Wedding Do's and Dont's Etiquette

Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman breaks down proper wedding etiquette for guests and the wedding party.

Wedding Etiquette - Home & Family

Bride and Groom Do’s and Don’ts:

1. Don’t ask your guests to give up their phones. Annoying your guests is not a good start to a beautiful occasion. Some people must keep their phones close (parents with small children) and will be distracted throughout the ceremony worrying about a missed emergency. Don’t ask to check their bags or their suit pockets for “evidence”.

2. Do notify your guests of your “unplugged” desires on the wedding website, on the wedding program, and before the ceremony . You can’t put it on your wedding invitation! A small camera icon with a strike through it, positioned tastefully in the program is one way. A tasteful sign as you enter the church is another. Recruit a friend’s child to walk down the aisle with the flower girl and ring bearer with a decorative sign that reads – No technology please. It will either bring a smile to guests face or annoy them – either way it’s a reminder and will get the point across.

3. Do ask the officiant to ask for guests support. The officiant may make a statement before starting the ceremony saying, “Sara and Tom ask that you disconnect from your technology as you participate fully with your eyes and your heart.” It’s difficult to defy a plea from the clergy.

4. Don’t expect fellow guests or your photographer to be the cell phone police. Although you may want others to help you reinforce your wishes, asking a guest to call out another guest is uncomfortable. Trust your friends and family will respect you enough to abide by your request.

5. Do consider allowing your guests an opportunity to take a few pictures at some point during or after the ceremony. Some couples allow pictures before they walk back down the aisle after the ceremony, or at the reception. Others set up a festive photo booth at the reception. Find a method that suits your personal style and comfort level. For those that expect absolutely no photos during the entire wedding event – even of themselves, you can only hope for a miracle!

6. Do let your guests know the parameters. Perhaps you don’t want pictures during the ceremony but don’t mind if they take an Instagram photo of the food at the reception. For some people, it would be unrealistic not to get a picture of a beautiful ocean view because it happens to be your wedding backdrop. Be clear – “No wedding photos of the bride and groom.”

7. Don’t feel the need to give too much information. Minimize the drama. If you have decided to keep your wedding off social medias due to personal circumstances, less explanation is best. You can share your reasons with a few trusted friends, but otherwise, just state your request without the drama.

8. Do think through how you will handle a cell phone cheater. What do you really plan to do if they break your self-imposed tech free law? Decide if it’s worth breaking up a friendship or family relationship over a breach in social media etiquette. Depending on the relationship, and the circumstances for your reason to unplug – the answer will vary.

Wedding Guest Do’s and Don’ts

1. Don’t text the bride or groom on the day of the ceremony asking for directions. Yes, this has happened! While it’s technically not part of the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom are off limits before the wedding.

2. Do turn your cell phone off, rather than on vibrate. The buzzing sound of a phone can be distracting and ruin a magical moment.

3. Do remove your smart watch. If you see your wrist lighting up, you can’t help but be tempted to check your messages or send a reply. Remove the temptation.

4. Don’t post anything on social media without the permission of the bride and groom first. Too often pictures of the bride and groom go up before they have had a chance to enjoy their own photos. A bride also wants to be cast in the best possible light. Unless it’s a random picture that can’t be linked back to the wedding, like a light fixture, or a plant, keep it off your social media feed. And, skip any hashtags or references to the wedding.

5. Don’t assume your exempt from the rules. Close family and friends often feel like they are special. On the contrary, you should be setting the example. Even if you are a parent, close family or friends, you are expected to abide by the same rules.

6. Don’t be surprised when the newly married couple unfriends you on their own social media. If you ignored the many requests to unplug, you may have temporarily or permanently hurt a relationship.

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