By Rev. Alan Viau
Weddings have sure changed in the 10 years that I’ve been officiating. Technology has advanced, and it is usually welcomed, but there are also downsides to it.
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 pervasive and abundant in our lives.
However, all technological advances are good things. In the 10 years of officiating, three devices have become not only pervasive but maybe even invasive.
GPS – Global Positioning Systems help you navigate roads. However, they are only as good as the mapping software you are using and the information you input. GPS’s are great in the city but can spell disaster when trying to find a location in the countryside. There have been many times when people got 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 everywhere now. 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 even had to ask a guest to get out from in front of me so the bride could come up! I now routinely ask guests to stay in their seats so that the professional photographer can capture the great memories.
Smart Devices – I lump all sorts of connected devices here, including phones 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 not to 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 Dads being immersed in recording the event as an observer instead of being a participant in their son or daughter’s marriage.
You may believe I am anti-technology. I am not – just against the abuse of it.
One very useful technological device is the mobile phone. It is great for directing 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.