(This is a guest post by Daniel Carroll, a wedding photographer and marketing consultant in New York.)
Everyone likes to complain about millennials. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? That cellphone of course. Well, that is not something that bothers me, to be frank. Except for during the wedding ceremony, I could care less if some 20- something is glued to their screen swiping right or catching another Pokémon. However, I raised my brow in a bit of teen loathing disgust recently when I noticed there was a charging station, like the ones you see in the airport for cell phones,inside Ikea. I thought “Come on, can you really not go a full shopping trip without needing to attach to the charging outlet?” In my business, my primary interest is making sure everyone has a great place to enjoy a very important day in a way he or she wants to enjoy it. A lot of the business involves special accommodations for unique requests as well. Not one day after looking down my nose at the people that had to take a break from browsing light fixtures to get their fix of mobile battery life, one of my brides informed me her dad has made a couple of cellphone charging stations she wants me to incorporate into the natural décor of the reception area. Of course, I agreed and setup a time for them to be delivered while gritting my teeth thinking about how I personally thought it was a bit tacky. Fast forward to the wedding day. These people knew their friends. You would have thought the entire groom’s party were recent film school graduates working on their masterpiece. They had the ceremony covered from 10 angles. Some of those reserved for the hired professionals. (The reason I advocate for a technology free ceremony.) Low and behold, as soon as the wedding party moved into the reception area, there were 3-4 people hunting the outlets we had cleverly worked into the display as requested. I fully expected at least half of the 20 charging cords to be occupied within the first hour of the reception. What I didn’t expect was that within the first 30 minutes, every single cord had a phone on it. However, one more thing that I was not expecting happened. All these people that had been so previously preoccupied with their electronic devices were now living in the moment. No more squinting into the faint glow. There was more actual interaction versus artificial social interaction. In a group where I was clearly concerned about people not being able to enjoy themselves and be in the moment, this charging station had pulled them back into reality, and the net effect on the event was really positive. So for any couples planning their special day, if those attending your wedding are like some of my friends and spend way too much time staring at their phone, try giving them a safe place where you can entice them to give the thing up for a couple of hours.