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What is proper phone etiquette at a wedding?

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

Smart phones have revolutionised the world. They keep us connected, informed and entertained. We can capture a moment in an instant and share it with the world just as quickly, so when it comes to weddings; What is the proper etiquette for these devices?

There is a fine line between acceptable and unacceptable use of a phone at a wedding, lets explore.


Image by Jesi Peterson

Pre Ceremony:

You arrive at the wedding venue, there is chiffon, bronzer and fake tan as far as the eye can see, in the background the groom paces nervously. You see your long lost Aunty Edna and she demands a picture with her favourite niece or nephew. Taking snaps of the ceremony set up, location and close family and friends is not an issue, and phone use at this point is completely acceptable. Should you upload these photos to Instagram? Probably not yet.

This is the point however, that everyone should be putting their phones on silent, you don’t want to be the one receiving a telemarketing call during the vows. Good luck living that one down.



Image by Thomas Stewart Photography


Ceremony:

You’re all dressed up, you’ve fixed that hair just right, found the seat with the best view so now I want you to do something and put your phone in your pocket.


It’s a big day. It’s probably (hopefully), the only time you’ll get to see your best friend, family friend or second cousin walk down the aisle in a white gown. Everything looks so desperately Instagram-worthy (#AmyAndBenGetWedForevs). It’s beyond tempting to try to document those vows or that kiss—if you don’t act quickly, you’ll miss your shot!


Take a deep breath and put the phone away.


This is the time to be present in the moment. The bride and groom have hired a professional photographer to capture this moment and the last thing a photographer wants is people getting in the way, flashes going off at the wrong time or photos of the ceremony guests all looking at a hundred little screen. The photo you take on your iPhone (even after all the filters) will not compare to the real thing. Not just that but you don’t want to block the view from people behind you, they want to witness this moment too.


If you have brought your little ones with you and they can’t sit still without a screen in front of their face, then you probably should think about leaving them with a babysitter.


We know there will inevitably be a few shots taken, but if your camera is attached to a tablet don’t you dare think about it bringing that monstrosity out. Not matter what.


Most brides and grooms generally have a policy about the phone use at the ceremony, so it is best check on that in advance.



phones at wedding ceremony

Image by Ellen Roy


Post ceremony:

The “I do’s” have been did, the happy couple has smooched and gone back down the aisle, go ahead and pull out that phone. You’ve done so well that you’ve earned a “just-witnessed-the-sweetest-wedding-ever” selfie, complete with still-misty eyes.

The bride, groom and photographer will now disappear into the distance to capture the newly wedded bliss. So you have an hour or so to mingle and gush over how beautiful the ceremony was.

If you were one of the guests that took a sneaky shot of the ceremony in action, you’d better think twice about uploading that photo to Instagram or anywhere else for that matter. The bride and groom should be the ones to have the privilege of uploading the first shots. Don’t take that moment away from them.



Image by sashareiko


Reception:

Now, you go get yourself a prime spot to capture the happy couple as they enter the reception, dance those first dances and cry-laugh in reaction to the toasts. The professional photographer is on their own at this point; the reception is fair picture-taking game.

Just don’t spend all night on your phone.

You can catch up on social media after the reception; any phone calls can be answered but please step away from the table. Spend your night meeting new people and ringing in the newlywed's marriage.



There are exceptions to every rule and some newly weds encourage photos at their weddings and if they do then go snap happy all you want. If there is a hashtag set up specifically for the event, make sure to use it when uploading.

Enjoy the day, enjoy the ceremony and think twice if that blurry photo, taken from 15 meters away, that you'll probably never look at again, is really worth it.

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