There’s a trend in recent years towards ‘Unplugged Weddings’ where couples actively request that their guests put down their phones and cameras for all or part of their wedding day in order to be fully present and share with them.
Put down my phone? Not on your life! It’s a reasonably common response but here are some reasons why you might want to consider an unplugged wedding.
Yeah but You’re a Photographer so You’re Biased
Let me state up front that I’ve no financial self serving investment in this article – all our wedding packages include the images and so mobile phone snaps or any other photography doesn’t make a difference to me in terms of sales – so let’s get that out of the way. Other ‘photographers’ (and I use the quotes in the nicest possible way) are hardly a new phenomenon. When I start in the industry *mumble* years ago, digital cameras were just starting to become popular and I remember a lot of other photographers getting very defensive about people taking pictures over their shoulders. I’m going to presume we’re all over that now but even I have to admit that many a lovely aisle shot has been spoiled by a sea of lit up phone screens in the background. S I’ll put my cards on the table and say that unplugging the ceremony at least would make for prettier photos and a little less chance of tripping over someone who’s crept up behind you in the aisle to get their perfect shot. Still, I’m grown up enough to know that I’m not the centre of the world (sniffle) but there are some great reasons to encourage people to put down their tech for your wedding.
Being in the Moment
The most compelling one is that they’re totally present with you. Watching the ceremony with their own two eyes and not through a camera lens means they’re naturally going to be more engaged with what’s going on. Even if they’re not taking pictures, it is all too easy to be distracted by checking emails etc and so it’s nice for them to switch off (literally) and enjoy their time while you make your vows.
You’ve paid for a photographer and maybe even a videographer too who’s sole purpose on the day is capture all those precious moments so there’s no need for your guests to work as well. Also, and this is controversial, there might well be a few more precious moments if people looked up from their phones and just enjoyed each other’s company – there, I’ve said it.
Social Media Blackouts
So I think there’s a lot to recommend going unplugged for at least your wedding ceremony. You could go hardcore and do it for the whole day but in all truth, I think that guests would find that a bit restrictive plus folk with babysitters etc will still need to be contactable in case of emergency so a blanket phone ban is probably impractical. You could still choose however, to put a social media blackout on events until the next day for all photos. I’ve worked at weddings where brides have been tagged in photos before they’ve even got to the end of the aisle! I was at a wedding recently where the couple got the celebrant to request that nothing be posted on social media until the following day and everyone was respect of this. The advantage of this is that people curate the photos they would like to share a lot more carefully the morning after than, errmmm, the night before. They tend to pick the best and share only those which does mean that there’s a lot less blurry, dark and maybe even unflattering photos going online as there would have been posting in real time.
Letting Your Guests Know to Unplug
Of course, if you like the idea of an unplugged wedding for whatever portion of the day, you’ll need to let your guests know. If you’ve decided far enough in advance, you could add an insert to your wedding invitations stating that you want everyone to be fully present and share your day then write your preference for when photos can be taken and shared. It’s worth also having a sign up on the day (there’s loads of cute wording ideas online), getting your celebrant to make a quick announcement and getting ushers to politely nudge any guests who dive for their phones. If you’re going to say no photos, then it’s also nice to let your guests know when and how you’re going to share your official pictures with them – after all, they’re taking pictures so they can save memories from their day with you. Chat over options with your photographer and you might even be able to arrange a ‘sneak peek’ of a few to be available soon after the big day for people to share and enjoy.
So, unplugging part of your wedding – food for thought!