khoury behind Wedded Wonderland, suggests: “Don’t let guests take inappropriate photos and hashtag the wedding. Do you really want your drunk uncle falling over appearing on your wedding hashtag? Didn’t think so. Perhaps let any rogue guests synonymous with this type of behavior know in advance what’s OK and what’s not. Cleavage and selfies using the wedding hashtag equals inappropriate.”

And if there’s one part of your wedding day to keep entirely private, it is the pre-ceremony. “Time spent getting ready with the bride and bridal party is a special moment between the closest people,” El-Koury says. “Unless you specifically want this time shared on Instagram, I’d specify to your inner circle not to post photos before your guests get to see you.”

Odds are, everyone will respect this request—wouldn’t you?