Hashtags and Selfies: Wedding Day Memories in the 21st Century

Category: Blog

Date: June 2, 2016


Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Instant uploads, hashtags and tweets have changed the way we capture the most important events in our lives. Ellen recently took the most epic selfie of all time, breaking the record for most retweeted post ever with her Oscars selfie. Moments after getting engaged, brides share pictures of their engagement ring selfies to thrilled friends and family. And selfies have changed weddings, too—from a deep and meaningful day shared by friends and family to a real-time social media frenzy where everything is shot, shared and commented on well before the final dance.


Long gone are the days of privacy as today’s wedding guests must be mindful of their behavior and actions. They worry about those awkward stares as they return to work on Monday knowing that the “worm” they did across the dance floor at the boss’s wedding is now being shared with thousands of strangers via Facebook.



The upside to social media is instant photo-gratification. Now we can all take home a little piece of our best friend’s wedding and experience it the next day as we laugh and sometimes shudder at what happened last night. For those guests that couldn’t make it to the wedding, here it is! Right now!


Other than the obvious lack of privacy, the downside to this new sharing lifestyle is time usage. How many minutes have we spent not only taking the shots, but posting the images, checking and responding to comments and likes? Before you realize it, the evening is done and your best recollection is what you posted and shared, rather than those small and sometimes overlooked moments that were far more interesting that the selfie you took as you pretended to take a bite out of the top layer of the wedding cake.


When a bride and groom dream about their wedding and reception, what they want is for you the wedding guest, to be “all in.” Emotionally, physically, spiritually, they want your heart and mind completely wrapped up in their wedding day. Therefore, many of my clients have adopted a “No Post Policy.” This anti-social media policy is not just for celebrities anymore. Many couples want their guests to feel free and uninhibited as the day turns to evening and blood alcohol levels rise. They want their guests to experience the moment without the iPhone and most importantly, without spending hours posting, linking, retweeting, liking, and sharing.


Personally I suggest this: Take the picture…. take several. As a photographer, it is on rare occasion that my shot is impaired by Aunt Ruthie and her point and shoot camera. However, don’t post, tweet, pin or share until the next day. You’ll have a better time, you won’t miss anything because your eyes aren’t stuck in your lap, and most importantly, the next day you’ll make better posting and commenting judgments because the tequila shots have worn off. And in the meantime, you’ll have a fantastic wedding experience to remember.









Based in San Diego, Paul Barnett has earned the reputation as the preeminent wedding photojournalist. Since 1991, his unique style & uncompromising craftsmanship have attracted a worldwide clientele. True, genuine and unrehearsed, Paul’s images bring to life the small idiosyncrasies that define us as individuals, close family and good friends. Visit Paul’s web site at http://barnettphoto.com or find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Barnettphoto.