Good Morning DB Readers and Happy Trendy Tuesday! Each and every year, David’s Bridal interviews brides across the country about various questions surrounding the wedding planning process! This year we asked brides questions about social media at their weddings, and asking their weddings guests to “unplug” from their phones and be in the moment! Check out this great article from The Daily News that talks all about our statistics and what brides really think!
Brides and grooms are saying, “I don’t” — to guests tweeting, texting and Instagramming at their weddings.
Celebs such as Michael Jordan and Kim Kardashian enforce an Internet blackout so they can control pictures of their weddings — and likely sell them to the highest bidder. And quasi-name Nick Denton, founder of the gossip site Gawker, required guests to check their phones at his wedding at the American Museum of Natural History in May.
But the unplugged wedding trend is trickling down to every day ceremonies.
Wendy Lee Govoni-Capurso, 32, from the Financial District, kept her May nups offline to keep the peace between her divorced parents. She held three weddings, inviting her father and stepmother to one and her mother and stepfather to another, with the third at City Hall to make the union official.
“I didn’t want anything posted until we were done with all three because I didn’t want anyone to feel left out,” says Govoni-Capurso, who admits she’s a Facebook junkie.
Enforcing the ban was easier said than done. Her wedding photographer broke the rule by uploading a shot to Instagram. Some guests followed, too. But for the most part, the ban held.
“They respected what I was trying to do,” Govoni-Capurso says.
Still, it’s an age of hyperconnectivity, so many social media-friendly couples are encouraging webcasting of their weddings, even creating hashtags for their guests to share their pictures on Facebook and Twitter.
But unplugged couples don’t “like” that one bit.
Kimberly Burgess (L) wrote out a list of rules for her guests (R) — asking them to put their shiny electronics down.
“(Many clients) want nothing to do with any kind of social media, anything that has to do with Facebooking, hashtagging,” says Manhattan wedding planner Ellen Kostman, founder of Sidekick Events. “They are celebrating with the chosen people that they’ve invited, and they’re not opening this up to the world.”
Before cell phones, all weddings were “unplugged” — but now 37% of brides surveyed by wedding website The Knot said they will consider formalizing the no-tech wedlock.
“They see it at celebrity weddings and people think, ‘I should feel like a celebrity on my wedding day,’” says Jamie Miles, editor of TheKnot.com. “So they feel comfortable asking for things celebrities ask for, because it’s their special day, too.”
The key to getting guests to turn off their phones without blowing their tops is to keep them informed about your social-media policy early and often. Put a bulletin on your wedding website, add a line to the invitation and consider having your officiant make an announcement at the beginning of the service.
Kimberly Burgess, 22, who wed in May, painted a chalkboard sign welcoming guests to her unplugged wedding, asking them to please put all electronic devices away. She also added a reminder in her program so she wouldn’t have to compete with Twitter for their attention.
“We wanted our guests to be present with us in this special moment in our lives, and to just put their phones and cameras down and enjoy it,” she said.
Her request raised some eyebrows at first, but Burgess says the offline ceremony was a big success.
“A lot of guests said they thought it was really nice, and they actually enjoyed the ceremony without worrying about taking pictures,” she says. “It sets a different vibe when people are actually talking to each other, instead of on their phones.”
Felice Barash Gebhardt asked her guests to put their cellphones away during her May ceremony.
Unplugged weddings also make better pictures. Nothing is more heartbreaking than some amateur ruining a professional photographer’s shot by blocking the first kiss or first dance.
“Sometimes, I’m trying to get a wide shot of the bride walking down the aisle, and guests get in the way trying to take their own pictures,” says photographer Jasmine Lee, who’s shot three unplugged weddings already this year, and has two more coming up. “Or I’m trying to capture the parents’ reaction, but one’s got a cell phone in front of their face.”
Yet when she shot the Burgess wedding, she was able to get lovely candids of the guests — and unobstructed shots of the newlyweds.
“Everyone was sitting in their seats, attentive and listening, and I was able to catch an array of emotions,” she says. “My pictures are probably going to be better quality than what the guests would have gotten on their phones.”
No bride wants to see half her family crouched over their phones and texting during one of the most important moments in her life.
“I absolutely loved that everybody’s eyes were looking forward; there were no iPads or cameras or technology in front of their faces, and no one was looking down or distracted,” says newlywed Felice Barash Gebhardt, 29, who had a May picture-perfect wedding.
Unplugged weddings remain the minority, yet even those embracing social media are controlling how guests use it. A recent study by David’s Bridal found that 44% of brides are sticklers for digital rules, with 58% believing the bride and groom should post the first picture from their wedding.
Astoria bride-to-be Sharon Paculor, 35, for example, won’t allow guests to share her wedding’s location on Foursquare or Facebook.
“It’s a secret location … on an island in Hawaii, at a private residence … so no social media check-ins are allowed,” she says.
Guests should say, “I do,” to the bride’s rules on the big day. And for those who have a problem unplugging for an afternoon, Gebhardt offers this piece of advice: “If you love your phone that much that you can’t put it down for an hour, why don’t you marry it?”