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4 Ways to Keep Smartphones and Social Media from Ruining a Wedding

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Brides and grooms are wise to worry about cellphones ringing, chiming and generally creating a nuisance on the big day.

Wedding Paper Divas, a Sunnyvale, Calif., wedding services company, says that seven out of 10 Twitter users admit tweeting during a wedding service, while five in 10 said they "checked in" on Facebook (FB) while attending wedding nuptials.

In addition:
  • The average wedding guest shares 22 photos to social-media sites like Facebook and Foursquare.
  • 40% of wedding guests post with a specific hashtag when sharing comments and photos on Twitter.

All that social media sharing via smartphone can ruin a wedding ceremony, and not just because a phone may ring or chime during a ceremony for an incoming call or text.

"While it may seem insignificant, the consequences of hasty sharing can be catastrophic," says Amber Harrison, wedding and etiquette expert at Wedding Paper Divas. "A once-in-a-lifetime moment was ruined recently when an overzealous bridesmaid posted a photo of the bride in her wedding dress shortly before the wedding ceremony. The groom first saw his beautiful bride as a tiny image on Facebook, as opposed to walking down the aisle toward him."

OK, it's not exactly a life-shattering event, but it is enough to cast a dark cloud over what should be a memorable, happy day. To make sure that doesn't happen, families - especially those of brides and grooms - need to lay down some ground rules on cellphone usage on the wedding day.

Here's what Harrison says to do first, before a careless smartphone-using guest spoils your wedding day:

Set the tone: If you want your guests to engage online, make sure you communicate it clearly. Use your wedding website or a printed enclosure card sent with the invitation to share the wedding hashtag and any preferences for social sharing.

Follow that bride/groom: Take a cue from the online behavior of the betrothed. If they are sharing frequently photos of cake tastings and potential floral arrangements, chances are it is OK for you to join the conversation.

Think before you post: Be very thoughtful and deliberate about what and when you choose to post. When in doubt, hold off. Nothing will be harmed by waiting a few hours, or even days, to post that photo.

Silence that smartphone: And, obviously, set your phone to silent or vibrate during the ceremony, or don't carry it, and have someone remind the guests to do the same. Don't be the jerk whose phone disrupts your own beautiful moment.

It's up to you to set the dial tone for smartphone use (and smart phone use) at your wedding.

If you don't, then don't be surprised when a rude ring airs during the ring exchange ceremony, or when an awkward photo of the bride or groom appears on Facebook before the wedding begins.

Nobody is saying you have to have an "unplugged" wedding.

But limits should be in place, so a cellphone/social media photo or comment isn't the most remembered moment on your wedding day.

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