Cell phones allow people to capture priceless memories at weddings, but the handheld devices can also put a damper on big day festivities. No bride wants to walk down the aisle with ringing and clicking noises echoing in her ear, just like no guest wants to upset the newlyweds by uploading too many pictures to social media. The fine line between "acceptable" and "unacceptable" cell phone behavior at a wedding can be difficult to discern. While etiquette regarding mobile devices will differ from one ceremony to another, here are few basic guidelines to follow no matter what.
Know the Phone Policy
Sometimes the wedding invitation will specify the cell phone policy. Make sure you understand the lingo. An "unplugged" wedding means absolutely no cell phone use is allowed—even for picture-taking purposes. Maybe the bride and groom want their guests present in the moment instead of glued to a device, or maybe the venue prohibits non-professional photography. No matter the reason, be mindful of the polices and turn off your cell phone (or place it in airplane mode).
Silence Your Cell Phone
As soon as you arrive at the venue, switch your cell phone to silent, even if cell phone use is allowed. You definitely don't want to be remembered as the girl whose ringtone shrilled during the vow exchange, first dance, or cake cutting. If you absolutely need to use your phone during dinner or the ceremony, politely excuse yourself find a space to talk out of earshot.
Be Social Media Savvy
Like with cell phones, some couples may have policies for social media. Don't post any pictures to the Internet without permission from the bride and groom, since some newlyweds understandably want to be the first to share pictures of their big day. If the wedding has a hashtag, feel free to upload images online, but be careful not to morph into a camera-happy paparazzi. Also, do not create your own hashtag for the wedding. The couple may find this disrespectful.
The Timing Is Right
Whether the wedding is plugged or unplugged, certain moments call for all cell phones to be stashed. This includes when the bride walks down the aisle, during the ceremony, and at the dinner table. If the bride and groom encourage phone photography, you may snap a few pictures during these moments—but don't scroll through Instagram instead of listening to the vow exchange, or spend dinner taking selfies.
Don't Be Glued to Your Screen
Remember that weddings are celebrations full of love, fun, and happiness. If you're attached to your device all night, you'll probably miss out on many memorable moments. You can catch up on social media after the reception; spend your night meeting new people and ringing in the newlywed's marriage. Try not to overuse your camera, either; the trained photographer will capture the night's best moments, so you'll be able to look back on the wedding for years to come.