To have & to hashtag: the ultimate social media wedding guide

One of the biggest decisions in planning a wedding involves finding the perfect photographer.

Nowadays, though, couples also have to think about whether or not they want guests to use social media on their big day.

With some couples embracing Instagram and Twitter, and others preferring a total social media blackout, it’s tricky to get the balance right between sharing special moments and being in control of what gets out there. When it comes to publishing photos of weddings she has shot, photographer Alice Alves (alicealvesphotography.co.uk) says: “I think you have to be careful and respect a couple’s privacy; I always ask my clients what their feelings are on having their photos posted on Facebook and so on. Although most people are delighted if you post their pictures on social media, there are still some who want to keep their photos to themselves.”

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A #justmarried #selfie? Don’t mind if we do! Photo by sunshinephotography.co.uk

Alice is very happy to let couples put her photos up online: “I don’t mind at all – it’s good publicity. I supply low-resolution images for specific use on social media and for emailing. The smaller-sized files just make it a lot quicker to upload and they are the perfect size for on-screen viewing.”

With nearly everyone these days owning a smartphone, it’s important for guests to remember to look up from their screens and really savour the day. They should also remind themselves not to get in the way of the professional photographer! “I don’t have a problem with smartphones during weddings,” said Alice. “Guests want to have their own record of the day and that’s totally fine. I do find iPads a bit obtrusive, though! And sometimes I worry that people will miss out on the atmosphere of a wedding and the emotions between the couple if they’re too busy fiddling with their phones.”

Alice says that a total ban on uploading photos “must be very hard to implement” and has some sage advice to offer: “I would suggest that if you don’t want social media as part of your day, you should put something to that effect on the invitation and then get the person conducting the ceremony to repeat the request before the ceremony begins.” She goes on: “As for couples who love social media, just enjoy your day – it all goes by too quickly – and leave the social media stuff until the day after, when you’ll have a chance to enjoy all the photos and comments that friends have posted.”

While there are many fun options to collect all your guests’ candid photos (we’ve picked out some great apps below that let you create interactive wedding albums), many couples still want to have the traditional wedding album to look back on. “I’d say 95% of couples still want an album,” says Alice. “For those who don’t, it tends to be more of a budget issue – they are looking for ways to get lovely photos without going over budget. The storybook-type albums are by far the most popular, with couples also wanting their images supplied on disc or USB for posting on social media and sharing with friends. I have started offering a mini album which incorporates a USB at the back – it’s a great alternative to a full-scale album.”

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The first dance is when guests clamour to get a decent shot to upload to social media. Photo by andi-watson.co.uk

For couples who want to see what their guests are snapping, it has become popular to create a wedding hashtag (e.g. #jennyandgreggetmarried) and then ask guests to use it on Instagram and Twitter so everyone can see photos from the night. Then, when you’re recovering from the festivities the next day, you can scroll through your feeds and see all the moments you might have missed (or sly action pics someone sneaky guest took when you were busting out your moves on the dancefloor).

Another way to have fun with social media is to hire a photo booth. According to Scott from Purple Star Photo Booths (purplestarphotobooths.co.uk), when a photo booth is linked to a social media stand, people make less use of their phones. “That’s because the photos produced by the booths are of a much better quality,” he explains. “And now that guests can upload the pictures direct from the booth, this cuts out the need to upload from mobiles. You just select the photo you’ve had taken in the booth and choose to upload it either to Facebook, Twitter or your email address. The iPad stores the photos from the entire night, which means guests can come and upload their pictures at any point that suits them.”

Each couple will have their own style but it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to ask people not to take photos (especially during the ceremony), or to ask your friend to remove that less-than-flattering photo from Facebook (no one wants to see up a bride’s nostrils!). At the same time, months of hard work, money and frenzied planning go into putting together a wedding, so if you want to show off your fabulous results, go for it!


‘Appy ever after

You can use these little helpers to map out your plans, chat to bridesmaids and create a wedding album with a tech twist

WEDPICS

zBOXOUT_photoAHow it works There’s no substitute for professional photos, but your guests will have phones packed full of priceless snaps of the more relaxed side of your day.

By downloading the Wedpics app and creating a wedding ID, you can invite all your guests to do the same and share their photos without clogging up their own social media. Its interface is similar to Instagram.

Price Free

Available on Android and iTunes.

www.wedpics.com

CAKE FACE

zBOXOUT_photo 3How it works Ask guests to download Cake Face. Then, when they snap a pic, it can be immediately uploaded and shared in real time: you could set up a screen at your reception so guests can enjoy a stream of candid photos from the night! You have the option to keep the album private or  make it public.

Price Downloading the app is free but an unlimited album costs $199/£130.

Available on Android and iTunes.

www.cakefaceapp.com

WEDDING PARTY

zBOXOUT_photo 2How it works As well as allowing your friends and family to share photos, the Wedding Party app has some handy features, such as an instant messenger with your bridal party, a place for info such as hotel directions, the gift registry and the event schedule, and advice and articles from wedding experts and lots of support from the Wedding Party app team.

Price Free.

Available on Android and iTunes.

www.weddingpartyapp.com

THE WEDDING SNAP

zBOXOUT_photo 1How it works You can create up to four albums with this app, meaning the fun can start right from your hen do or engagement party. The albums are private but you can upload them to your favourite social media site with a single click. There’s also a mobile site so anyone with a smartphone can join in the fun.

Price Free, but a wedding album costs from £49.50.

Available on Android and iTunes.

www.theweddingsnapapp.co.uk

WEDDING WIRE

zBOXOUT_photo 4How it works Wedding Wire has a little family of apps to make the whole planning process easier. The Wedding Wire app allows you to manage your budget, checklists, RSVPs and guest lists. There is also the WedSocial, WedTeam and WedStyle apps that will help you with fashion choices, searching for vendors and sharing all your own and your guests’ photos.

Price Free.

Available on Android and iTunes.

www.weddingwire.com