Wedding Guest Techno-Etiquette

Story: Paula Paradis, Paradis & Foster Events, LLC

If you have recently been invited to a wedding, it is essential to keep some important guest techno-etiquette in mind for the ceremony and reception. Being courteous and respectful throughout the day will make the event especially memorable for the bride and groom, as well as other loved ones and friends who are in attendance.

As technology has advanced to include cell phones, digital cameras, Facebook, and Twitter, a new world of wedding techno-etiquette has evolved. Many couples are now faced with the social dilemma of asking their guests in a sensitive and respectful fashion to put down their favorite devices during the wedding ceremony and/or reception and enjoy an “Unplugged Wedding”.

According to pre-techno-wedding etiquette, it has never been proper for guests to take pictures at the wedding ceremony, especially if a photographer has been hired. This etiquette now extends to cell phones, camera phones, digital cameras use as not proper during the wedding ceremony. It is important to understand why these rules are in place. Some rules are straightforward and easy to understand, but others are not.

The easy to understand guideline about cell phone usage in places of worship or public venues is the familiar respectful request of “Silence is Golden.” This cell phone courtesy is often posted in the entrances of places of worship or public venues, is listed at the bottom of the wedding program, or announced before the beginning of the ceremony.

An “Unplugged Wedding” respectfully requests the guest to turn off not only cell phones but also all types of cameras and other electronic devices. This request is not as common, or as well understood, as the “Silence is Golden” guideline. Please keep in mind that most weddings have professional photographers who capture the wedding moments. Sometimes there may be an exclusivity clause in a professional photographer’s contract stating no other cameras or no cameras with a flash be allowed. A flash from another camera can interfere with the professional shots. All it takes is one guest with a camera to get in the way of the paid, professional shots to ruin the shot for the bride and groom.

Wedding guests take photos because they want to be able to re-live and share the experience of the day. Camera phones and digital cameras are easy to use and an easy way to send pictures to friends. Be polite and ask permission before taking anyones picture with a cell phone. It invades the privacy of others and is considered rude. If you are posting pictures on Facebook, again, permission from the bridal couple is needed if you intend to tag them.

Many wedding couples who prefer an “Unplugged Wedding” will make arrangements to ensure wedding guests can have a small set of photos available digitally to guests within a few days of the wedding, plus some additionally have photo booths at the reception.

If you are invited to attend an “Unplugged Wedding”, respect and abide by the wishes of the bridal couple. You may be pleasantly surprised that being “unplugged” can be an enjoyable, in the moment experience, plus the bridal couple will remember you as a gracious guest for a lifetime.

Paula Paradis is passionate about perfectly executed events. She directs her attention to the smallest of details, always striving to offer events that will be enjoyed and long remembered by guests. Paula is certified by the Etiquette & Protocol School of West Palm Beach. She is also one half of the Paradis & Foster Event Management, LLC team in Bangor.