Do I have to surrender my cell phone at my brother's wedding?
April 20, 2017 9:18 AM   Subscribe

My younger brother's fiancée recently sent an email to attendees of their wedding, which will be in a couple of months. It was a friendly reminder of various logistical details, and included the following stipulation: "We have chosen to make our wedding a cell phone-free event. You can leave your cell phone in your car or check it in with one of our gracious cell phone valets!"

I think it's totally reasonable to ask guests not to take cell phone photos or video during the ceremony itself, and I also think it's reasonable to draw boundaries around photos of the reception, including "please don't take any."

That said, I strongly resent the implication that guests can't be trusted to abide by those requests such that they're going to be—what, having their "cell phone valets" patting people down? And further more, the whiff of "people spend too much time staring at their phones!"-type moralism I'm getting off of this whole thing is wrinkling my nose something fierce.

In the interest of disclosure: My brother is 15 years younger than me and there's definitely an undercurrent of "don't tell me what to do, you CHILD" in my emotional reaction to this.

My actual questions:

1. Am I justified in ignoring this request, assuming I do so discreetly?

2. Is it worth it to point out, to my brother and/or his fiancée, as politely as I can manage, how patronizing/infantilizing this arrangement is?

BONUS QUESTION: This is ridiculous and insufferable, right? (Please only answer the BONUS QUESTION if you agree with me that it's ridiculous & insufferable.)
posted by Sokka shot first to Human Relations (88 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
first: yes: ridiculous and insufferable. I say yes, ignore and don't tell anyone.

Don't bother trying to explain to them. Someone else will do it for you I'm sure, lol.

It's their stupid day.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 9:21 AM on April 20 [21 favorites]

Ignore it but don't say anything. But I'd at least turn my phone off throughout.

I assume that, because he is 15 years younger, this is primarily aimed at other people who are 15 years younger, and that those people have been rude at repeated events that he attended recently. In other words, this doesn't seem like it's about you. So while I do find it paternalistic, I wouldn't take it personally.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 9:22 AM on April 20 [39 favorites]

Dude, just leave your phone in the car.
posted by papayaninja at 9:23 AM on April 20 [123 favorites]

Nah. I think this is a cool concept. Get off the phone, enjoy some time IRL with your family.

What's so important on your phone that you can't hand it off a few hours?*

*unless you need to be in touch with the outside world for emergency purposes or, to keep in touch with your kids, etc.
posted by slateyness at 9:24 AM on April 20 [22 favorites]

In other words, I think there has been a substantial cultural shift in the way people use their phones in the last 15 years. What you find obvious might not be obvious to his friends who are his age.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 9:26 AM on April 20 [13 favorites]

That said, I strongly resent the implication that guests can't be trusted to abide by those requests...

Not that I don't think this isn't a weird request but they absolutely cannot. Not even a little.
posted by griphus at 9:26 AM on April 20 [124 favorites]

1) It is rude to tell guests what to do.

2) On the other hand I empathize with this request because people are out of control with their phones, and cell phone photography can interfere with the pro's shots.

3) I would keep your phone but turn it off. Not on silent, OFF, so there's no chance of noise or bright/flashing screens.
posted by lalex at 9:27 AM on April 20 [9 favorites]

To slateyness's point, you may want to point out to them that if guests have kids or anyone else they're responsible for, they may need to be reachable in an emergency. I wouldn't mind surrendering my phone if there were a very clear plan in place for getting ahold of me (i.e. there were a Getting Ahold of me in an Emergency Valet as well, reachable at XXX-XXX-XXXX.) So consider pointing out that angle to them -- they might either rethink their plan or come up with something workable.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:27 AM on April 20 [15 favorites]

Just leave your phone in the car for the ceremony. If you can't bear to be parted from it for an entire day, put it back in your pocket on silent for the reception.
posted by colfax at 9:28 AM on April 20

this is primarily aimed at other people who are 15 years younger, and that those people have been rude at repeated events

Or, it's aimed at the older attendees, who, in my experience, are far more likely to ruin a moment with their blaring "cute" ringtones of their grandchildren shouting some nonsense and their fire-of-1000-suns screen brightness.

To the question, if you're going to fiddle with your phone for non-emergency things, that seems rude if they've asked you nicely not to and other guests have acquiesced. If you're not going to fiddle with your phone, you may as well leave it in the car.
posted by donnagirl at 9:30 AM on April 20 [51 favorites]

I would take my phone, keep it on silent (not vibrate and not any kind of variation of Do Not Disturb mode that has exceptions) and check it in the bathroom stall if necessary. I would not say anything to anyone about this.
posted by blackzinfandel at 9:30 AM on April 20 [35 favorites]

I think you're reading a lot of things into this that aren't actually in it.

Does it say the reason they don't want cell phones is so that people won't take pictures?

Does it say anyone's going to be patting people down? It sounds like they're providing that as an option for people who don't trust leaving their phone in the car or who need to have access to it to call the babysitter or if the babysitter calls, not that there's going to be some kind of cell phone security conducting bag checks.

Ignore it if you want to, but if your phone comes out of your bag for any reason during the event, ask yourself "is this text message more important than being in the moment at my brother's wedding?"

The request itself is a little pretentious -- it chaps my ass when bands make the no cell phones request at shows -- but if you haven't been to a party where half the people have their phones glued to their hands lately, then you're more fortunate than most of the world.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:30 AM on April 20 [8 favorites]

I wish more people would do this sort of request, actually. Get off the phone, don't watch a football match during the party, and interact with people around you instead. If someone needs a phone for emergency purposes, then that is fair enough and a discreet note would sort that out.

It's their party and it's one evening. I don't see the big, terrible ordeal here.
posted by kariebookish at 9:31 AM on April 20 [27 favorites]

That said, I strongly resent the implication that guests can't be trusted to abide by those requests...
Not that I don't think this isn't a weird request but they absolutely cannot. Not even a little.

Agreed 1000%. I went to a wedding a few weeks ago and the couple politely requested that guests not take phone photos during the ceremony. You guessed it, folks were Facebooking up a storm from the instant the bride appeared.

I personally wouldn't surrender my phone OR leave it in my car, but I'd turn it off upon arrival and keep it out of sight in my purse.
posted by anderjen at 9:33 AM on April 20 [12 favorites]

It's REALLY HARD for people to disconnect with their phones. Like, even with the best of intentions. Especially if they're of a generation where cell phone has been a part of their whole adult lives. I see this as an attempt to limit the cognitive load of people being at the wedding repeating a pattern of "I'm going to check my phone really fast--wait, I'm not supposed to--shit." every 15 minutes, so they can focus on being present.

Also, they absolutely cannot trust people to abide by this! Think of all the terrible ways wedding guests behave already, then think about how trivial this request seems even to you so that you're considering disregarding your sibling's minor request AT HIS WEDDING. People are absolutely going to break the rules because it won't seem like a big deal to them to have their phones out. However, the couple getting married clearly cares about this. This is a more thoughtful approach than having to spend your own wedding stopping people from Instagramming everything.

The attitude that it's rude to tell wedding guests what to do is bizarre to me. Do we not have dress code guidelines for weddings? Do we not have a million rules about how you as a guest show up to a wedding (bring a present! don't wear white!)? The fact that this is a more unusual custom doesn't mean you should just disregard it. It's weird to me that you're basically wanting to hold onto your phone out of spite. You're 15 years older than him--act like it.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 9:33 AM on April 20 [84 favorites]

This is so stupid. What are you, a toddler?

I would resent the hell out of this. Hell, I do resent the hell out of this and it's not even happening to me.
posted by kbanas at 9:34 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]

1. I'd say you're justified in ignoring the request only if you legitimately need to be able to receive emergency calls or texts. If you feel confident you can ignore the request in a way that guarantees your brother and the bride won't find out, then there's no harm done and you have my permission. But what are you expecting to use your phone for that can't wait a few hours and is more important to you than your brother's wedding?
2. No.
posted by Redstart at 9:35 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]

I would keep my phone with me on silent and check it in the bathroom like everyone else will. I'm not leaving my many hundred dollar pocket computer in a car or with an unknown person. I wouldn't tell him or make it a fight. And I would not be taking out the phone anywhere visible at all either, because that is clearly important to him.

NB: if you have a reason to need phone access -- children, you're waiting for a liver, etc -- you can just tell him that.

My biggest thing would be that maybe I'd want a photo of me + date all dolled up for the wedding, and immediately/free, not from the wedding photographer, but you can find a place to do that probably.
posted by jeather at 9:35 AM on April 20 [23 favorites]

Nah, some people have no self-control around this kind of stuff, myself included. Leaving it in the car is an easy answer. If you're not going to use it, why bring it? If you can't help but use it, then you're the kind of person this is aimed at. But it's probably not; it's probably aimed at the people who can easily imagine all the excessive uses of cell phones and appreciate or at least understand this.

If there's an overriding concern -- you're a doctor on call, your children are home with the babysitter -- then I think it's appropriate to ask for an exception or some other accommodation.
posted by salvia at 9:36 AM on April 20 [9 favorites]

Am I justified in ignoring this request, assuming I do so discreetly?

Nope. Their party. Their event. Comport yourself as they request or don't go.

2. Is it worth it to point out, to my brother and/or his fiancée, as politely as I can manage, how patronizing/infantilizing this arrangement is?

Not unless you really enjoy bitter, angry arguments about very minor things.

Honestly, I am thinking this is not really about cell phones or weddings? And maybe don't project whatever this might be really about onto their wedding day?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:36 AM on April 20 [38 favorites]

You know yourself. If you can leave the phone entirely alone while it's still on your person, do that. It's reasonable, and now common, to request that people lay off their phones at such events.

If you can't, then do whatever it takes to abide by their request.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 9:44 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]

This feels like a pretty simple procedural question wrapped up in a lot of the exact sort of larger family/sibling context that makes simple procedural shit more difficult than it needs to be when family is involved. Try and slice this situation into two pieces:

1. Is it logistically workable for you to not have your phone on you for a few hours during this event.

2. Is the request stupid or rude or galling or unreasonable or a power play or or or...

If the answer to the first point is "yes", leave your phone in your car. If the answer is "no", it's for a good reason that has nothing to do with anything in the second point. Keep your phone with you, explain that reason as necessary, and be as discreet as possible during and unequivocally apologetic after any this-is-a-legit-emergency event that causes you to have to use your phone after all.

Nothing in the second point affects any of that decision-making. It can be the stupidest, most ham-handed, utterly this-is-so-LIKE-my-brother thing in the world and that doesn't make picking a fight about it at your brother's wedding a good idea.

Basically, be as annoyed as you want about it but don't mistake your annoyance for a good reason to refuse to abide by someone's otherwise trivially accomplishable request about their wedding.
posted by cortex at 9:45 AM on April 20 [64 favorites]

Jesus, cortex, not you too.

This is VERY MUCH not just about cell phones or weddings, which is why I wanted to ask this question in isolation to extract its potential reasonable-ness from my gross messy judgmental feelings about a bunch of other stuff.

This is all extremely helpful perspective. I will grit my teeth and abide by my holier-than-thou militantly-vegan everything-wrong-with-privileged-white-liberals baby brother's wishes on his wedding, deeply resenting every insufferably self-righteous moment of it. 👍🏼
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:46 AM on April 20 [55 favorites]

I for one think it's a brilliant idea. It's their event. Follow their requests or don't go.

Seriously. Put phone in car, or leave it with the phone valet (cute!) for a few hours. Unless you're some kinda emergency personnel, I don't see why.
posted by TrinsicWS at 9:47 AM on April 20 [8 favorites]

Wait, this is for the whole wedding and not just the ceremony? Hmmmmmmmm.
posted by lalex at 9:48 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Yeah, personally, I would roll my eyes and leave my phone in my car, assuming my wife wasn't going. If my wife and I were both going, that would mean the kids were with a babysitter and you can bet your ass that at least one of us would be sneaking our phone in. And it would be on (vibrate).

It's an unreasonable request. But then, asking people to limit their phone use to emergencies is not unreasonable, but it would be thoroughly ignored. Honestly, you should maybe give your brother some credit for the possibility that he is totally expecting people to sneak their phones in anyway, and that he's fine with that and just hoping that the result is that they do in fact limit their use to legit emergencies.

No matter how you roll, there is nothing to be gained by telling him that the request is insulting. As others have said, some other guest is guaranteed to do that for you, so why subject yourself to the conversation.
posted by 256 at 9:48 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]

Wait, this is for the whole wedding and not just the ceremony?

posted by Sokka shot first at 9:52 AM on April 20

1. Am I justified in ignoring this request, assuming I do so discreetly?
No - it's his day and he gets to set the rule.

2. Is it worth it to point out, to my brother and/or his fiancée, as politely as I can manage, how patronizing/infantilizing this arrangement is?
You could try with the brother, I definitely would not with the fiancée.

BONUS QUESTION: This is ridiculous and insufferable, right?
Yep.... they're saying that it's not okay to pay attention to anyone else but them, for even a second, for the whole time you're there; you must either be interacting with them, or bored. They think they're Kanye, but they're not Kanye. Maybe bring a hardcover copy of the new Dave Eggers book and kick up your feet and dive into that sucker for a little while.
posted by ftm at 9:55 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]

Ceremony - fine to ask people not to use them, rude to confiscate them.
Reception - rude to ask people not to use them

What are they going to do when someone's phone goes missing?
posted by soelo at 9:59 AM on April 20 [9 favorites]

1 - Yes, provided that by "discreetly" you mean that your phone will be kept in your pocket/purse for the entire event and not taken out until you are back in your car on your way home. They care about the disruption caused by using the device, not it's mere existence.

2 - No, you're just going to start a fight that will go nowhere.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:00 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Putting aside that this is obviously about more than the phone, if this was someone in my family I would -

1. Feel a little irritated, because I don't think I need to check my phone or leave it in the car in order to behave;

2. Immediately remember all of the times when I was also irritated because there are always assholes who don't behave - who don't turn their ringers off, who get in the way by waving their huge smartphones in the air to take (flash!) photos, who are too addicted to messages and candy crush to pay attention to what's really going on;

3. Take a deep breath and tell myself that this rule probably isn't aimed at me;

4. Either do what he says, or have a nice, respectful conversation with where I didn't automatically assume that the most rigid, inflexible version of these rules imaginable would be enforced. I.e. "I understand why you have the rule, but I really need to be in contact with the baby sitter in case of an emergency and I don't feel comfortable leaving it to the valet. I can set it to vibrate if she calls, and instruct her to only call if there's a genuine emergency..."

5. Get bored sometime during the ceremony and wish I could check my messages or play candy crush, and then be sort of embarrassed when I realized this rule totally was aimed at me after all ...
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:02 AM on April 20 [62 favorites]

I do hope that they have at least thought this through enough to ensure that the venue has very large bathrooms...
posted by 256 at 10:08 AM on April 20 [7 favorites]

This isn't a reasonable request to make of your guests, it's completely rude to try to control people in this way. Just be polite and don't take any pictures or play with your phone during the ceremony. The bride and groom are going to be way too busy at the reception to be policing who has their phone with them and who doesn't.
posted by cakelite at 10:13 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]

I was issued a similar ultimatum and I sent one in return, I'd either be there with my phone or I wouldn't be there. My phone and I attended the event and it stayed in my purse aside from one repeat call (on silent, but to ensure it wasn't an emergency) and one check while using restroom. To me it's similar to other things, like alcohol. The solution is, don't invite people who you can't trust to behave, not issue ridiculous rules on other adults.

And yes, it's ridiculous. Just because it's your event doesn't mean you get to own all elements of everyone else's day. I don't travel by car, should I not have my phone while in transit either? What about all other electronic devices? Can I not have my Kindle either to read? Weddingzillas are unattractive.
posted by TravellingCari at 10:17 AM on April 20 [18 favorites]

I work in theater off and on. I once did a production in which it was entirely imperative that the space remain pitch black. No cell phones, not even any glow in the dark watches. From my general experience and that one in particular:

That said, I strongly resent the implication that guests can't be trusted to abide by those requests

They can't. Not even a little bit. Perhaps even especially the ones who think they can do so discretely. If the ostensibly discerning, respectful, educated, theatergoing public thinks they can discretely check their texts (every performance, this happened) in a 100% black, 0% lit theater sat in the round, then drunk aunt Edna sure isn't going to be able to resist doing the same at the very least or more likely taking her own Facebook selfies.

If you're absolutely sure that, even though for some reason you need to have your phone physically on you, you can still not ever take it out or look at it once, then fine, but if you're wrong, you'll be a huge asshole for multiple reasons.
posted by cmoj at 10:20 AM on April 20 [26 favorites]

I wish more people would do this sort of request, actually. Get off the phone, don't watch a football match during the party, and interact with people around you instead.

Goes both ways, don't schedule an event during football playoffs. Yes, we watched the game during the cocktail hour. Yes, it was in the maid of honor's speech. You're not necessarily the center of your guests' universe, the world doesn't revolve around your party.
posted by TravellingCari at 10:20 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]

I don't know why your brother and his spouse-to-be have made this request, but, I am friends with more than one professional wedding photographer so I can tell you that it is definitely possible that the couple is making this request of their guests at the request of their photographer. People at weddings are INSANE about jumping in front of the professional photographer to get their cruddy cell phone shots, preventing the couple from getting the professional stills / video they have paid for. I generally hate to tell guests at parties of mine what to do, but if I were getting married over again in this decade I would be honestly tempted to impose a cell phone ban. Like there would be no dress code and no seating cards and no gift registry and definitely no dumb expensive terrible bridesmaids' dresses at my imaginary wedding, but there might be a cell phone ban.
posted by BlueJae at 10:22 AM on April 20 [15 favorites]

At two of the weddings I attended last year, one or two family members and/or guests lunged in front of the hired photographer during key moments in the ceremony, and into shots during the reception that the couple specifically requested the photographer capture. Both ceremonies politely but firmly (and repeatedly) asked attendees to put their phones away and just enjoy themselves. Some people just won't listen. The couple likely (a) has seen this happen at weddings and/or (b) paid a lot for a photographer to capture their wedding how they want it to be captured.

I can't say I would do the same thing, but I definitely can see where they're coming from here, and would respect their wishes.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:22 AM on April 20 [17 favorites]

As someone who got married last month and tried the "hey, we are all adults, I will just have the officiant politely ask guests not to take phones out during the ceremony" route, I can tell you that it was Fail City. My photographer couldn't get any good shots of the guests at the ceremony because fully 15% of the guests were obscuring their faces with phones (and iPads, blergh) trying to take the videos and photos we asked them not to take (then shared them on FB, which I was not thrilled about either, because it was a small wedding and I couldn't invite everyone I wanted to invite.) People are excited at weddings which exacerbates the very human tendency to do whatever they want.

Also, I can report from the front that weddings bring up all sorts of stuff for family members and it is okay to grit your teeth and think these people are insufferable and overbearing. But maybe they just want good photos of their beloved guests and some privacy on social media and are realistic about human limitations. Both things can be true!
posted by *s at 10:24 AM on April 20 [29 favorites]

This question has been answered! I have made it clear that I will do as requested! Please stop calling me an asshole for asking it. I am a member of this community and it's not making me feel great. Thanks!
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:24 AM on April 20 [27 favorites]

Uh they aren't doing patdowns. They want you to not have the phone out during the wedding. Ie no taking photos, no staring at it during the ceremony, no withdrawing from the party and making table conversation weird because you're distracted with your phone. They know that nobody can be trusted with these (simple, totally reasonable) requests because that is the nature of smartphones. So they are saying "don't have it with you" in order to make it possible for people to behave themselves.

Nobody will know or care if it's on vibrate in your pocket in case the babysitter calls and you check your facebook while you're in the bathroom. Don't make it a thing.

Your brother and his fiancee may be the absolute worst in every other way (I get it, I believe you, family is always crazy-making and the type you describe is a bona fide PITA) but the request to put your damn camera away for the duration of a wedding is not unreasonable.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:24 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]

I have, um, somewhat similarly contentious sibling dynamics, and am soon to deal with a wedding ... so while I don't agree that cell phone quarantining is ridiculous, I absolutely have similar reactions as you in general, to many requests/interactions.

I have to say, I agree with Cortex's approach. Cortex has verbalized what I try (hard) to do: approach it as a logistical thing, and acknowledge my feelings (often, completely opposite) separately.

I utterly, completely understand the feeling that every last interaction pulls your patience that thin, and the urge to put your foot down (ie, have boundaries). Believe me, I'm right there. Just remember that at the end of the day, you get to go home to your own life, which is the way you want it, and your own people.
posted by Dashy at 10:24 AM on April 20 [9 favorites]

I feel like there's sort of an underlying question of whether a wedding is for the couple or for the people who are invited, and the two camps in responses here divide up along those lines. Me, I find a request like this that ask people not to do something (dumb or not) that they do habitually all the time turns the guests into props in an airless tableau, but I guess that's how some people conceive of their weddings and there's not much use getting into a fight about it.
posted by Smearcase at 10:26 AM on April 20 [13 favorites]

I'm an asshole, so I'd honor the request and leave my phone in the car, then take lots of flash pictures with my big camera that I now have to use instead of my discreet little phone. (and I'm unskilled with using a flash well, so the pictures won't even turn out great).

A wedding isn't for the couple. The point of a party is for people to have a good time. If the happy couple just wants a day about themselves, then they should elope.
posted by booooooze at 10:36 AM on April 20 [10 favorites]

You're not an asshole, just unrealistic about people viz a viz phones. (Or I don't know, you might be an asshole, just like you might have a tomato garden, but I don't see evidence of either in your question.)

Re 1. No - it's their day & they're not wrong about how people are. And big whoop, you have to talk to the people at your table, terrifying...

2. Is it worth it to point out, to my brother and/or his fiancée, as politely as I can manage, how patronizing/infantilizing this arrangement is?

Especially no! Hash the underlying sibling stuff out after their honeymoon, maybe with a counsellor nearby, and keep his wife right out of it.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:37 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't surrender my phone or leave it in the car, but I would be compassionate to the couple who I presume are trying to navigate the substantial rudeness of others (not you, obvi). Presumably they want a wedding where people are focused on fun, family, and friends, and not on winning Instagram, but we all know that saying "keep your phone use to a minimum" won't work at all so they had to do something more drastic to get the rude people to follow a simple request: be present mentally and don't let smartphones get in the way of the event. That's incredibly difficult to accomplish with certain groups, so maybe they know their friends and are having to make a big deal out of it to keep the obnoxiousness down. So I would turn my phone off unless I had to be available for emergency calls (e.g., kid with a babysitter), and in that case I would make REALLY REALLY SURE that the phone is silent and only look at it away from everyone (bathroom, outside the venue, hallway far away, etc). It's not an ideal request for them to make but they're dealing with a real issue too.

Now, based on your updates, it sounds like there might be some "holier-than-phone-users" sanctimony going on. So feel free to roll your eyes. But to keep drama to a minimum try to follow the spirit of the request if not the letter of the law.

That said, if you're unable to stop checking your phone, then maybe follow the letter of the law. Both to be nice and to avoid drama.
posted by Tehhund at 10:53 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]

Is the cell phone valet there to serve as someone who answers the phone and notifies you if there's an emergency? Like they do at theaters?
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:55 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]

The asshole in me would gather all the cellphones I could muster, set the ringers to high, give the numbers to friends with instructions to call timed to the ceremony, then turn them over to the phone valet while wearing a one of those big inflatable phone costumes rented from the cellphone place that has the guy standing by the road.

The reasonable person in me would win out, and he would leave his phone in the car (assuming he had no impending emergency) and enjoy the dichotomy of freedom from having the phone paired with anxiety due to the need to engage actual people rather than bury himself in his screen. His enjoyment of the day would probably be spoiled by his seething at all the people that couldn't, even for an hour or so, detach themselves from their electronic pacifiers.

Actual Answers 1. Yes, 2. No
posted by achrise at 10:57 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]

BONUS QUESTION: This is ridiculous and insufferable, right?

A few years ago I would have said yes.

Then we hosted a small wedding at our home. Two dear friends were married with a handful of family and friends in attendance (maybe 10 guests, plus the wedding party).

Just as the ceremony got started, a phone rang. The phone belonged to the mother of the groom.

And she answered it, while we all stared at her in shock.

You're not an asshole, but people, in general, are assholes and can't be trusted.
posted by anastasiav at 11:00 AM on April 20 [65 favorites]

I thought that the point of cell phone valet's was that they answer any phones for anyone in an emergency; verify that it's an emergency instead of telemarketing, and then seek out that person to either deliver them a message, or bring them to a set aside location where use of the cell phone won't be disturbing. I.E. they are to handle the "emergency" people who can't be out of contact for X hours.

I mean even growing up in the late 70's/ early 80's, my parents would leave the sitter, and then my sister and I a number or two to call in case of problems. A cell phone valet would make that easier, and not require giving numbers to a boss/work for altered escalation procedures.

If cell phone valet is actually just a manned box where the phones will be ignored, then yes if you have an *actual* need (i.e. kids/sitter/work/on-call status) keep your phone, and explain your needs while keeping your phone on silent and not being an ass. You're an invited guest to an event. If you don't want go to the event, then don't go. Granted, there are familial obligation assocated with this event, but putting away your phone isn't the same as bowing before your sibling and giving their feet a tongue bath.

Sokka shot first - I think you buried the lede not leading with your suspician that your question is to do with the age difference (and other emotional issues you clearly have) between you and your sibling. I'm kind of surprised that there's as much support for keeping your phone as there is - and I'm a geeky guy who definitely appreciates having a phone/tablet with me at all times and I think you should put it away.
posted by nobeagle at 11:27 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]

"We have chosen to make our wedding a cell phone-free event. You can leave your cell phone in your car or check it in with one of our gracious cell phone valets!"

I would absolutely and completely ignore this for two reasons: 1. I don't have a car of my own. Hell, I don't even have a driver's license. So, I'd either be taking public transportation to the wedding and back, or getting a ride from someone else. I don't want to risk leaving my phone in their car, and then forgetting to retrieve it/I lose it/etc. Nor will I trust my phone with a valet.

And 2. I use my phone for very utilitarian reasons. Yes, I tweet and FB and stuff - but I also use it to look at bus schedules, find the nearest stop, call a cab if a bus isn't available, look up weather conditions (will it be raining at the bus stop?), and stuff like that.

I'd definitely keep my phone off and stowed away - but sometimes, people forget that phones can be a crucial tool for some of us, not merely sources of distraction.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:40 AM on April 20 [9 favorites]

Way before cell phones, a religious ceremony for my child was completely spoiled by camera-wielding assholes. One of the guests (who had run for office) said later it was like a press conference. After that, I invented a rule and told the assholes that our church did not allow cameras during ceremonies. My only regret is that I didn't think of that sooner.

So I applaud this couple, and I hope that your asking the question will lead more people to do as they have. And people who can't be without their phones for two hours can stay home and check Facebook.

(And I'm sorry about the problematic aspects of your relationship with your brother. Family stuff can be hard.)
posted by FencingGal at 11:41 AM on April 20 [6 favorites]

You aren't an asshole, Sokka: unfortunately there are WAY too many overentitled, self-centered jerks out there who make this kind of request necessary nowadays.

Like cmoj, I work in a theater; although mine is movies not stage. It isn't a generational thing: ALL ages, from little kids to their great grandparents, are addicted to their phones and will have them on anytime and anyplace. They're making/receiving phone calls, texting, checking for emails, googling, playing games, and yes trying to record the films. And that's not even counting the jackasses who arrive late after the movie has started and the theater lights are down, so they fire up their phone's flashlight and wave THAT all over the place!

I doubt your brother had you specifically in mind when they sent out this request; it's a general thing, being asked of all attendees. Either keep it on silent and in your pocket (and don't even pull it out of that pocket unless you are somewhere totally private, like in a bathroom), or else leave it in your car.
posted by easily confused at 11:42 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]

explain your needs while keeping your phone on silent
I think the least dramatic thing to do, assuming you are going to keep your phone, is to NOT explain to anyone that you will be keeping it. Keep it in your pocket and walk right by the person collecting them. It should already be on silent or off. Explaining your reasons just invites people to argue with those reasons.
posted by soelo at 11:49 AM on April 20 [10 favorites]

This whole thread makes me realize how much cell phones are an issue.

My initial thought was that the couple were being ridiculous. But reading the number of people who honestly believe that being without a cell phone for a few hours is impossible makes me realize that the request is so not ridiculous.

I'm sorry to initial poster, I don't think you are an asshole. I would have questioned the request too. But the thread is an eye opener. Wow.
posted by Ftsqg at 11:53 AM on April 20 [31 favorites]

What, do people get to act like god because they're getting married now?

"At our wedding, we request that you give us all three curtseys as we walk down the aisle."
"As part of our special day, we're requesting that you eat ortolan on camera and hashtag it #PETA."
"It would mean so much to us if you'd take off your shoes before entering our wedding-themed petting zoo."

It's obnoxious to ask people to leave valuable items in the car. But what do I know? I only live in Baltimore, where I wouldn't leave a goddamn nickel in my car, not even in the glove compartment or under the seat.

If they want to ask guests not to BE on their phones during their ceremony, it's a fine idea and I hope people have enough class to do that anyway.

Yes, Sokka, this is a ridiculous and insufferable request. I would take my phone in my purse and turn it completely off during the ceremony when it's quiet enough to hear vibrating phones. I would turn it back on during the reception but leave it on vibrate. And if the band sucked, I might even text a friend to say so during [mon dieu!] the reception itself.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 11:55 AM on April 20 [11 favorites]

It's an obnoxious, insufferable, and precious request, and you're completely justified in ignoring it as long as you do so discretely.

I'm shocked there's any support for the couple at all. I mean, presumably there's a fun reception planned, and that's an environment people like to take pictures in. And most people take their pictures with their phones.
posted by uberchet at 12:15 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]

"We have chosen to make our wedding a cell phone-free event.

ok, cool

You can leave your cell phone in your car or check it in with one of our gracious cell phone valets!"

phones these days cost an obscene amount of money and have basically your entire life, with bonus compromising pictures, on them. asking people to leave valuable personal electronics in a (hot? break-inable?) car is rude and dumb. leave your phone at home if you have great strength of will and no dependents; bear it silently in your purse or jacket pocket otherwise. a fun thing to do at the wedding will be to spot all the people discreetly whipping their phones out, and whether any excruciatingly awkward attempts to enforce the cell phone-free rule ensues.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:46 PM on April 20 [16 favorites]

I don't think they can dictate to you what can and can't be in your purse. But you should be aware that what makes breaking a rule in this fashion forgivable is not getting caught--i.e., demonstrating that you're not actually part of the problem. So if you do take your phone, and it rings right in the middle of the vows, then you are the jerk, and you will deserve every bit of disapprobation you get.
posted by praemunire at 12:50 PM on April 20 [9 favorites]

I don't find the idea of a no-cell-phones wedding and reception to be particularly outrageous/precious/selfish/whatever, and I find the the RIGHTEOUS! MORAL! OUTRAGE! in this thread rather silly. But then, I am old enough to have grown up without cellphones or the internet, and antisocial enough to wonder what the hell everyone could possibly have to talk/text about that is SO IMPORTANT that they need to do it while driving/eating at a restaurant/at a wedding reception.

Being reachable in an emergency is a legitimate concern. In the before times, people would leave telephone numbers of the venues where they would be with babysitters/next of kin/etc. Humans survived for hours at a time without cell phones.

As evidenced by most of the responses in this thread, "leave your cell phones at the door" doesn't seem like a realistic request, so go ahead and leave your phone in stealth mode in your pocket if you must, but give the indignation a break.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 1:08 PM on April 20 [12 favorites]

I'm going to be in the minority here, but I think it is reasonable to ignore this request, assuming you do so in such a way that nobody notices. I would, if for no other reason than I'm uncomfortable leaving my belongings with strangers or in unsupervised locations, especially expensive belongings that contain personal information. I'd keep the phone off during the ceremony and on silent or vibrate during the reception.

I wouldn't say anything to your brother though. It's their wedding, it's one day, and they can issue whatever crazy directives they want.

BONUS COMMENTARY: Even if their reasons for such a request might be sound, their manner of making it IS ridiculous and insufferable. "We have chosen to make our wedding a cell phone-free event. You can leave your cell phone in your car or check it in with one of our gracious cell phone valets!" reads as really presumptuous. It's not a request but an *order* concerning a tool that is at this point pretty well integrated into people's lives. (bonus bonus nitpick: "gracious" seems like the wrong word to describe cell phone valets and also a sneaky attempt to make leaving your cell phone with a stranger sound FUN.) Telling people to ditch their cell phones entirely is a big ask, and the *gracious* thing to do would be to ask politely, explain why, and be consistent (e.g., if this is about letting the photographer/videographer work they have to ask people not to bring cameras either). I can think of so many better ways to handle this, and this isn't even something I would ask people to do. They could, for example, have the officiant announce before the ceremony that the venue prohibits cell phone use and ask everyone to turn off their phones. They could ask that guests be mindful of the photographer(s) and let them work unimpeded. They could announce that each table at the reception would include a phone basket in which they strongly encourage guests to chuck their phones so they can enjoy the party and get acquainted. FWIW, I tend to default to the "look up from your damn phone" camp, but weddings demand a nontrivial amount of time, money, and inconvenience from guests and additional requests beyond attendance/gifts should be mindful of that.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 1:11 PM on April 20 [8 favorites]

I mean, I'm going to take a different tack and say that if you want to make this a Moral High Ground, the only way to do so is a) refuse to go and publicly announce why or b) be transparent that you will not be following the rule and force your brother to disinvite you if it goes there. Obviously I don't think either of those is a great idea, but that's my point -- "sneaky disobedience" was not the Thoreau title; you are not claiming any moral victory if you're not willing to do it outright.
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:11 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Perhaps the hosts realize that this is a "shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you'll land among the stars" thing. If I were them, I would know that there wouldn't be 100% compliance, but I would also know that brazen cell phone misconduct would be significantly less likely. Merely asking people to not be disruptive with their cell phones doesn't work; you have to set an audacious goal and hope that if people backslide from that high standard, it's to a level that is acceptable.
posted by delight at 2:25 PM on April 20 [11 favorites]

It's super controlling. If this were socially acceptable, this would be done at all the events / lectures / religious ceremonies / concerts that begin with a reminder to "please silence your electronic devices."

It's a party, not The Most Important Event on Earth.
posted by Guinevere at 2:40 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]

[Folks, this is a quite specific question. Please answer it and skip the general opining about phones/cameras. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 3:56 PM on April 20

You said that your brother is 15 years younger that you, so I'm going to assume that all of the couple's friends are similar aged to them, yes? And as the couple have been planning their wedding they may have been reading many horror stories* about people who just will not stop playing with their phones, texting, tweeting, live FB-ing, etc. I think this reminder is most likely directed at that demographic of the guest list rather than you.

Keep in mind that cell phone valets are very much a thing at concerts and shows now. So in a way it's the latest trendy thing to do, and they may be young enough that doing the trendy thing matters, at least in front of their peer group.

As for yourself, I would ignore the hell out of this request. It's nobody's damn business if I have a phone in my pocket or in my purse. Just be discreet if you need to use it for some reason, because seeing you pull out your phone could very likely lead to a chorus of people whining about why you get to bring your phone into the event when they didn't get to bring theirs.

* Yesterday on the radio I heard a story about a guy who tweeted, during the wedding, that the bride was awful and was a whore and that he gave the marriage two years tops, etc etc, all this while he was at the event. And of course the bridesmaids were checking their twitter feed and saw his comments and immediately presented them to the bride, who then proceeded to get into a fight with the guy and it all went even more downhill from there. So, yeah, maybe with some people it's better to take their phones away from them than to deal with drama.
posted by vignettist at 4:07 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]

It isn't so much about being tied to a phone and having to check mah Insta all the time. As someone else said upthread, there is a lot of stuff on my phone now. Some of it I didn't even want to have to grant access through the phone, but eventually I acquiesced (two-factor authentication, I am looking at you). So let's say I travel to a wedding like this. Leaving it in my hotel? Oh hell no. Rental car? Nope. Rando valet person? I do not think so.
posted by oflinkey at 6:11 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]

Ughhh obnoxious. Sometimes people will get bored or awkward at your wedding and phones help. Just because it's *your* big day doesn't mean everyone else is as excited as you are. We love you but godamn it, a whole DAY dedicated to the fact that you have a partner that you say you'll stick around for? Booooring.

That said... I'd take my phone and check it every time I go to the toilet. Which is frequently when I'm at weddings, because I can't stand them.
posted by Chrysalis at 6:26 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]

I would find this obnoxious because pretty much all of the enjoyment I've ever had at weddings has been when I ignored whatever was going on on stage and just hung out with my other friends who were there, and the phone definitely helps with the hanging out. We can do things like take pictures together, exchange contact info, make plans for doing things after the wedding or pull up old photos through the magic of the cloud.

I end up going to a lot of weddings where I am there out of family or work obligations and not necessarily out of some deep connection with the couple themselves. If I don't know/care for the people around me the phone gives me something to do besides having to listen to the groom's best friends' speech or overlong slideshow.

(I am probably someone you should not be inviting to your wedding, and I would thank you for not inviting me)
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 8:24 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

It could be worse. He could be so paranoid about social media that he'd throw his wedding in a forest with no cell phone reception, requiring elderly guests to hike a mile and get bitten by a zillion bugs.

I get while you're annoyed, and I wouldn't blame you for sneaking your phone in. But it's not worth picking a fight over, so if you choose not to comply, don't rub it in his face and definitely don't bring the bride into it.
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:45 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]

I haven't read through all the 70 (!) responses so far, but I'll add my two cents and say: Have an evening without your phone.

Your brother isn't asking to make it a key-free or wallet-free wedding. A phone isn't like any other object. It changes social dynamics. Many musicians are also asking fans to put away their phones at concerts. I don't think it's an unreasonable ask.

So make you brother happy for 3 or 4 hours and leave your phone with the valet. You'll live and might even have a better time.
posted by Leontine at 8:48 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Have you asked your brother where he and fiancée are coming from on this? It's easy to speculate, and react to the speculation, but have you asked?
posted by dws at 9:30 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

It's possible for something to be both totally reasonable and totally obnoxious at the same time. It's like all the times you have to say shit like "yeah I know Amazon is destroying local businesses, but I need this thing by tomorrow, give me a break."

I've got a sibling. If nothing else, do as they ask so you can keep the moral high ground.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:42 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]

But then, I am old enough to have grown up without cellphones or the internet, and antisocial enough to wonder what the hell everyone could possibly have to talk/text about that is SO IMPORTANT that they need to do it while driving/eating at a restaurant/at a wedding reception.

Public transportation schedules.

It's a combo of the following: A lot of transit companies realize that the vast majority of their clientele have smart phones, so it's much more cost effective to just publish the bus schedule on the web instead of publishing paper schedules - either to carry with, or to tack on the bus stop pole. They're generally strapped for cash, and this is an easy expenditure to eliminate.

That, combined with the lack of public pay phones around, means that the smart phone is one of the most reliable ways to get public transit info.

Before there were smart phones, I could usually grab a paper schedule of the route I was interested in, and keep that on me as a reference. And yes, I have taken the bus to a wedding and back.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:08 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]

Echoing jacquilynne somewhat, there's no pat-down or lack of trust involved, nor does it sound to me like it's about pictures.
They're requesting (not forcing/enforcing) that guests be fully present, which is not possible with cell phones in pockets, even with the ringer off.
They're *offering* a valet service.
Whether you agree with it or not, the idea is that they think you and other guests will feel good and enjoy yourselves more by having a small (and probably rather unique) moment where neither you nor the people around you have connectivity within reach.
posted by spbmp at 10:09 PM on April 20

This is controlling and stupid, and you have every right to be annoyed with it. I'd be SUPER annoyed with it. I would also not agree to it - just imagine if someone were to break into cars in the parking lot because they knew lots of phones would be there, or if something happened with/to the person minding all the phones, etc. If you're like most people, your phone is EXPENSIVE. I cannot easily afford to replace my phone. I would not obey this request, simply because if something went wrong my relationship with that couple would be damaged by my anger toward them.

That, and because it's controlling and ridiculous. It's a ceremony and a party. Request politely that people not use their phones if you like, but to tell people they have to phoneless entirely is massively overreaching.

That said, I still wouldn't start a fight with anyone in the couple about it. I'd just quietly leave my phone in my pocket/bag as usual, on do not disturb mode.

I'm so sick of all this nonsense about being "present" and "in the moment" and forcing that on others. I'll be present and in the moment in whatever moments I personally choose. No one else gets to decide what moments those are. And having my phone on my person does not remove me from the moment, only actively engaging with it does. Let's let people decide for themselves what kind of experience they want to have.

For what it's worth, I actively encouraged people to take phone pictures at my wedding as long as they stayed out of the way of the pros.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 11:52 PM on April 20 [4 favorites]

It's possible for something to be both totally reasonable and totally obnoxious at the same time. It's like all the times you have to say shit like "yeah I know Amazon is destroying local businesses, but I need this thing by tomorrow, give me a break"

This is great advice for many situations.

I would turn off my phone but feel uncomfortable handing it to someone else.
posted by daybeforetheday at 12:46 AM on April 21 [2 favorites] holier-than-thou militantly-vegan everything-wrong-with-privileged-white-liberals baby brother's...

I thought it was a silly request (I wouldn't dream of whipping my phone out at anyone's wedding), but a doable non-issue, until I read the above description of your brother.

Now, I totally understand where you're coming from.

I'm with you re going with your plan to follow his wishes while "deeply resenting every insufferably self-righteous moment of it".
posted by she's not there at 1:41 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]

I see now that I didn't answer your actual questions:

1. Am I justified in ignoring this request, assuming I do so discreetly?

Yes. Your phone is a computer worth several hundred dollars and containing enough info to steal your identity and do real financial harm if someone gets the data. You should not hand over this amount of sensitive info on an expensive device to someone you don't know. That's a rube move.

2. Is it worth it to point out, to my brother and/or his fiancée, as politely as I can manage, how patronizing/infantilizing this arrangement is?

Absolutely not. It's not worth getting into an argument about it, because, as this thread shows, many people think that asking you not to use your phone during their event is equivalent to asking you to hand over all your sensitive info and an expensive device to a total stranger. Nothing you say will sway your brother, and it's likely to cause at least a small rift. It's more important to be kind than to be right. Being kind here means complying with the spirit of the request rather than the actual letter of the request. At the recent wedding I was just in last week, if I had left my phone at home, I wouldn't have been able to order an Uber (or call a cab) to leave the reception, which was in a location with no other public transportation.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 7:05 AM on April 21 [4 favorites]

I am sympathetic to no phones during the ceremony, though I would just ask people not to take pictures, but no phones during the reception is just absurd.

I'd ignore the request and make sure to have my phone on silent and not use it unless it's necessary (and sometimes it is necessary: I check my phone discretely at the movie theater, for example, to make sure the babysitter didn't call). Which, I bet, is what 95% of guests will do.

"It's their day" only extends so far. Please proceed with alllll the quiet eye rolling and judging, but keep it to yourself to avoid the inevitable drama if you challenge their wedding crazy.
posted by lydhre at 7:19 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]

They don't get to, by fiat, turn their friends and relatives into the kind of people who are too well-mannered to commit phone etiquette errors. (I also distinguish between a gentle nudge of "Black Tie" on an invitation to resolve genuine ambiguity about what kind of event it is and ordering guests to wear a certain color or conform to any other schema. Guests are not props.)

And the saccharine wording of that directive would tempt me to hire a fire truck to get lost in the neighborhood of the event, siren blaring the whole time.
posted by lakeroon at 8:02 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]

1. There will always be self-centered jerks. Cell phones may be conducive to behaviors that make these people more obvious, but it does not create them. Taking away their cell phones will only cause their self-centered jerkitude to manifest in other ways.

2. Having a phone in one's possession and using it inappropriately are two different things. For non-self-centered jerks, it is possible to do the former without the latter.

3. Presence is not a thing to be demanded, and it cannot be forced. Either an event and its hosts will invite people to be present, uniting them in a shared celebration, or it won't. I've attended both sorts of weddings, and cell phones were never the determining factor.

4. People at weddings are allowed to care about other relationships with other people while at the wedding.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 11:09 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]

So to address the reasonableness of the request:

I've been to a lot of weddings. Most of the weddings I've attended have been, due to my religion, weddings in Mormon temples. As you may have heard or suspected, Mormon temples and the folks who run them are pretty touchy about cameras, recording devices, and cell phones. As in, if you take a cell phone picture or audio recording in a Mormon temple, it's a big scandal. But even there, they don't ask you to leave your smartphone in the car or check it in with a phone valet. They just ask you to shut the ringer off and not use your phone in the temple. The only people allowed in a Mormon temple are Mormons in good standing with the church who go through ecclesiastical interviews to get a card certifying that they can enter the building. And if you take pictures, record audio, or shoot video in the temple, you could potentially lose the privilege of entering again. And every time I've walked into the marriage sealing room in a Mormon temple since smartphones became a thing, I've had my smartphone in my pocket, with the ringer turned off and simply refrained from pulling the phone out to fiddle with it or take a picture or whatever.

If even the Mormon church has sufficient chill to allow this, it is unreasonable for your brother & co. to ask more.

That said:

Unless you have some compelling reason to need your smartphone during the wedding (e.g. you're a surgeon on call, you're a lawyer with a trial trailing at that time, etc.), be polite and leave the phone in the car or whatever.

Or bring the phone, but keep it turned off and in your pocket and never, ever take it out.
posted by The World Famous at 11:17 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]

I would not give up my phone (I think its an unreasonable request and the "cell phone valet" thing reads as pretentious and silly to me) but I would make damn sure my phone was set on silent and that I did not use it for any (non emergency) reason durring the event.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 4:44 PM on April 21

Sokka shot first: " Am I justified in ignoring this request, assuming I do so discreetly?"

If ignoring means having your phone with you but off and never letting anyone else see it then sure. The glow of a phone screen is really obvious in any but the most brightly lit scenarios (like outside in full daylight bright) regardless of how discreet people think they are being. Fire up a phone in an indoor area and people can see the glow even if they can't directly observe the phone. So you are going to want to make sure you are in private before turning it on.

Fish, fish, are you doing your duty?: "I can think of so many better ways to handle this, and this isn't even something I would ask people to do. They could, for example, have the officiant announce before the ceremony that the venue prohibits cell phone use and ask everyone to turn off their phones. They could ask that guests be mindful of the photographer(s) and let them work unimpeded."

They may plan to do this as well and like other people here I can tell you these pleas just don't work. If only because most people never set their phones to be truly silent and so appear to not actually know how.

snickerdoodle: "It could be worse. He could be so paranoid about social media that he'd throw his wedding in a forest with no cell phone reception, requiring elderly guests to hike a mile and get bitten by a zillion bugs. "

My current workplace hosts weddings (3 or 4 every weekend during the season and often a couple during the week) and the nearest cell service is an hour away on a paved major highway. I'd previously thought this lack of service was a serious impediment to marketing our facility but reading this thread maybe it is something we should be actively promoting.
posted by Mitheral at 11:43 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]

At a recent wedding I, seated at the front row, took a video of the vows and wedding bands exchange, to give to the photographer in case he needed another angle for editing. From my hip, in order not to disturb other guests. The bride and groom where very happy with that fact because the camera of the photographer misbehaved at that moment and my video is the only digital proof they have of the moment. They also had a 'please no cell phones' policy. So YMMV.

(My cell phone stayed in my pocket the rest of the evening, as it does for most of the time. I hardly use it.)
posted by maremare at 6:04 AM on April 22

You don't know why they want it to be a cell-phone free wedding. Maybe they don't want people playing Kwazy Cupcakes, maybe a member of the wedding party is a celebrity, maybe they want to control every tiny detail of the experience, maybe they're jerks, maybe someone has religious prohibitions against being photographed, maybe someone has epilepsy and can't risk the flashes of cameras.

So, yeah, I'm with you on the silent resentment, because I love silent resentment, but there's a chance they have a reason even MeFi would think is reasonable (although Lord knows we've fought about less).
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:01 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]

Somebody's cell phone went off while I was delivering the eulogy at my sister's funeral about four years back. The ringtone was Queen's "Bicycle Race".

I was so completely bamboozled and flabbergasted by this event that I nearly laughed, and a few people at the service actually did, before they remembered where they were.

I hadn't even considered that I would need to remind direct relatives to turn their fucking mobiles phones off at a funeral service for a cherished family member. It hadn't struck me that members of my own immediate gene pool would be so fucking comprehensively stupid, but of course they were.

So while I think this is an infantile, condescending, and annoyingly trendy request: I get it. People can't be trusted to silence their mobiles even in venues where a) it's obvious that they should and/or b) they have been specifically asked to. People are fucking stupid to the core. The only guaranteed workaround is to physically remove the mobile phones from the persons, and put them in a big lead bucket.

Of course people still won't silence their phones and they certainly won't give them to the cell phone concierge or whatever the fuck, but the idea has been planted, and so transgressors will be stigmatised and can be kicked out of the reception. Keep your mobile if you must, but you better be sure as shit that you have that thing on silent, and make a pact with yourself to only look at it while you're in the bathroom, and if you fail, deny yourself cake.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:19 PM on April 26 [4 favorites]

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