My job: To let your guests experience the wedding.
In a world where most of us are on the spectrum of ADHD, we love the distraction of our little worlds in a box. So much so that it has become difficult to be 100% present.
Everyone enjoys the distraction of preserving the moments and sharing them instantly with friends. Which sounds amazing until the groom sees his bride before the ceremony because a bridesmaid couldn't resist sharing how beautiful she looked in the dress. Or your guests miss that first kiss because they couldn't get their DSLR to focus properly. Or you (the bride) look back at your invited loved ones and all you see are little gray boxes instead of approving smiles.
When you invite guests to your wedding, you want them to participate - to be part of the moment, right? Otherwise, you could have simply live streamed the event (and saved a lot of money)!
So how do you get people to put away their cell phones and actually be "present" at your wedding instead of viewing it through the tiny OLED screen? How do you help them get in touch with the reality of the wedding instead of watching a reality TV show on their phones?
How do you encourage them to stay present throughout the entire wedding rather than drifting off into reviewing the photos they have taken, or worse; get lost in their mobile games?
Of course, the easiest way is to simply say "no photos". After all, you hire a photographer so your guests don't have to take pictures - so your guests are free to experience the wedding first hand. They can always see those photos later in the on-line gallery!
And have you seen cell phone photos from guests at a wedding? Without some knowledge of photography, many of those photos are poorly lit, badly composed and often unflattering, even if they were taken right beside the photographer taking the same shot. So why take the chance of those photos being posted on social media when you can post the good ones from your photographer?
If you are concerned that there won't be photos for weeks following the wedding, talk to your photographer about getting just a few right away so you can share some yourself.
Still, it may be hard to wrench those cell phones from people's clenched hands. So are there other ways?
Another way to approach the problem is to ask guests to limit themselves. Suggest they are allowed to take just two photos during the ceremony. This will challenge them to think about the best photo to take; only capturing the best moments. They may also concentrate more on what is happening while they look for the best time to take those two photos.
Whatever you decide, be sure to communicate it with your guests. Have a sign at the entrance to your ceremony, or have your ushers remind people. Put a note in your invitation or have your officiant make an announcement at the beginning of the ceremony.
Your guests may actually find that they appreciated the wedding even more as they can take in all the preparations you have made, all the little moments that make it special, and not miss a single second because they were distracted by their device.
Still more importantly, their smiles will not be hidden from you because of a little box held in front of their faces. Your guests will be free to enjoy your wedding "unplugged".