Oh haven’t we all been there? The the snapshot you didn’t want tagged, the acquaintance you didn't want to be seen with, the selfie you agreed to against your better judgement: people everywhere with camera phones, uploading without a thought to lighting, hair, your most flattering angle, how utterly inconsiderate.... Yes, we’re a vain species, living in a world where ‘Nothing has happened but that which has been recorded’ – Wilde). If only Oscar could have predicted the sheer loss of control imposed by tech world on us normal folk; no doubt would have been horrified. So where does that leave the bride planning the perfect wedding? With choices to make, because brides and grooms to be, it’s no longer enough ‘wishin and hopin’ and prayin’ no Sir, strategic planning, that’s what’s called for.


“Make sure to first check with your host if it is OK to Instagram/Facebook the event,’ says Carmen Haid, Etiquette Expert, one of the most refined hostesses of London, a veteran of the fashion scene and the brains behind the vintage emporium Atelier Mayer. “Many couples feel their wedding should stay entirely private rather than having it distributed globally through social media channels. Resist the social media urge and respect the request for complete privacy. Especially if you want to be invited again!”


Because, quite frankly it’s not enough to answer the wedding invitation promptly, choose a gift from the list (woe betide the guest who goes off menu), plan an outfit making sure to eschew anything white, no, you need to seriously consider how to approach the slightly taboo subject. Perhaps something along the lines of: ‘Dear Guest, we would be very grateful if you would refrain from uploading images of our wedding to social media. We are so looking forward to celebrating with you.’ Or, if that sounds a little dry perhaps, ‘Dear Guest, we are hoping for this to be a social media free wedding.’ The other alternative is the decidedly seventies ‘phone in a bowl’ approach. ‘If they REALLY want to keep everything private then phones & cameras would have to be taken on arrival,’ says Liz Brewer, resident etiquette expert on Ladette to Lady no less. ‘A necessity,’ she waxes lyrical, ‘if a magazine is paying for the privilege of having exclusivity. It’s just so difficult to control nowadays. Very unpopular but this is now done at celebrity weddings, Buckingham Palace, etc…. and guests DO survive without their phones.’


So that’s how to ensure the most special day of your life isn’t splashed, hashtagged and shared with the entire Venn diagram that is most people’s social media presence, and don’t forget, it doesn’t just start and end with with Facebook, there’s Twitter, Instagram and now even Vine to consider… Acclaimed stylist, former editor of Vogue Turkey and all round etiquette guru Mary Fellowes has this to say on the subject: ‘Posting on social media at weddings is the last word in tackiness, and the death knell to what should be a private celebration of love and commitment between two people that should rise above getting "likes". Any self respecting bride and groom would ideally make it very clear on invitations and on the service sheet to request that guests do not partake in it. Otherwise guests are not present and living in a one off special moment with intimate friends and relatives, but too busy engaging with a virtual world where the currency of the images or posts is digital fish wrap, the polar opposite of what capturing such a special day is about.’


So there it is, there are some who do and some who defiantly don’t. And then there are those who do, and seemingly regret it. I was recently party to an acquaintance who splashed her wedding all over social media, then went all shy when asked to contribute a quote for this piece, her account suddenly going all private. Remember people, Instagram, unless you change your settings is 100% public. And a side note, for God’s sake don’t keep polluting people’s feeds for a month after the event. We were happy for you then, but now it’s just irritating.


Last but certainly not least, there are those for whom the entire wedding experience is a backdrop to the perfect snap, take Kim Kardashian for example, a seasoned pro when it comes to installing a wall of flowers fit for the purpose. The lesson? If you're going to do it, go all out. So for those of you intent on echoing her efforts and speaking to the world, one piece of advice, choose the perfect hashtag, and please eschew any variation on: #mikeandfloraswedding – it needs to be short, it needs to be edgy and most of all, SEO friendly, for all your fans out there watching.


by Alice Kahrmann