So, let’s be honest, we are definitely in the age of social media. Virtually our every move is shown on facebook or instagram, and to be honest we as photographers are as guilty as anyone else. It’s likely the very reason you’re reading this is that you found out about my website or work via social media.
What does matter however, and something I think you should consider, is your personal feelings on what role, if any, social media should play in your wedding. Part of the answer to this situation links back to firstly the number of guests in the evening as opposed to in the day and secondly how you feel about yourself.
To give some guidance I enter my meeting before the wedding with either the registrars or the vicar with three bits of information from the bride. This is so they can during the introductions to the service make these decisions known to the guests and congregation so you do not have to worry about this not being known. It is important to state that these answers can and are sometimes overruled by the venue or church depending on their own personal policies.
1 - Should guests be able to take photos during the ceremony?
2 - Should guests be able to come forward to take pictures of the signing of the register?
3 - Are guests allowed to upload pictures to social media and if so when?
Obviously the final question itself is the one most directly related to social media, but equally if you want a social media restriction it also follows that the number of photos taken should be “managed”.
The other two questions are important in their own right as well though. Your guests have travelled to spend your special day with you and will want their own mementos of the day. Equally you may want the ceremony itself to be special, without distractions, and most importantly guests seeing the events through their own eyes, not the back of a camera or a smartphone.
Given you are reading this you are almost certainly considering the services of a professional photographer: so here’s my take on this. Don’t let guests take photos during the ceremony itself: you have hired a professional to do this so let them take the strain. If my couples so wish I have the guests come up and take their photos of the signing after I’ve taken mine: it also lends itself very nicely for me to have photos of photos being taken and the double reactions. For the social media ask the guests to refrain until a professional photo of the day has already been posted on social media. This also means the evening guests get to see you in your finest for the first time in real life, not on a screen. I normally do a set of a dozen photos throughout the day for the couple as soon as I get home: my couple then get to choose their favourite(s) which I post for them and which normally become their profile pictures fairly quickly :-)
The bottom line: it’s your day so don’t be concerned about offending anyone. You have the right to decide on who gets to see you when: for me that first look should be in person for those who matter enough to be with you, and a professional photo for the rest.