Wedding Etiquette in a Digital World
Unplugged. I think we’ve all heard the term. I think a lot of us have realized we need to ‘unplug’ in our own lives. We check social media first thing in the morning, the last thing at night and several times in between. We interrupt a face-to-face conversation to reply to a text message or email. You hear a ‘ding’ and multiple people in the room reach for their pocket or purse. We use our phones to capture everyday memories. Nothing is private anymore. You take a picture of your coffee, your puppy, your lunch date selfie and it is posted to the web in minutes. This is technology today.
I’m not going to stand on my soap box and preach what is wrong with this world (I post way too many pictures of Starbucks and Winston to tell you how to live your life), but we need to talk about the problems technology can cause during a wedding day. Some might seem obvious, others might not even cross your mind.
At the hundreds of weddings I’ve been to, I have literally seen it all, so I want to share a couple of my top wedding day tech etiquette tips:
Since everything can be posted and shared instantly, it has become a natural instinct to take a photo and tell the world what you are up to. However, when someone posts a picture of the beautiful bride (especially pre-ceremony) and shares with the world what her dress, hair & make-up look like, it takes away the element of surprise! Guests who are anticipating seeing the bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle lose their excitement when they see a picture of her scroll by on their newsfeed. And you better hope the groom isn’t looking as his phone. Talk about a way to ruin the big moment!
Tip: Wait until you see the bride posting pictures before you take it upon yourself to share. OR, ask the bride if she cares! Some brides might be okay with you posting pictures all day! Others may ask you to wait until the next morning.
Be in the moment. We all need to do this in our personal lives more, but especially on the wedding day. Enjoy it! Whether you are a bridesmaid, friend, family, or even the bride/groom, put your phone away. Ignore texts & emails (unless, of course, you have an important call to make with vendor, VIP, etc). What’s the fun in looking at a wedding day through your tiny little phone screen? Focus on spending time with the friends you don’t see often anymore, or the family that is never in one place at the same time. Look at all the details the couple worked so hard to put together. Most likely, they hired a photographer to capture important moments and beautiful details. Why? So you can look at them again and again and again later on!
Tip: There will be plenty of time before the ceremony and in between the ceremony and reception to check your texts, peek at Facebook, and snap some photos of your own.
Please leave it to the professionals. That professional photographer is going to take some BEAUTIFUL images. They know what they’re doing. Of course you want to grab a selfie with the newlyweds, the crew at your table, and a respectable photo of you and your handsome date all dressed up. But please, put the phone down during the big events like the walk down the aisle, the first kiss, and first dances. These are scenes the photographer is sure to capture beautifully and it is hard for them to avoid the 20 phones, cameras and iPads sticking out (YES, iPads!!)
Tip: Pay attention to where the photographers are. They are capturing the most important moments, so if they are around snapping away, no need to get your phone out!
Be mindful of what you text or call the bride & groom about on the big day. Go ahead and send the bride sweet ‘Happy Wedding Day’ text and let her know you can’t wait to see her dress, but refrain from asking either the bride or groom questions that they will feel obligated to respond to. Texting or calling with questions like ‘how do I get the ceremony?’ or ‘do I need to bring cash for the bar?’ can be stress-inducing when the bride and groom are trying to relax leading up to the big moment. And please, don’t text (or call) to ask if you can bring so-and-so even though you sent your RSVP for 1. (That’s a whole different type of wedding etiquette I’ll save for another day!).
Tip: If you must contact the couple with important information (really important information), call or text someone who is in the bridal party or a close family member and check with them first. They may be able to answer your question without interrupting the getting ready process.
Although there are a ton of wedding etiquette dos and don’ts, these are just a few things we have noticed about technology on wedding days. Overall, remember to be respectful to the couple and their beautiful day. Enjoy the moment while it’s happening and tweet about it later.
How do you feel about technology at weddings? Have you been to a wedding where sharing your own snaps on a wedding app was encouraged? What did you do about technology at your wedding? Let us know in the comments below!