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Sunday, 1 June 2014

Social media bans at weddings

FOR couples currently navigating the etiquette minefield, that is, planning a wedding, here’s one more decision for your list: what’s your social media policy?

You’ll know by now that not even the tiniest bit of the day can be left to chance in case something terrible happens and people think you have no creative vision – or worse, no money. So you’d better make up your mind: can guests tweet or not?

Last week, I received a wedding invitation requesting that attendees refrain from posting pictures on social media. I then saw that a bridal brand had surveyed customers on the subject, and that my friends are within the 14% who don’t want their big day tweeted or Instagrammed.

You can see the logic. You spend all that money on a dress, hair, make-up and venue, and then someone shares a picture taken at an inopportune moment. The bride looks like she’s gurning, the food glistens unnaturally, and the dance floor looks empty.

Your wedding day is the make-up on the public face of your relationship. That is why there is a professional photographer there: to make sure the snaps are every bit as rose-tinted as your memories will be. The first reveal will be a picture you’ve posed for and pored over, rather than one cousin Dave took of the back of your head, the harsh light of the iPhone flash bouncing off the drip trays at the bar.

This may sound the height of self-indulgence, but it feels like a necessary discussion. The public and private are increasingly blurred in this age of sharing, where ownership of intimate moments doesn’t exist any more. One doesn’t hug an experience to one’s chest to enjoy it; one broadcasts it, preferably with a hashtag.

For some, social media is second nature now. It’s fair enough, then, to make the point that you’d rather guests desisted: the thought might not even have crossed their minds. But does it then follow that you’re being unreasonable by asking this of them, that you’re in some way encroaching on the way they choose to live their life?

Weddings tend to bring out the control freak in even the most benign lovers. We’ve had the viral videos of the choreographed first dances. And there are couples who give out a strict dress code, to avoid encountering anyone else’s bad taste.

Although couples who ban social media may be doing so simply to keep control of their own image, they are also commodifying their privacy. Could this be the backlash to digital oversharing? You’ll know if the vicar tells you: “You may now tweet the bride.” — Guardian News & Media 2014

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , Nation , social media , etiquette , weddings


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