As we roll into 2015, it can almost go without saying that we live in a social media centric world. There's an emphasis on sharing and connecting in almost everything we do.
It's not uncommon to find suggested hashtags hovering at the bottoms of our TV screens, leaving us to be the generation that wonders, "If I go to the gym without tweeting about it, did I go to the gym at all?"
The virtual sharing reaches new heights with monumental events, such as engagements, weddings and babies.
These are the posts on our Instagram and Facebook feeds that receive hundreds of likes and several inevitable eye rolls. It feels natural to share intimate moments with all of our followers, and to an extent, it is.
This is the culture in which we live. We share mundane details of our everyday lives, such as a snapshot of our iced coffees and shoes.
So, why not share the big moments as well? This is the thought process, as subconscious as it may be, and it feels entirely normal to Millennials.
As an engaged female, I've become fully aware of the extent to which social media can be incorporated into the entire wedding planning process. Furthermore, I've embraced a lot of it.
My fiancé and I have a personalized hashtag, which we plan to display at our reception via a kitschy chalkboard. With all of that said, we plan to have a cell phone-free wedding ceremony.
I'm fully aware this will cause some confusion and annoyance from some of our guests, particularly those who are photo snapping enthusiasts, and it may seem crazy to ask over 100 people to put down their iPhones for 30 minutes, but hear me out first.
To all current and future brides, consider these four thoughts before you head down the aisle:
1. Without their phones, your guests will be in the moment with you
It's an unavoidable fact: The very act of Instagramming or tweeting takes you out of the moment, even if just for a split second.
It may not seem like a big deal, but think about the duration of your wedding ceremony in relation to the rest of your life. It is a mere blip in your lifetime.
Don't you want everyone to be 100 percent focused and present?
A guest who is focused on choosing the right filter for her picture may not be watching as the groom sees you for the first time, or the look your parents exchange as you approach the altar. In a wedding ceremony, it's details like this that make it beautiful and personal. You wouldn't want your guests to miss a thing.
2. Let your wedding photographer do his or her job
Imagine trying to get the perfect shot of the bride as she comes down the aisle, only to be photographically cock-blocked by 100 amateur iPhone users. Your wedding photographer is paid to capture all of those beautiful moments, and your aunt Judy is not. Let the professional handle this one.
By urging your guests to keep their phones tucked away, you'll give your photographer more space with which to work. He or she will be able to get all of those great angles without worrying about an iPhone 6 Plus popping into the frame. You'll appreciate this later when you see all of the flawless photos from the ceremony (photos with #nofilter needed).
3. Avoid the paparazzi effect
For many ladies, there's a common reaction to having over a dozen iPhone cameras pointed at you. Smile, chin down, eyes up, suck it in, look hot. Do you really want to be worried about that while walking down the aisle to meet your future husband?
Furthermore, by encouraging a no phone policy, you escape the possibility of intimate (or unflattering) photos being uploaded to Instagram before you even say "I do."
You've invited these select people to your wedding ceremony; they were the ones you chose to watch you make a public commitment to your future spouse. Is it necessary for hundreds of other people to be included before you've even finished your vows?
Think about what you want to share and what you'd like to keep private.
4. Most importantly, you need to be present
On your wedding day, you will obviously be thinking about many things. Your mind will be filled with details from the moment you wake up; it simply comes with the territory.
The ceremony should be a time for you to focus on the bigger picture. You are marrying someone to share the rest of your life with you. Let that sink in for a second.
You don't need any other distractions, as minor as they may seem. For those 20 or 30 minutes, you should be allowed to zoom in on one thing and one thing only: your partner.
In the grand scheme of things, the ceremony will be over in the blink of an eye.
You don't need a status update or an amaro filter to prove that it happened; your memory will speak for itself.