Ask Andrea! Plugged-In or Un-Plugged? Social Media, I Do & You!

Vine. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram & more. Should your wedding be plugged in, or unplugged? Photo by Andrea Eppolito.

Vine. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram & more. Should your wedding be plugged in, or unplugged? Photo by Andrea Eppolito.

Question:  I keep reading about "unplugged" weddings and I'm not sure if I should try this.  I don't want to see people playing with their phones at the wedding, but will they get offended if I ask them not to take pictures?  And sometimes the guests get really good, personal shots.  I don't want to miss anything. What should I do? - MB 

Answer:  Ahhh - Remember the (good) old days, when there was one photographer taking pictures of your wedding, and you had to wait while he or she changed the film in the camera?  Or the time when you went to a wedding and passed around the disposable cameras left on the table so that you could get copies of your friend's pictures?  Hell, once upon a time you really had to consider if you wanted to work with someone shooting digital, because really...Could it be trusted?!?!?

My, how times have changed!  Today, if it isn't on Twitter, or Instagram, or Facebook, then it just didn't happen.  Somewhat of a ridiculous notion, I know, but today we are all living life on-line.   The trick is making this technology work for you, and ensuring that your guests know what you expect from them in advance so that all parties can celebrate and share your day!

First, remember this: You have taken the time to hand select the photographer and videographer you wish to have capture the moments of your day, and it's their work that matters most.  Still, there is charm and sweetness in a photo captured by your college friend, your uncle, or even your grandmother!  And so while I don't recommend a completely unplugged wedding, there are some definite do's and don'ts and etiquette involved in social media and today's weddings.

Here are my tips that apply whether you ask for an unplugged wedding or if you plan to encourage guests to shoot and share!

1.  Communicate Clearly with Your Guests - Decide in advance what you do and do not want guests to capture and share.  Place this information on your wedding website, on a sign at the entrance of the ceremony space, and even in your program.  For an unplugged ceremony a simple "We invite you to be completely present in our presence, and ask that you please turn off your phone and camera until after our first kiss!" will ensure that people know not to photograph you during this time and guarantee that, when you walk down the aisle, you are looking at the faces of those you love, and not the back side of an iPhone or camera!

2.  Hashtag! Hashmark! Repeat! - Today there are a ton of wedding apps and websites that are designed to collect your photos for you.  And while each one offers something special and unique, your guests will likely always fall back to what they use every day.  Today, that means Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  But tomorrow a whole new technology can emerge!  The key to being able to find your photos anywhere (and everywhere) is to select a custom hashtag early on and share it in advance.  Make it personal and specific so you don't end up having your photos mixed in with someone else's and have guests use them across the board.  Some suggestions are your initials mixed with your wedding date, the location, or any combination of the three.

3.  Common Sense for Tips for Guests - My team and I are constantly photographing, tweeting, Instagramming and streaming on Vine.  At the end, we are able to share some very cool pictures and projects, such as "Behind the Scenes" photos and videos, Vine compilations that take you through the wedding in a minute, and even little movie trailers.  But we are always very careful not to spoil the big reveals!  In other words, we shoot away, but we never publicize photos of the bride's dress, the ceremony set up, or the ballroom until after they have been revealed to all!  A good rule of thumb for all guests, and especially members of the bridal party - is to shoot and snap away, but don't push anything out until the end of the night!

In the end it's important to do what feels right to you!  And remember, if someone does accidentally YouTube - Facebook - TwitPic or Vine something before it's time, it's only because they love you!


Award-winning wedding planner Andrea Eppolito answers your questions about destination wedding planning, Las Vegas, luxurious touches and more.  Simply write in and Ask Andrea!