It’s a breeze – just invite your closest and dearest and an officiate and you and your mate can tie the knot! Not so, and because even small weddings can turn into big bugaboos, there is some essential wedding etiquette that needs to be highlighted for today’s brides, grooms, guests, and families.
Handheld Technology Get’s Rude
When it comes to weddings, a guest ought to avoid using technology to capture the service or any special moment especially if there is a professional working to do so.
A wedding isn’t a concert, so no need to hold up your smartphone or tablet and videotape and Snapchat the betrothed.
Some churches employ some sort of internet and phone hampering device, but even so, just turn off the technology and try to be present in your presence.
**EXAMPLE OF SIGNAGE AT VENUE ENTRANCE: Guests, please respect this intimate moment by not posting pictures on social networks.
When planning the wedding consider putting a sign out asking for devices to be turned off at both the chapel and reception hall, have a groomsmen or bridesmaid ask everyone to refrain from using technology during the service, or have it written into the programs. It might be necessary to do all three.
In the case that people don’t pay attention, don’t make a deal out of it whether you are a guest, a family member, or the bride or groom.
*TIP: It is more of a detraction to correct rude behavior if it is disruptive or hurts feelings. Don’t let someone else’s ill manners turn you from a beauty to a beast.
Don’t Skip the Fine Print
I’m not a stationary nerd, but I do love it. It is tactile. It is a keepsake. It conveys thoughtfulness. But while it is essential for some to send printed invitations, it isn’t viewed widely today.
But while you don’t have to send printed invites to every single person, I believe it shows sensibility and thoughtfulness. It isn’t rushed. It is planned. It is not as easy as uploading your address book with a click. It is more intimate.
Sure, there is an efficiency that comes with e-vites, electronic invitations. But I think it is arrogant to believe all the people you would want to attend are necessarily as wired as you are. In fact, they may let their email go unchecked or their Facebook without updates. That doesn’t make them a bad person.
So thoughtfully think over the decision to skip printed invitations. If you are going to err, I would err on the side that favors this tradition.
TIP: A wedding is not an all-about-the-bride event, but is a coming together of a community and an integration of two families and two circles of friends when a marriage is at its best. This isn’t a time to show off how tech you are by not mailing invites.
Call Them Out, Don’t Facebook’em
Culturally, today, we have gotten very, very comfortable messaging people versus talking to them. But there are times when communicating solely by messaging is wrong, like when you invite someone to be your maid-of-honor or when you need to tell your mother or brother you are engaged.
Yes, you can message people, and it might be the only way to tell them in a timely matter. It might be the only way to get a reply in a timely manner! But what I’ve noticed is if messaging is your only way to communicate with someone, you may be setting the bar way too high to expect them to be at your wedding or be a special person at your wedding.
I think parents were the first ones to start complaining about calling a child and then having the child message them back. It is a boundary and a wall being established either intentionally or accidentally. Fathers and mothers can get too busy as well as siblings and friends.
TIP: Messaging gives convenience, but it also takes away intimacy.
Keep Some Things to Yourself
Oversharing is the biggest problem when it comes to Facebook and more social platforms, so if you are using technology to share your nuptials, consider what to share and how much to share. There will be plenty of people on your friend list that won’t get an invite, so do you want to share to everyone on your list? Consider that some guests don’t want to be in your wedding feed.
Of all the etiquette faux pas that I researched, the posting of photos before a bride or groom post their own seemed to get the biggest red flag, but again that is social media and smartphone technology impacting our lives. I would hope no one would have to be told not to post unflattering wedding photos, but I also have realized some people have no idea that the picture of you scarfing cake is unflattering. I realized that when I got back photos of people with food in their mouths, and that was before people were posting to Facebook.
**TIP: As a guest, don’t post photos and videos that are unflattering and especially don’t post photos and videos before the bride and groom release their own. No one needs to be live tweeted. Put the phone away and just dance yourself!
Especially, don’t share negative, plaintive-tone updates or bad-mouth a service provider. If you can’t take care of problems professionally or personally, do not put it out on the web for all the world to see. It makes you look incompetent or maybe emotionally unstable. And you are dealing with the stress of a wedding, so consider how easy it might be to appear emotionally unstable!
TIP: Post ONLY the positives about your wedding when sharing an online record whether you think you are posting publically or privately.
Because we live in a very fast-paced world – we text, we message, we respond with emoticons, we can’t be expected to share thoughts with large words or long sentences, our attention spans are shortening, we’re overcaffeinated and sleep deprived, and I’ve already probably lost you….
Don’t rush if you are using messaging in any way because it will get confusing. If you have a lot of things you need to go over with anyone regarding your plans, something that requires a conversation, have an actual conversation.
Don’t rush your guests.
Especially if you are having a location wedding, consider getting it on people’s calendars a year in advance. Remember, it might require not only them arranging vacation time, but also they may have to budget for it. And that leads me to the next reason not to let yourself get rushed.
Don’t rush and forget to be appreciative.
Remember you need to be appreciative of other people’s time and efforts, so don’t get so rushed that you forget to be appreciative. This is more of a life rule than just some etiquette for modern life.
In conclusion, DO send print invitations, DO post signs asking people to turn OFF technology and refrain from posting photos and videos, and DO call people when it warrants a conversation. DON’T share negative, complaining-tone updates and DON’T overshare.
Etiquette ultimately is just a fancy word for the things we do to show other people we care about them and respect them.