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Cell phones, Facebook, YouTube—they're all part of our lives. But should they be front and center at your wedding? Increasingly, even social media-savvy brides are saying no.
"When you look out at your guests during your wedding ceremony, you hope to see their smiling faces radiating love back at you, not dozens of tiny screens recording your every move. Or the chime of a ring tone interrupting your vows. Or pictures being uploaded before you get a chance to upload your own," says Randi Zuckerberg, New York Times bestselling author and Editor-in-Chief of Dot Complicated. (And yes, Mark's sister.) "Cell phone use has gotten out of hand at weddings, and it's no wonder brides are getting frustrated. It's natural to want to be able to share your wedding with your network in your own way, on your own timeline."
Still, there's some tact required when asking your wedding guests to refrain from using their smartphones to tweet and Instagram every wedding detail. Zuckerberg offers these tips for brides who want their weddings to be a bit more unplugged:
1. Make a sign. "Consider a sign asking guests to refrain from using their devices," says Zuckerberg. "The wording could be something like 'Welcome to our unplugged wedding: We invite you to be fully present with us and put your cell phone and camera away during the ceremony.' If a sign at the entrance isn't enough of a reminder, consider a little note on each seat or in the program explaining why you hope guests will unplug during the ceremony. Be sure to let guests know that you'll share your professional photos with them later, which is easy to do with Dropbox or other photo sharing services."
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2. Coat check, phone check. "Another option is to have a 'phone-check' station where guests are asked to leave their phones as they enter," Zuckerberg says. "This could be really cute, with flower girls holding decorated baskets at the entrance of the ceremony location and asking guests for their silenced phones. By checking their phone, they could get a raffle ticket for a small prize. Or you could ask the bartender to only give guests a special themed cocktail if they relinquish their phone for the evening." Don't make a big deal if guests balk, however—many simply won't be comfortable handing over their phones.
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Ask the DJ: Another way to discourage your guests from taking photos at inopportune moments? "Ask a member of the band or the DJ to make an announcement sometime during the reception," says Zuckerberg. "Something simple like 'And please, everyone, no flash photos or uploads during the reception. That's what they spent money on the professional for! You'll all have access to all those photos after the wedding.'"
Still, if you're reluctant to lay down rules, another tip is to try to organize the chaos—at least at the reception. "During the reception, it's fun to have everyone taking pictures and capturing little moments that you'd otherwise not have a chance to be part of," Zuckerberg admits. "Create a wedding hashtag that guests can use so you can later browse the candid moments everyone captured. I love the idea of creating a photo memory book after the big day, sharing all the Instagrams and snapshots from your guests."
No, it's not "unplugged" but at least you'll retain some control over the pictures that are taken—photobombs and all!