#herecomesthebrideTrue, you're in your pajamas cozied up with Indian take-out at your studio apartment. But thanks to a compulsive sharer in your social media circle, you, along with scores of others, have just become an uninvited guest at someone else's wedding. In real time. With no hope of champagne when it's over.
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In earlier days, a wedding crasher was easy to spot. And there were prohibitions. Mothers warned their children never to bring a guest to a wedding unless the invitation specifically included the extra soul in the address itself. But today the concept of "and guest" has gotten complicated. Sure, we understand that we'll be expected to dance with our plus one at the reception. But what rights do we have to share the personal events in perpetuity throughout our social media circles? And when do we cross the threshold into bad taste?
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Here's when: It's in poor taste to post any photos of the bride or groom until after they each say "I do." With very few exceptions-Will and Kate come to mind-a wedding ceremony is both a private gathering and a sacred rite. At the reception, you're a guest. But during the wedding ceremony, you bear witness. Bearing witness to a marriage implies a level of obligation, however minor. At a minimum, you should respect the sanctity of the occasion. To upload a photograph during the ceremony would betray the inherently private nature of the exchange of vows-not to mention all that not-so-quiet clicking from the electronic device. Once the groom has kissed the bride, and the bride has presumably reciprocated the gesture, the whole event transforms from one of ritual and seriousness to celebration. Feel free to celebrate the newlyweds by sharing a beautiful photo of the bride and her new husband. Especially if the couple has encouraged photo sharing by including a wedding-specific hashtag in their invitation suite.
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When posting, note that it isn't advisable to post any unflattering photographs of the bride or the groom, however hilarious their late-night interpretation of Rihanna's latest single might be. On her wedding day, a bride is presenting herself to her groom, to her family and to her community in her new role as a wife. Let her choose how she wants to be seen. And if you do end up with some hilariously unbecoming snapshots, tuck them away until you can put them to productive use. Like a good laugh over a mimosa at the next day's bridal brunch. Or a source of hush money during her first Senate run.
The first rule of etiquette is to be respectful and kind. If you have an inkling that sharing a photo would violate either principle, keep it to yourself. You can always complain about it on twitter. As long as it's 140 characters or less.
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