So you’re at a wedding and a totally magical moment happens – perhaps it’s a moment in the bride and groom’s first dance, or perhaps it’s right at their send off and the happy couple has never looked more picturesque. You do what any typical person living in the 21st century would do: pull out your iPhone and *click!* goes the camera.
But is your distraction with your iPhone taking away from your wedding experience? In a recent article by The Offbeat Bride, the author Ariel points out that in many cases, guests’ distraction with their mobile devices may keep them from being truly present at the wedding. Furthermore, guests clicking away on their phones at the wedding ceremony can be downright discourteous to the bride and groom. Ariel is careful to note however, that the use of smartphones and other digital devices during wedding ceremonies and receptions are ultimately only bothersome if the bride and groom feel it’s inappropriate – if you are relying on your friends’ Instagram feed the next day for wedding photos, or if you’re techies who refused to invite friends without smartypants phones (unlikely, but it could happen), then smartphone use at your wedding is not really a problem.
In a way, I totally agree with Ariel’s point of view. With everyone carrying around the equivalent of a tiny computer in his or her pocket, it’s hard not to be distracted from what’s actually happening around you. (Case in point – I nearly fell off the treadmill last week while Tweeting). And nothing’s worse than being at a party and realizing that for the last five minutes, no one’s talked to each because EVERYONE IS TEXTING. You can definitely make a case that our society in general is perhaps a little too plugged-in.
That being said, the Offbeat Bride article did not touch a couple points that I think are important for the wedding-and-technology-etiquette discussion. The first is that the generation that makes up the majority of the people getting married now has made smartphones and social media engagement via these gadgets a part of their daily routine. According to a recent survey by The Knot, between 2008-2011 there was a reported 78% increase of engaged couples using social media to communicate wedding details, and brides are increasingly utilizing online wedding planning tools. And in a report by av-comparative.org, 70% of people said that every day on average their smart phone was never powered off. Basically, I’m just trying to say that smartphones are here to stay, and its likely that they will be involved in your wedding day.
The second point is that there are a lot of benefits to be reaped from using smartphones and similar technology during your big day; and ultimately, those benefits may outweigh the negatives. For example, consider the instantaneous nature of smartphone pictures- a professional photographer may only capture one or two angles of each moment, and you won’t get those pictures for a couple weeks. With smartphones, your guests can capture your special day from many different angles and perspectives. These photos can be easily accessed the next day through Facebook or Instagram, or through mobile wedding apps like our very own. With smartphones, videos can be recorded on the fly, capturing certain moments that videographers might not be around for. And not only is technology great for providing quick, easy, and cheap photos and videos of your wedding, it opens up the possibility of having guests at your wedding who may not have otherwise been able to make it. Live streaming the event may be a great option for couples with family or friends who are unable to be present at the actual ceremony.
With smartphone technology changing the wedding scene faster than you can say “I do”, it can be hard to determine when using these ubiquitous gadgets are beneficial and when they’re downright annoying. While guests should exercise courtesy towards the bride and groom on their wedding day, smartphones have the ability to be more of a benefit than a distraction. With the right attitudes and the right tools, smartphones can easily document and give you more insight into your wedding than ever before.
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