Remember the days when couples anxiously awaited pictures from their photographer for their first glimpse of the special day when they exchanged vows? Ya, me neither. For better or worse, it seems like cell phones and selfies have been woven into the fabric of wedding day celebrations. Don't get me wrong, I love a good selfie, but I can't help but cringe when guests' cell phones take up more real estate in wedding photos than the floral arrangements.
Call me old fashioned, but I still believe that weddings should be romantic. Saying your vows in front of your friends and family is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Taking cell phone pictures and guests getting in the way of the photographer you paid $3,000 to be there just takes away that wedding day sparkle.
So where should you draw the line? Where can technology enhance the experience and when is it just a romance killer? Here's my quick list of wedding technology dos and don'ts to help keep you firmly grounded in the beautiful reality of your wedding day.
DO: Set Up a Wedding Website
Between the venue, caterer and finding the perfect dress, the last thing you need to be worrying about is managing guest RSVPs and answering all of your guests' questions about the details of your wedding -- where should we stay? What is the best way to get there? Where do I need to meet for the rehearsal dinner? It is exhausting just thinking about it. Cue the free wedding website. It's the perfect place to put logistical information for guests, manage RSVPs and tactfully share your gift registry. It is also the perfect place to share sentimental details about where you met, how you fell in love and why you are choosing to include different rituals or symbols in your wedding ceremony.
While it's not for every couple, these options are easy for most guests and help keep misunderstandings about the details to a minimum.
DON'T: DIY Music Via iPod
While using an iPod may seem like a great way to save money at your wedding, I have seen this strategy cause some awkward moments reminiscent of high school dance days. Either there is an issue with the speaker, the plugs and the charger or, more frequently, the rhythm the couple imagined when they set up the playlist does not quite sync with the timing and mood of the guests. A great band or DJ knows how to read a crowd and keep people moving. They can also slow things down and make it, ahem, a little more romantic. If you can afford one, they are well worth the expense. If not, and an iPod is all your budget will tolerate, make sure you have different types of playlists and that someone else is in charge of making the night flow.
DO: Create a Hashtag for Your Wedding
Especially for younger couples, a hashtag makes gathering all of your guests' pictures easy -- allowing you to experience your wedding from many vantage points. However, make sure you set the expectations out clearly beforehand, and during the wedding itself. If you don't want phone cameras clicking or blinking during the ceremony, make a note on the program, put up a chalkboard reminder at the front of the aisle and/or ask your officiant to politely request that guests turn off their phones. Otherwise, you can expect every picture of the guests to include people holding up devices. Definitely not very romantic.
DON'T: Expect Your Friends to Replace a Professional Photographer
As much fun as your friends' pictures will be, they are not going to be the same caliber as a professional photographer, and it's not fair to ask your friends to take on the responsibility of documenting your wedding for you. Hire someone whose style you like and let them worry about getting the perfect angles and lighting while you and your friends enjoy the events.
DO: Have a Photobooth
It is amazing what a couple of drinks, a camera and some pink boas can do for your guests. The pictures you get from a wedding photobooth can be the best ones -- or at least the most entertaining -- from the whole event. However, this is another area where a DIY version can be a real distraction for you or an unwitting friend. There are many companies that specialize in photo-booth set up. However, if you want to keep it simple, ask your photographer to set up a system with a self-clicker, and to be responsible for making sure it is working throughout the night.
Whenever considering a technology solution for your wedding, you should ask yourself whether it has the potential to draw you or your guests' attention away from actually experiencing the moment. If the chances are high, it's better to skip it. You can always retake a selfie, but you can never recreate the memory of your first real married kiss.