Maybe It’s Time We Stopped Being Shitty About Out Friends’ OTT Instagram Wedding Posts

You might find yourself cringing at your mate's #Isaidyes engagement post, but when we see a bride you know going a little too hard on social media, maybe we need to remember that it comes from a place of joy

Instagram wedding pictures

by Caroline O'Donoghue |
Updated on

This week, Tatler posted an online list titled ‘The wedding social media rules all brides need to know’. As we’re all well aware, it is Tatler’s specific job to publish obscure lists of etiquette for people with more money than God, so far be it from me to criticise the grand old publication for doing what it does best. And plus, it made some good (and funny!) points. It included hashtag advice ( ‘#ISaidYes doesn’t count because of course you did or you wouldn’t be posting about it.’) some harsh realities (‘Sorry to be frank but no one wants to see a weekly or monthly wedding countdown’) and outright pleas (‘we beg you not to share new pictures every week for a year, particularly when the professional snaps come back’)

The truth of it is, some people never get over ‘Nam, and some people never get over the fact that they were a bride. Many people are guilty of being social media bores about their wedding, and many more of us are even guiltier for quietly bitching about it.

What’s interesting though is that we’re reaching a point where social media etiquette is becoming formalised, and weddings are becoming corporate picnics with ethically problematic jewellery. The Tatler list comes hot on the heels of Marissa Fuchs’ disastrous #sponcon proposal. The influencer and Goop employee hit the headlines a couple of weeks ago when her pitch deck for her ‘surprise’ proposal treasure hunt was leaked to the media. For many, it was a fall too far down the influencer rabbit hole, and some campaigned for Fuchs to be fired. Vast moral questions on the nature of weddings in society were flung around the internet: what happened to weddings being about the two people getting married? When did social media ruin everything? Is Instagram responsible for the destruction of intimacy, authenticity and true human connection?

What’s interesting is that we seem to want to have it both ways. We want people (well, women) to lighten up. To treat their wedding with the organic excitement and uncynical love we’re so desperate to see in the world. But simultaneously, we want people (well, women) to manage their wedding with the poise of a PR director. We want her to post just enough; to hashtag just enough; to have just enough rules for her guests so that everyone’s clear on photo-sharing etiquette but not so many that you have to sign a release before attending the wedding. On top of having to plan a small festival in her free time, brides are now expected to have a degree in digital marketing.

What’s also intriguing is that we don’t have these kinds of guidelines or bitch-a-thons for the people who are constantly on social media broadcasting their career highlights or their travel photos. You don’t roll your eyes and go “Christ, there’s Rachel on another 30-under-30 list again. Get a life, Rache”. But brides, for some reason, are easy targets. We want to bat down their enthusiasm and their joy because it’s fun and because there’s an instinct to think that anyone who spends that much money on trying to look like a virgin is a bit TOO into themselves.

An acquaintance of mine with a stunning career (stunning as in: you’ve probably heard her on the radio) had a very low-key wedding. Her dress cost a couple of hundred pounds, she made the wedding favours herself, and about thirty people were invited. When, a couple of months later, her best friend got engaged and immediately started planning a huge, glamorous wedding, my acquaintance felt a bit judgemental: who needs to spend all that money and time on just one day, etc, etc. When one of her criticisms was heard by her best friend, the friend whirled on her. “You didn’t need a big wedding,” she said. “Because people look at you all the time.”

That’s what I try to think about every time I see a bride going a little too hard on social media. Sure, on my end it might look like vanity or a certain tone-deafness to her own one-note account, but on her end, it’s something else. It’s giddiness, it’s joy, it’s a memory of a day – and maybe there aren’t a lot of these days, and very possibly, none at all – where people just looked at her.

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