I wish all wedding officiants would begin with, "Dearly beloved, put down your damn cellphones and enjoy the wedding of these two lovely people."
Not that people would actually do it, but somewhere in the depths of their consciousness a little discontented birdie may chirp. Since we've started to document every given moment of our lives with our phones, there is no one left to actually be present and live those moments.
As a wedding photographer and videographer with the Love Studio, I see it firsthand, and quite honestly it breaks my heart that instead of capturing a mother's tears during a wedding ceremony, I capture her staring into the screen of her iPhone. Her intentions are good, don't get me wrong. She wants to capture every second of her baby's big day. But with the majority of the guests filtering a wedding day through the screens of their smart phones, I wonder how much of the day's emotions get missed.
It also makes for somewhat soulless photography and videography. More and more, our candid images of a wedding day are photos of people posing for group selfies, solo selfies, and everyone at the wedding ceremony holding out a phone in front of their faces. One of the moments we most looked forward to were the reactions of family and friends when a bride walked down the aisle, or when the someone made an exceptionally moving or funny speech. We'd get the ugly tears, we'd get the happy tears, we'd get shock, awe and surprise. Instead of capturing raw unfiltered emotions, we are now capturing self-conscious duck faces and guests blocking views in order to record entire wedding ceremonies on their phones.
No offence to your iPhone, but we're professionals and we can do it better. What is the point of couples spending a good chunk of their wedding budget on photography and videography if every single one of their guests is also doubling as an amateur photographer?
As bad as guests can be using their phones, couples getting married can equally share the blame. I tell all my brides to make sure they give their cellphone to a trusted friend or family member. This is especially true before the ceremony as everyone is trying to reach the bride with last minute questions and concerns and she is already at the height of her anxiety. The precious hours before your wedding should not be spent Instagramming or updating your Facebook status. They are better spent laughing hysterically with your bridesmaids or crying with your mom.
Unfortunately, people have become inseparable from our phones but here are some ways to cut smart phone use and enjoy every minute of your wedding day:
Make an Announcement:
Once guests are seated and before the wedding procession starts, ask your officiant to make an announcement along the lines of: "The happy couple have taken the time and care to hire excellent professionals to capture today, so please refrain from taking photos and enjoy the moment."
Just as some restaurants have gotten into the habit of leaving messages for their guests to put down their phones and enjoy their meals, you can work fun messages into your tablescape décor reminding guests they are there to eat, drink and be merry. And that you've hired professionals, so there is no need for them to record your wedding ceremony or your speeches.
The Bridal Party:
The bridal party's role is to provide emotional and logistical support to the the couple getting married. Unfortunately, we've seen way too many bridal parties more concerned with posting selfies on Instagram than anything else. Once groomsmen posted an image of the groom before the wedding and the bride saw it, effectively ruining any surprise element from their first meeting that day. Please tell your bridal party to put down their phones and not post "sneak peeks" on social media.
Set an Example:
Brides are especially solicited in the hours before the ceremony with last minute requests. I've seen what a difference it makes in anxiety levels when brides give their cellphones to a trusted friend or family member and are able to be present in those precious moments before the wedding ceremony. Guests take their cues from the couple whom they are celebrating, and if they see you without a cellphone, they are less likely to pull one out themselves.
Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable days of your life. Not only because you are celebrating your love but also because all of the people that matter to you are all in one room. How often does that happen? You've spent at least a year and a lot of money planning this party, now make sure you and your guests are actually there to enjoy it.
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