This is one question couples 20, even 10 years ago didn't have to consider.
But nowadays, with the potential for your big entrance to have made it to Instagram before you've even made it to the end of the aisle, technology at your wedding is something that needs to be considered.
One of my friends just loved sitting on Facebook the day after her wedding looking at all the pictures her guests had snapped, while another hated the idea of less-than-perfect shots of her dress making it out on the internet, before she'd a chance to share the professional pictures.
And now, even wedding photographers, who would normally take weeks, or even months to process the images, race home and try to get a small selection of shots ready so the bride and groom can share them online straight away.
With wedding apps, specialised sharing sites, and hashtags, sharing your wedding photos has never been easier.
So we've come up with a few tips for sharing your pics. And what to do if you'd rather your guests took mental pictures, more than physical ones, at your wedding.
Purveyors of pretty paper goods, Wedding Paper Divas, conducted a recent survey on Digital Etiquette at weddings. They found that 65% of those surveyed felt it was important to ask the couple before sharing online, but 40% thought it would be rude not to share their pictures after the wedding.
Facebook is the favourite, with 76% of guests choosing to share their images on the original social network, while 54% use Instagram, and 40% Twitter.
4 in 10 weddings encouraged the use of social media, with a hashtag provided, while 5 in 10 guests said they'd “checked in” to weddings while in attendance. 33% of guests were requested not to use phones or cameras during the ceremony.
The downside? 31% of those surveyed found out they'd not been invited to a wedding through social media.
I Spy Printable by Splash of Silver on Etsy
Sharing photos and stories of your wedding is lots of fun. Not only will you get great candid snaps of you and your other half, but you'll get to catch up on all the wedding gossip you perhaps weren't privy to on the big day.
Your great aunt doing shots of tequila, or your work colleague hooking up with your best man – how could you miss out on these gems?
It's also a great way to add to the atmosphere on the day. Encourage social media sharing, with a table photo scavenger hunt (create a list of must-have pictures for each table to capture and share!). This will get people talking, and may even help people stay in touch after your wedding. (This is particularly nifty for your single friends!)
Most professional photographers and videographers are awesome at their jobs, but accidents, and full-on disasters do happen. With the quality of photographs from phones improving all the time, encouraging your guests to capture your day on their own devices will safeguard you with crowdsourced shots if you're not too happy with your professional pictures.
If some of your friends and family live overseas or can't make your nuptials, allowing them see all the shared images lets them feel involved in your day from afar.
If you want your wedding to be a private and intimate affair, perhaps keeping your guests in the moment, is more important to you than having your images on Instagram.
Phones and cameras can be distracting, and really take from the sense of occasion, particularly during the speeches or the ceremony.
If you've had a hard time juggling the politics of your guest list, you don't want to cause any friction with those not invited, when they find out on Facebook who did make the list.
While it's nice to have everyone on Twitter tell you how gorgeous you are, do you really want an unflattering picture of your new husband trying to find your garter under all that tulle, doing the rounds on the internet?
We're not sure how it caught on, but lots of people consider large tablets to be suitable camera substitutes. We've lost count of the amount of gorgeous moments which have been ruined by the appearance of a massive screen in the bride or groom's face!
How to Share
Hashtags are the simplest way to share your wedding online, whether you go with a classic #mrandmrsjones or #sarahandtomgethitched to something a little more distinct to your day like #somersetbarndance or #rowdyontherooftop. These can be used across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to collect images and videos from your day.
Wedding Party App, Wedding Snap, Capsule and Wed Pics are all really nifty apps for sharing photos and videos from your wedding. With a variety of features between them, these apps allow users to share their images privately with each other and the happy couple.
This is a great option for couples who'd rather keep the images within the party. Let your guests know with your invitation or with table cards what they need to do to get the app and sign in to your wedding.
Photo sharing sites like Flickr and Photobucket, along with specialist versions like Wedding Photo Swap, are a great way to share your photos after the day, allowing guests time to curate which ones they share (rather than posting in the middle of the party), and giving your less-plugged-in guests a chance to upload their camera shots.
A number of websites, like Appy Couple offer both app and website sharing, so guests with both cameras and phones can share with ease.
How to Unplug Your Wedding
Really, with this one, all you have to do is ask nicely, and your guests should be happy to adhere to your tech-free policy.
Let them know whether you'd simply like them to stay offline for the day of your wedding, whether you'd just like no cameras at the ceremony, or if you want an all-out embargo of photos being taken or shared online.
Include a note in your invitations, or dot signs around your venue to let guests know your feelings.
Ask your photographer to take lots of candid guest shots on the day, or perhaps request a second shooter, so no one is left out of the pictures if they're leaving their cameras at home.
If your budget allows, perhaps have a photo booth at your reception so you've still got lots of fun snaps of your guests at the party, without them being distracted with taking their own on the day.
Photo via Johnny Was
It's safe to say that you should respect the couple's wishes on the technology front. And if you are sharing images or videos on the day, do remember some simple rules:
- Only post flattering pictures of the bridal party, they've spent a lot of time, and probably a lot of money, to look their best on the day, so please respect that.
- Adhere to cultural traditions as well as the couple's own policy, don't take photos during prayers or rituals. Likewise, avoid using your phone during dinner.
- When posting to apps or social media, do so quickly, then put away your phone. You don't want to be that person in the corner commenting on photos instead of enjoying the party.
- See our point above about the tablets, please try and refrain from blocking everyone's view of the first kiss/cake cutting/sparkler sendoff with your 6×9 tablet screen!
Photo by Vivi Courtin via Instagram
Don't forget to share your thoughts and tips on wedding hashtags, photo sharing, and unplugging your wedding in the comments below.