April 14, 2014— -- Call it the anti #hashtag wedding.
While many brides and grooms ask guests to Instagram every moment of the big day, not everybody wants to share the most intimate moment of their life with the social media world. And come to think of it, would it be too much to ask to have the guests actually focus on them -– the couple -– instead of their Twitter feeds for just a few moments?
But it turns out this seemingly simple request -– one that's gained momentum over the past five years and continues to grow in popularity -– is fraught with potential social pitfalls, and not that kind that take place online. Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute and co-author of the book Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition, shared with ABC News six tips for successfully requesting guests power down as you gear up for your big day.
It's a fine request for the ceremony, but not the reception
A wedding ceremony, Post said, is "solemn, even if it's not religious," she said. For that reason, it's fine to ask guests to put away the phones for this portion of the evening. The reception, typically more of a party atmosphere, is another story.
Make the announcement well in advance
The wedding web site is a perfectly reasonable to place to ask guests to power down during the nuptials, Post said.
And then follow up at the ceremony
"It's not a bad idea to put it [the request] in the [wedding] program as well," Post said. She said it is also fine to have someone in an official position – either an officiate of member of the wedding part – make an announcement before the wedding begins. "It's a very fair reminder not to distract from the ceremony."
Unless you're a celebrity, don't confiscate the phones
Unless you-re an "A-list" celeb, asking guests to turn over their phones is "taking it too far," said Post. "Trust your friends will respect your wishes and do what you ask," she said. And if they don't? Never interrupt the ceremony to confront the offender.
Ask for what you want
Is it no cell phone calls? No texting? Or no photos, plus no Facebooking or Instagraming? Post said couples should be very clear with their guests on their wishes. What may seem innocuous to a guest -- lie taking a photo and posting it to Facebook -– may be the exact scenario a bride who wasn't able to invite every friend she wanted to the wedding – is hoping to avoid.
And above all, don't do it yourself.
If it seems hard to believe, it actually happened – a bride checked her phone during her wedding. You can see the YouTube video here.
While Post said some brides and grooms who write their own vows may use their phones as the modern-day alternative to the piece of paper kept handy as not to forget what they want to say, it's just better all around to leave the phone at home. "It just does not look good."