Wedding photo upload etiquette

Last updated 05:00 23/03/2012

So we were at our friends' wedding this time last week, and through my tear-filled eyes during the ceremony I snapped pictures of the happy couple saying their vows. group

Guests were in a sea of cameras and iPhones; everyone wanted to capture the special moments during this day.

Often when I'm out and about, over-sharer me will take a photo and without a thought, upload it to Facebook and Twitter to share the day with others who couldn't be there.

But on this day, I stopped. Did they want their wedding out there on the net? It was their day, but was it mine to broadcast? They'd spent so long putting the day together as it was, even with a guest list packed with journalists, what were there expectations on everyone uploading photos of their day? (I don't know about you but I've been known to do a cheeky Facebook stalk on Sunday or Mondays after I know someone has got married, just to see if there are any photos of the big day.)

So what was the etiquette?

A few of us discussed it earlier in the day as we waited for the bride to arrive. We joked about there being a hashtag to group discussions about the wedding on Twitter, and live tweeting the event.

We didn't, of course. In fact I took so many photos, my phone ran flat so I managed to prevent drunk tweets as well.

Anyway, after the ceremony, one of the guests - a professional photographer - cut off to the side and uploaded an absolutely stunning photo of the couple as they walked back down the aisle as husband and wife. It. Was. Amazing.

A simple iPhone photo that captured the most sweetest split-second.

To work out her feelings on photos live uploaded on Facebook, I showed the bride, who was rapt and has since changed it to her profile pic on Facebook. "More! More!" she squeed. "Upload your photos!".

With that green light, I uploaded a couple of photos.

A bride-to-be friend on Facebook commented: " I have heard of weddings where the MC tells guests at the reception not too put pics on facebook... bit late by then though!"

And I agree with this. If you really don't want 'unsolicited' photos of your big day to be live-uploaded, you need to pre-warn your guests. Smartphone penetration is too high, we're too connected, to assume people won't do it.

There are heaps of ways to tell your guests if it's an issue: you could get the MC to mention it as guests are being seated, you could add a note on your invite, or RSVP, or wedding site saying "We'd love you to take photos of our big day but please do not upload them till xx date," or whatever. photo card

I went to a wedding once where putting photos on Facebook wasn't allowed for about four months due to a magazine deal and while that was fine, it wasn't mentioned until well into the speeches, three-quarters of the way into the night. There were a few "ruh roh" faces with that one.

My favourite idea? Why not capitalise on everyone's photos that they've taken and set up a Flickr site or something like this? I love this idea! Gone are the disposable cameras on each table - why not set up these little photo card stations? Sometimes it can take weeks before you get your hands on your precious professional photos, so why not binge on everyone else's photos til then? It also gives guests another thing to do to break up the time between eating, talking, dancing and celebrating.

How do you feel about photos being uploaded live after your ceremony? Are there etiquette rules you abide by? 

Follow Greer on Twitter or Weddings on Facebook. You can email Greer here.

101 comments
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Shannon   #1   07:46 am Mar 23 2012

The social networking sites horrify me! (although I do have a Facebook) ... my mum cooooonstantly uploads pictures as soon as she takes them... weddings, babies, you walking in the front door... it's embarracing and annoying!

I would only ever post pictures of somebody elses special occasion if they asked me to.

My mum loaded up the pictures of my sisters wedding and the first photo available of her baby (which has since turned into a massive online album)... and she posted pictures of engagement ring before I had the chance to show/tell people myself! WTF?! And has put pictures of my engagement party online too... I thought I was only sharing that day with my family and closest friends, but nope, apparently the online world now too.

Red   #2   07:48 am Mar 23 2012

Before our wedding everyone knew there would be hell to pay if so much as one photo was uploaded on Facebook. My feeling is it was our day, and a personal and private moment, not one I wanted to be shared with a million randoms in cyberspace. There are some photos around on facebook, but they are of flowers, settings, masquerade masks .... nothing of the service, which is exactly how I wanted it.

I was completely horrified at a friends wedding last year when someone uploaded video of their service two minutes after it finished.

It is possibly an age thing though - I'm late 30s and privacy is a big deal to me. The friends who's wedding service got uploaded are early-mid twenties and don't really think twice about tweeting or posting any and all details of their lives.

k   #3   07:56 am Mar 23 2012

Ugh, I find people who upload pictures while at a Wedding etc so lame. Why do people feel the need to broadcast what they are doing right at that very minute. It's like the people on FB who tag themselves at the bar/restaurant etc that they're at. Why do you want everyone to know where you are?! I was going to ask guests to not upload photos but at the last minute asked the MC to not request it. I thought people uploading photos before I could would bother me but it really didn't

megz   #4   07:57 am Mar 23 2012

when i got married i sent an email out asking people not to put photos up on the net of the ceremony as i felt that part of our wedding was between us and the guests, we were fine with photos of the rest of the wedding to go up on facebook etc.

In1977   #5   08:13 am Mar 23 2012

No problems here; I hate wedding photos so there will be none taken. Also I'm not on facebook.

Anne   #6   08:18 am Mar 23 2012

Ok, usually I'm a fairly easy going, each to their own sort, but this subject makes me mad! Why can't people enjoy the moment without the need to constantly take photos, tweet, fb???? Especially at wedding ceremonies. It's an occasion that while being joyful should also be a little solemn. Having been a bridesmaid a couple of times lately and having a good view of the guests, it's made my blood boil to watch people spend the ceremony faffing about with cameras and phones. You've been invited to watch two people commit their lives to each other, which is an amazing and beautiful thing. You owe them the respect of giving it your full attention. I'm not saying don't take photos at all - the bridesmaids and bride walking down the aisle, the first kiss and signing the registry are all great photo ops but try to limit yourselves people - and leave the uploading. I know some couples who have been genuinely surprised and upset at their guests for uploading photos without their permission. Having said that, think about the couple involved. Perhaps guests at Greer's will be encouraged to do the opposite of what I've just suggested ;)

Christina   #7   08:30 am Mar 23 2012

I'm getting married next year and I hate my photo being taken at the best of times. I am already trying to figure out how to word it on the invites that I don't want any photos on Facebook (even though all my tagged photos of me are blocked for anyone else to see) but I would be extremely annoyed if someone took blurry and unflattering photos and uploaded them right then and there. Have some respect! I recently saw a friend of mine who was a bridesmaid at a wedding, get tagged in an out-of-focus, blurry, red eyed photo of the bridal table.. needless to say it was swiftly "untagged" by those in the photo! Has anyone got any idea how to politely communicate that you don't want photos shared on FB (on the invitation?)

Nicole   #8   08:36 am Mar 23 2012

I got married three weeks ago and thought my guests were really respectful - they all waited until after I had uploaded a few (although, I did just grab my Mum's camera and upload those photos two days after the wedding so they didnt have to wait long. Personally I believe it is the Bride & Groom's Day so they should be the first ones to share that time and give you an indication of their wishes. At the same time though, if they are happy with you uploading them, I think that any of those ones with 'ugly' facials should definitely be kept off Facebook - maybe email the ones you're unsure about to the happy couple only as they may enjoy a laugh about it. :)

Peter   #9   08:37 am Mar 23 2012

I reckon it's creepy posting photos of other peoples weddings. Most of them end up being terrible shots taken with heads in the way or from a awkward angle that end up showing half the bride's back.

Oh, and 'squee', or 'squeed', is not a word that should be used by anyone who considers themselves a journalist.

Cowgirl in the Sand   #10   08:38 am Mar 23 2012

I'm very worried about this happening, as I don't want my stalker (a guy I dated for a few weeks back in 2005) to be able to find photos of me as a bride on the internet and keep them in his wallet/under his pillow. I have a kept a very low and private internet profile because of him, but he keeps finding me through my work. He has made threats to my fiance and brother before, because he has discovered the connections these people have to me from theirs/friends facebook pages.


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