I was a theatre major in college – and when I would stage manage, I was often the voice that told you to turn off your cell phones and pagers and unwrap your candy before the performance would begin.
(And, yes, both of the photos in this post were taken at recent weddings I officiated… before the ceremony!)
Now, I’m often the voice that asks guests to turn off their cell phone and other noisy electronics prior to the wedding ceremony. I like to say, “Other noisy electronics” in addition to cell phones because many cameras make sound now, too, and you never know who’s going to bring a portable gaming system and just play Mario Kart quietly through the ceremony.
There’s a small controversy about this in the wedding world. Some officiants believe that it truly should be the guests responsibility to make sure their cell phones are off, and prefer not to make an announcement at the beginning of the ceremony. Every time I’ve done that – I’ve had cell phones ring!
Some officiants will suggest putting a basket out that all guests can place their phones in and collect after the ceremony – I’m not a fan (I’m not putting my iPhone in that basket!).
Some officiants will ask their couples to put a note in the program (may not get read, no matter how beautiful your program is), or will go from row to row just before the ceremony begins asking everyone to make sure their cell phones are off (my second favorite option).
Whatever you do – mentioning it in some way is a great idea. Because nothing ruins a nice wedding ceremony than your cousin’s cell phone singing “All the Single Ladies” during your vows.
Funny story: At my stepbrother’s bar mitzvah, a cell phone rang from the back row during the ceremony – and the ringtone? Hava Negila. I guess if a cell phone needs to ring during a joyous event – that’s the only appropriate ring tone!