Weddings have come pretty darn far in the last couple of years. From smartphones to wedding websites to countless wedding blogs, technology has played a huge role in transforming weddings. New companies are creating products every day that are simplifying many problems that couples face, and making the journey to the altar less stressful for everyone. It's now easier than ever for couples to plan their wedding, communicate with guests, and share wedding moments with their mobile devices, which is great!
Yet for all the good that technology has done for weddings, we can't say there isn't a catch. We all know it's easy for people to get a bit too engrossed with their fancy handheld devices, and to an extent it's played a role in transforming normal social etiquette. This unfortunately means that you'll occasionally get rude guests at weddings who feel more than comfortable ignoring a couple's lovely ceremony by being obnoxious and messing with their latest gadget. This is too bad, since as a guest, you've been invited to a couple's wedding to celebrate with them, be in the moment, and share the memories that are made on their wedding day. It's obviously annoying for a couple to spend time and money inviting a guest, only to have them be more interested in their phone than in the wedding.
Even if you think that you'd never be guilty of being that guest, be warned! It's actually easier than you think to ruin someone's wedding with just your iPhone. You'll definitely be considered a terrible guest with terrible etiquette if you:
1. Have your ringer on during the ceremony
I know, this is so obvious that it's not even worth mentioning. But the thing is...this still happens all the time. Be prepared to be thoroughly embarrassed and completely ostracized at any wedding if your phone goes off while the bride and groom are exchanging their vows.
2. Texting during the ceremony
Trust me, even if you think you're being discreet, people are still going to notice. Chances are, your text is definitely much less important than the wedding ceremony you're attending, so act accordingly and leave your text messages alone for half an hour.
3. Live-tweet the wedding
This is someone's wedding, not the MTV awards. Do everyone a favor and forgo constantly updating your Twitter feed with the event's details. It's disrespectful to the bride and groom, and they probably won't be too impressed with your 140-character descriptions of their big day.
4. Play paparazzi
Snapping photos at the reception with your iPhone is fine, and is a great way to capture some of your favorite memories from a friend's wedding. But during more special moments of the ceremony, be considerate while taking pictures. Don't move out of your way to snap photos of the bride and groom, or have your face glued to your camera screen the entire time. That's why the couple hired a professional photographer! Be conscious that while it's great to snap some photos and give them to the couple later, they're not expecting you to provide them with every image of their wedding -- they'd rather you be engaged in the day and in the moment with them.
5. Leave snarky FB updates
Hate the couple's cash bar? Think the song to their first dance sucks? Did the wedding cake make you gag? Keep it to yourself, and don't leave a mean comment about it on Facebook or Twitter.
6. Post unflattering photos/videos of the couple on Facebook
Did you capture a photo of the bride or groom looking terrible? Contrary to what you think, posting that photo on Facebook might not be hilarious -- in fact, it might be downright obnoxious for the couple, who've worked hard to look their best that day.
7. Check the score of whatever sports event you're missing
Even if it's the most important playoff game in the history of your favorite team, refrain from checking the score or sneaking off to catch clips of the game's highlights. It not only makes you look bad as a guest -- it gives the couple the impression that you'd rather be at home watching the game than celebrating their marriage. The game probably won't change whether you check the score or not, so just save it until the couple has left.
Ultimately, you're going to be at the wedding for the couple; it's one of the most special days of their lives, and you as a guest should honor the invitation with your complete respect and attention. Technology certainly does have a time and place during that day and is a great way to capture the best parts of the celebration. I certainly encourage it in the appropriate place and at the appropriate time! But when in doubt, keep your phone in your pocket and the focus on the big day -- not your smartphone.
Follow Stephanie Herbst on Twitter: www.twitter.com/wedding