The pros and cons to using social media on your wedding day

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2018.

It’s the wedding day. A hectic, blurred day full of happy tears, dancing and a whole lot of love. It all goes by so fast that most couples are turning to designated hashtags to collect those moments to relive later. But where is the line for social media use in weddings—or does a line exist at all?

For Lindsey and Michael Casher, married in September 2017, using social media was a no-brainer. They invited guests to use both their hashtag (#cashbash) and a Snapchat geofilter to document the day. Whether their guests “unplugged” for the ceremony or reception didn’t matter; Lindsey says she just wanted it to be a true celebration.

“You’ve included these people in your marriage because of the way they’ve each contributed to your lives in their own individual ways,” she says. “Let them celebrate with you in those individual ways as well.”

However, social media use isn’t as simple for all couples. While wedding hashtags are on trend for capturing moments at the reception—not to mention avoiding hours of scouring individual Instagram accounts—many couples are going unplugged for their ceremonies, according to Emilie Duncan, owner and head planner for Emilie Duncan Event Planning.

“Couples will ask their guests to set phones aside for the ceremony and just be in the moment with them, then designate a wedding hashtag and ask people to go nuts at the reception,” says Duncan. “Couples can’t be everywhere at once, and no matter how many photographers [they have], the pros can’t be everywhere.”

The ceremony is an intimate moment and doesn’t always need a filter, according to Stephanie and Nathaniel Marks. While Stephanie says the hashtag (#makingthemarks2018) and Snapchat group for their August 2018 wedding boosted the fun atmosphere at the reception, going unplugged for the ceremony resulted in beautiful, professional photos and videos that were free from arms and phones blocking the shots.

“That’s not to discredit how much we loved social media for the reception,” says Stephanie. “I loved scrolling through everyone’s pictures the day after. We woke up the next morning and cried [with laughter] in bed, watching all the ridiculous snaps our friends and family sent to the Snapchat group. We wouldn’t have gotten that if we didn’t use social media at all.”

But what exactly is better when it comes to social media: unplugged or all-in? It depends on the couple, says Duncan.

“I think the biggest thing when it comes to using social media in a wedding is couples simply sitting down and talking it out with their other half,” she explains. “Discussing what they hope people come away from the wedding with will ultimately help determine how much to incorporate social media on their special day.”