The ‘24-Hour Photo Freeze’ Is the Wedding Etiquette Rule We Need in Our Lives

Digital etiquette matters

24 hour social media rule wedding universal
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I first learned about the ‘24-hour photo freeze’ rule from U.K.-based influencer (and friend) Laura-Ann Barr. Barr attended a family wedding and shared a singular behind-the-scenes detail shot of the program on her Instagram Stories, plus a disclaimer: “The bride looks absolutely beautiful,” she captioned the pic. “I’ve loads and lots of wedding photos, but with accordance with good wedding etiquette, I’ll share them tomorrow. Believe me, she is worth the wait.”

This caught me off guard. I had of course seen a variety of methods employed to keep nuptials from going viral before the vows were even exchanged: Signs posted, no-phone rules. But this 24-hour photo ban was new.

Was it common practice across the pond? I decided to reach out to the source.

Barr quickly confirmed that her decision to hold on sharing any pics was self-imposed: “The bride didn’t formally request it, but it just seemed like a good thing to do out of respect for her big day,” she explained. “I didn’t request this at my own wedding, but it’s something I would have appreciated had the matter come up.”

And she reported another upside: Letting go of the urge to post every moment (the vows, the kiss, the first dance) meant that she was able to be more present. “The whole occasion felt much more meaningful,” she says. “I wouldn’t want to be a guest at a wedding where I have to leave my phone at the door—at this point, a phone is like carrying a coat or an umbrella. It’s an essential. I took photos of my family, of course, and of the bride. I just didn’t post them until the event was over.”

Myka Meier, etiquette expert and founder of Beaumont Etiquette, confirms this as a growing trend. “It gives couples a grace period to post their own pictures and I think it’s such a lovely idea,” she explains.

Additionally, she adds that if you aren’t sure how the couple wants to handle social media during their celebration, it’s OK to ask a wedding planner or the maid of honor ahead of the big day. “Some couples may want the attention and encourage you to post away with designated hashtags while other couples may prefer a social pause.” If you’re at all unclear? “Try the 24-hour photo freeze just to be safe. At the very least refrain from posting images of the couple themselves so that they have a chance to post that first look photo.”

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...