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Phone cameras increasingly obscure wedding day joy

At the altar of nuptial bliss, a confluence of technology and tradition is rewriting the book on wedding etiquette in the 21st Century.

Along with social media, camera-phones — and the unwitting, snap-happy guests that wield them — are rapidly becoming the wedding industry's bête noire. Wedding photographers, planners, and the bride and grooms themselves are fighting against guests' distinctly modern technological habits.

As cell phone technology evolves, so are the rules for good behaviour, according to one local wedding planner.

“A lot of people ask, particularly during the ceremony, that guests don't take pictures. You want people to focus on that moment,” said Katie Trimingham, 25, who runs her own wedding-planning company, 'All the Trimmings'.

Some nuptials, said Ms Trimingham, are even asking guests to leave their phones outside the church, and for good reason.

“That bride wants her moment as she walks down the aisle, for everyone to ooh and ahh when they see her for the first time, not for people to see everything on Facebook before she reaches the alter.”

While many younger couples are using social media to encourage their guests to take photos, said Ms Trimingham, wait until after the wedding to upload them.

“Nowadays everyone is doing Instagram hash tags about so-and-so's wedding, wanting to encourage it — it really depends on the couple — but I think out of respect, at least during the ceremony, you should not have your phone on. If you do take any pictures, wait until after the wedding to upload them.

“While it's fun and for the most part expected to capture as many candid shots on your phone as you possibly can, just remember you don't want to be 'that' person who has blinded the bride with your flash, or blocked everyone's view of the first kiss because you were standing in the middle of the aisle trying to do the professional photographer's job.”

But it's not just the bride and groom that wedding guests should be respectful of; hired photographers have been left similarly frustrated with the habits inherent in modern, everyday life.

“Leave the photography for the photographer,” added Ms Trimingham.

Echoing her sentiments, one local wedding photographer, who asked not to be named out of respect for his clients, gave a frank assessment of the problems smartphones present at a wedding ceremony.

“It can be really frustrating as the hired professional when you are well positioned far enough away to not be a distraction or encroach on their space to then have wedding guests climb out in front of you,” he said.

“I realise that many guests just don't appreciate the problem it can be, and obviously would never want to get in the way, but with wedding photography you often only have one chance.

“My opinion is that a lot of what is driving this is social media. Guests often seem very anxious to document their day, post images to Facebook and as quickly as possible tag their friends, the bride and groom. I've even read about bridesmaids posting images of the bride to Facebook before the ceremony, which the groom has then seen.”

Beyond spoiling the surprise, he said, it's also about the wedding experience itself.

“The other disturbing part is that guests, friends and sometimes families spend their entire time watching everything unfold through the screen of a device, completely disconnected form what is going on. For the bride and groom to look back at the congregation and see dozens of phones and iPads staring back at them is probably not what they had envisioned.”

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Wedding guests are increasingly using social media and camera phones during the actual ceremony.

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Published October 18, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 17, 2013 at 7:05 pm)

Phone cameras increasingly obscure wedding day joy

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