It seems like everyone is connected to a device today, usually a smart phone. As a wedding guest you should be paying attention to the ceremony, not taking photos, tweeting or updating your facebook page. The ceremony is an important and even sacred time in the lives of the couple. It is not only distracting but downright rude to be fooling with your phone. There is a time and a place for everything.
I’ve written before about the importance guests refraining from photography during the wedding ceremony. Unless you have been asked by the couple to take pictures – don’t! Let the pros do their job, and you do yours – be their gracious guest. I want to continue to explore this situation: guests and their devices – as it is becoming a bigger issue by the minute.
Only a few years ago I would see one or two people snapping pictures, but now it feels as if everyone is more engaged with their phone than with what is happening right in front of their eyes. I’ve even seen people holding up iPads. It really is getting out of hand. When I walk to the altar to begin a ceremony, I do not want my first words to be an admonishment. Scolding the guests is not a great way to begin.
Here are a few ideas to encourage your guests to turn off their phones and pay attention.
- Include a notice in your program (if you are doing one). Wording might be something like: Welcome to our wedding – please be present in the moment and turn off your cell phones, cameras and other devices. Or do this with a graphic: the old ‘circle with a line through it’ over a camera or phone image. You can remind guests that you will happily share your photos later.
- Make some signs to place at the entrance of the ceremony site stating the same. Don’t forget to include this on your wedding website, if you have one.
- If you have a DJ for the ceremony have he or she announce it before the start of the ceremony.
- Have your ushers repeat the mantra as they escort people. In a friendly way, with a smile, of course!
- And the very last resort is to have your officiant make the announcement.
There are many ways to put it, and the idea is gaining traction. You may want to point out that your love, support and complete attention is a gift to the couple. You can make your statement sound funny, spiritual, emotional, spiritual, or just straight-forward – but please consider doing it!