Photographers know a lot as they are on the front lines of wedding planning and the wedding day. Ashleigh Henning of Ashleigh Taylor Photography is here today to tell us the three ways that social media is ruining your wedding experience and what you can do about it.
Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay! And while it can be a great resource and add a lot of fun to your wedding planning process, it can also ruin your big day! Wait what? As a wedding photographer, I have seen it happen. The good news is you don’t need to fall victim to the social media induced wedding day blues. Here’s three ways social media can really ruin your wedding experience and what to do about it so it does not happen to you!
Sharing big life moments on Facebook has become the status quo. It’s easy on a big day like your wedding to want to update your status, check out all your likes, and all the lovely words of congratulations people are writing on your wall! However, I am always amazed by how many brides spend a lot of their time in the hair and make-up chair looking at their phone & Facebook on their wedding day.
The Problem: There are three big problems with this. 1) It makes it much harder for your hair and make-up artist to do their job when you are constantly checking your phone for updates. 2) It doesn’t really look that great in photos to see a bride engrossed in her phone. It’s totally not that idealistic image of a bride looking excited as she’s being primped, but rather one where a bride looks concentrated on something else other than her wedding day. 3) The biggest problem of all is that it is actually taking you out of the moment of enjoying what is actually happening. Your wedding day only happens once, but your Facebook wall will still be full of messages tomorrow. It’s so much better to live in the day rather than the social network because, well, YOLO.
The Solution: Turn your phone off or give it to your MOH so you don’t feel tempted to check it. Maybe your friend can even periodically check your fb for you and report back. But you should really do your best not to check it and enjoy the moment!
Pinterest is practically synonymous with wedding planning these days. Most brides have several Pinterest boards dedicated to wedding inspiration with everything from their dream decor to must-have shots they want for their wedding pictures. I do love Pinterest and think when used wisely it can be a great resource, but it also has its pitfalls.
The Problem: Pinterest creates a LOT of unrealistic expectations for your wedding day which can lead to a lot of disappointment for brides. Keep this in mind: when you are pinning photos you are pinning one or two of the BEST photos of someone’s wedding. So your Pinterest board is not actually representative of every shot every person gets in one wedding but rather a “best of” compilation of photos from hundreds of different weddings. And there are a lot of unique factors to each wedding such as location, scheduling/timeline, whether or not a couple did a first look, weather and lighting conditions, etc., which may make recreating these “best of” shots hard to accomplish. Each wedding is unique so it is very unrealistic to think your full wedding folio will look like the highlights from many other weddings. That’s not to say your photos won’t be AMAZING, it’s just to say they might not be a shot-by-shot recreation of your pin board. Beyond just unrealistic expectations for photos, pinterest can also create unrealistic expectations for what is doable in decor. A lot of stuff that is popular on Pinterest is from styled photo shoots — not even real weddings — and to execute that look for a real event would cost $$$$.
The Solution: I am not saying you need to get rid of your Pinterest board, just to keep your expectations in check. Use the boards to figure out the overall style you’d like for your pictures or decor, and then find a vendor who fits that style and can create something ORIGINAL just for you within that style. Your original photos created by a photographer you trust are going to be so much more genuine, beautiful, artistic, and meaningful than recreations of shots on your pin board. And heck, a few of them may even end up being popular on Pinterest down the road too.
3) INSTAGRAM (or similar photo sharing apps/sites)
Your friends, family, and even your bridal party are whipping their phones out to live-Instagram your wedding day! That might seem great in theory, as you are excited to see some photos from your day right away, but there is a real trade off for this.
The Problem: First, by live-Instagramming the day, your friends and family are not being in the moment with you. I’ve actually had to ask bridesmaids to stop taking photos of the bride getting into her dress so she could actually be in the photo with the bride and be a part of the getting ready process. Really?! Yes, really. I’ve seen moms so focused on getting a photo of the bride walking down the aisle with their phone, that their face registered no actual emotion as to what was going on other than the concentrated look of “must take this photo.” It is really so sad, especially since part of the reason you hire a professional photographer like me is so you don’t have to get the shots yourself and can enjoy the moment of the day! Second, it actually ruins your pro-photos when you have a bunch of people trying to take amateur pictures. It can be as simple as looking at your ceremony photos and seeing a sea of hands holding iphones where your guests’ heads should be. But it can be much worse too. I’ve had guests get up and stand in the aisle to take pictures during a ceremony blocking or limiting my shots. I’ve even had a guest during the cake cutting ask me if I could move out of their shot, but I am pretty sure at the end of the day the bride preferred my pro-shot to her guest’s blurry Instagram one.
The Solution: Have an “unplugged” wedding or at the very least an unplugged ceremony. This means asking guests to put away their phones and cameras and not take pictures during the ceremony (or sometimes the entire wedding). You can do this really nicely by putting up a cute sign, a note in the program and/or by having the officiant say something about it prior to the start of the ceremony. I’ve had several couples do this and it has had a tremendously positive impact on both the photos and the whole mood of the day!
In conclusion, I think the common thread here is that all three social media outlets (Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram) detract from your wedding day because in one way or another they take you out of enjoying the moment of your day. Whether it is referring back to your Pinterest board to make sure all your “must have shots” got taken, or checking your Facebook feed for messages from friends, or your guests jumping up with their phones to take tons of pictures during your ceremony instead of actually watching it, all of these things prevent you from fully experiencing one of the huge milestones of your life. Your wedding day will go fast. Enjoy it fully.
Based in Santa Barbara, California, Ashleigh loves to be behind the camera, documenting the most important moments her couples get to experience. She loves getting to know her couples and offering them guidance and direction so they can look back at their photos and feel happy about their time in front of the camera. Ashleigh’s work has been featured in many major wedding print magazines and on high-end and frequented wedding planning web sites. Her favorite part about the gig: connecting with real couples, telling their story through vibrant images, and helping people see themselves as beautiful as they truly are.