Weddings have sure changed in the 10 years ago I’ve been officiating. Technology has advanced and it is usually welcomed. There are also downsides to them.
Technology is an amazing phenomenon. With time, better products are available at lower prices. For example, I bought a 26 inch flat screen TV a few years ago for $270. For the same price, I can purchase a 39 inch TV today. As prices decrease, the technology becomes more accessible to more people. It can quickly become pervasively abundant in our lives.
However, all technology advances do not necessarily mean it is a good thing. In the 10 years of officiating, three devices have become not only pervasive but even maybe invasive.
GPS – Global Positioning Systems help you navigate roads. However, they are only as good as the map software you are using and the information you give it. They are great in the city but can spell disaster when trying to find a location in the countryside. There are so many times when people get lost because they put absolute trust in their GPS. At a recent wedding, a groomsman, bridesmaid and flower girl were all in the same car and arrived 30 minutes late. Please give your guests a map or proper GPS locations with the invitation.
DSLR Cameras – Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras are now everywhere. Ten years ago, some guests had small CCD cameras. It was no big deal. Now they all have DSLR cameras and think they are professional photographers. They get in the way. I’ve asked a guest to get out from being in front of me so the bride could come up! I now routinely ask guests to stay in their seats so that your professional photographer can capture great memories.
Smart Devices – I lump all sorts of connected devices here including phone and tablets. A wedding is an experience not a social media event. You don’t need to be taking pictures, posting on Facebook or Tweeting about the wedding. In fact, brides and grooms are now asking me to direct the audience to not do those things. They want to be the first to Facebook or Tweet about their wedding. I never see some guests’ faces because they are hidden behind a tablet the whole time. And Dad – really. Be in the moment! Yes, I’ve witnessed Dad’s being immersed in recording the event as an observer instead of being a participant to their son or daughter’s marriage.
You may believe I am anti-technology. I am not – just the abuse of it.
One very useful technology device is the mobile phone. It is great to direct those people who got lost with bad GPS directions, to find out where the bride is on route to the venue and for me to call if I get bogged down in traffic on the way to the location. But please – turn it OFF for the duration of the wedding ceremony. OK, well, maybe it’s four troublesome devices.