It’s the day after Christmas, and there’s a strong chance that someone you know has already posted an engagement photo on Instagram.These days weddings take up a significant portion of our online consumption. For a couple that just got engaged, the social media routine usually kicks off with a run-of-the-mill engagement announcement, followed by a slew of bridal shower pics and bachelor party updates, all leading up to their big day when their friends and family usually take the reigns—with a very specific hashtag, mind you.
But there are those brides (and grooms, too!) that can’t help and go off the social media deep end. You know the type: Their Instagram feed is flooded with wedding-related posts, even if the actual event isn’t happening for at least another six months. By the time the big day actually arrives, everyone is already suffering from fatigue. For those of you who just got engaged, it’s important to remember that there is such a thing as overexposure—just ask Taylor Swift. So how can you best avoid this type of cringe-worthy behavior yourself? Below, we share 13 social media dos and don’ts every future bride and groom should follow. Consider them rules to abide by, mistakes to avoid, and just plain old common sense!
- DON’T let social media govern your engagement or wedding.
A wise friend once told me he avoids doing activities solely to get a good Instagram. Instead, he makes an effort to use the app to document what he would normally choose to do. In other words, don’t travel one hundred miles out of your way to get a colorful ice cream cone you don’t even want to eat. When it comes to your wedding, this aphorism should be considered a cardinal rule. Keep your priorities straight and try to always stay in the present. For instance, if you didn’t have a surprise proposal captured serendipitously on camera, don’t stage one after the fact!
- DON’T pick a wedding hashtag that doesn’t stick the landing.
These days, wedding hashtags are fairly ubiquitous. But just because you’re in the throes of wedding one-upmanship, doesn’t mean you have to forsake a simple hashtag that’s made up of two names for a nonsensical one that no one quite gets. Yes, everyone likes a good pun, so quirky inside jokes and hole-in-ones like #HappilyEverAdler can and should still be used. But if you can’t think of a clever hashtag, don’t worry. A simple combination of your last names is elegant and chic. And in the end, the goal of a good hashtag is to get your guests to post more—not wonder what the heck you were thinking.
- DO feel free to take and share your professional engagement photos.
Engagement photos taken by a professional photographer were once a formality geared towards securing a wedding announcement in a paper like The New York Times. But these days it’s become a social media phenomenon. Some would argue these photoshoots are unnecessary—save that money for the big day!—but the heart wants what the heart wants, and you only get to do this once (hopefully!) so feel free to indulge.
- DON’T however feel as if this is a modern-day requirement.
If you think that engagement photos are a waste of money, don’t feel as if you have to take them! One of the main reasons people arrange for engagement photos to be professionally shot is to get some good social media content. However, there’s absolutely nothing wrong about posting genuine and candid pics. And besides, chances are you’ll get more than enough good couple photographs on your wedding day.
- DO avoid overly stylized poses, places, and looks.
Are you a former professional ballroom dancer? Then feel free to take a few pictures twirling about with your betrothed. But for the rest of us, it’s best to steer clear of overly contrived pictures in an unnatural setting. (Think: horse stables, a museum at night, a random yet hip food truck). As for good locations, a public park or garden is a fail-safe choice. However, be aware that if you do opt for a popular spot, it might to be used time and time again by your family and friends, too.
- DON’T go overboard with multiple professional photo shoots.
So you got some professional engagement photos. That’s great! But if you decide to book another photographer for your bridal shower, or bachelorette party, we recommend you resist sharing those extra images on social media. Not only is it gratuitous, it can also come off as more than a little extra.
- DO feel free to post a limited number of Instagrams in the lead-up to the big day.
By limited, we mean two or three posts that aren’t tied to specific and relevant wedding events. But if you find yourself posting a random couple’s photo with a caption that reads “286 days till we ‘I do,’’ then we hate to break it you, you’re probably annoying more than a few people on Instagram.
- DON’T use engagement videos as tools to hype your wedding.
It’s become increasingly popular for couples to commission videos to tell the story of their relationship and subsequent engagement. And while there are some legitimate reasons why a couple might choose to go this route, these videos shouldn’t be used to excessively hype your wedding on social media. Also, if you’re looking for a place to cut wedding costs, this is really a great place to start.
- DO consider others when sharing content from bridal showers and bachelorette weekends.
When you first announce your engagement, old friends from summer camp or elementary school, who you haven’t spoken to in years, will find out (and most likely celebrate) your happy news. But keep in mind, you might run into trouble when you start sharing photos of yourself with only some of your close ones at several wedding related events. Try to keep that bridal brunch you had with a number of friends from work on the down low if you couldn’t invite the co-worker who sits next to you every day, as the rest who were uninvited could see your content and get their feelings hurt. Of course it’s impossible to invite everyone you know to every event, but it’s best to keep the guest list ambiguous when sharing on Instagram in order to avoid any awkwardness at the office or next social gathering.
- DON’T worry about having separate hashtags for other events.
There’s a fair amount of comedic potential when it comes to hashtags geared towards events like bachelorette weekends. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with breaking out a new hashtag for these events, don’t go overboard. Remember, your wedding, not your bachelorette, is the main event.
- DO consider at some point before your wedding what you’d ideally like to post.
Don’t waste too much time on this, but ideally figuring out what kind of shot you want beforehand will allow your photographer to actually get that picture in there, and will help you not to worry about it on your special day.
- DON’T be preoccupied about posting content on your wedding weekend.
The most important thing to do during your wedding weekend is to enjoy every second of it. So even if you do care about posting a certain photograph from your big day, don’t worry about doing it in the moment. If you want to make sure your feed is being updated, assign one of your friends as the unofficial “social media consultant” of the weekend. (P.S.: You can also actually hire people to do this for you) Your friend can live-post from your account throughout the ceremony, reception, and after-party. But keep in mind: less is often more!
- DO be relaxed when it comes to what your guests want to post.
Even if you would like to, you can’t control everything when it comes to your wedding. This includes what and how often your guests want to share content on social media. Understand that it is very possible that your guests will likely post a photograph of you in your gown before you have a chance to do so first, and that you may not think that every photograph of you is completely flattering. But your guests are just trying to join in on and express their own excitement. So post and let post.