This weekend, NBA star of the Miami Heat Dwayne Wade and his girlfriend of 5 years, actress Gabrielle Union tied the knot at a ceremony where the couple reportedly imposed a photography and social media black out by having guests, vendors and servers sign non disclosure agreements with a hefty fine imposed on violators.
A David’s Bridal survey found that 14% of modern engaged couples ask their guests to not share photo or video of their wedding in social media. It also found that 58% believing the bride and groom should post the first picture from their wedding.
About 37% of those surveyed by wedding planning website The Knot’s said they would consider a social media black out for their wedding. Some even go as far as request their guests not move from their seats during the ceremony. Wedding photographers have complained that guests up front taking pics often get in their way of shots and camera phones can block the faces of family members’ as the photographer is trying to capture a reaction to the vows exchange.
So modern couples are taking control of wedding images back from their social media-addicted guests.
“They see it at celebrity weddings and people think, ‘I should feel like a celebrity on my wedding day,’” Jamie Miles, editor of TheKnot.com told New York Daily News “So they feel comfortable asking for things celebrities ask for, because it’s their special day, too.”
A social media black-out has at least two impacts:
First, it forces guests to focus on the nuptials and being present in the moment. After all, they were asked to be witnesses to the blessed event and that can’t be done whilst taking videos and photos to be the first to tweet it.
Second, it allows the couple to be the first to share their magical moment with their friends and family of their choosing, not the public at large and potentially Twitters millions of users.
One bride told the Daily News that guests were a little put off by the request at first, but eventually got with the program.
“A lot of guests said they thought it was really nice, and they actually enjoyed the ceremony without worrying about taking pictures,” Kimberly Burgess said. “It sets a different vibe when people are actually talking to each other, instead of on their phones.”
Pastors and wedding offiants agree.
”They [guests] don’t engage with the day at all and before the couple has had a chance to process what is happening, it’s all over the internet,” Wedding celebrant Koren Harvey told the Sydney Morning Herald “Those present [at the wedding], the couple’s loved ones, have been invited to be just that – present.”
Not everyone, of course, is down with the social media black out for their weddings.
“It’s the thing now, to post photos as soon as possible,” bride Maddie Gale told news.au.com. “We saw photos online before we had even got to the reception.”
The social media black out is the opposite of another recent trend where couples have hashtags for their wedding weekends and invite guests to share photos, videos and comments about the event as it is happening.
Startups like ii.do are capitalizing on the wedding hashtag trend and let couples select among social media photos posted using the wedding hashtag to create a unique photo book.
Whichever social media protocol a bride and groom chooses, the key is communicating the wishes in advance and to expect a few slip ups.
Meg Keene of A practical wedding blog has a great primer for how to have or not have a social media wedding. Go check it out here!
What are your thoughts on social media at weddings?