Everything You Needed to Know About Unplugged Weddings
These days, pretty much everyone carries some kind of photo-making device wherever they go. It’s no secret that weddings have become a hive of budding photographers all trying to get “the shot”! But it can all get a bit much and so it might be worth thinking about having an unplugged wedding. Here’s everything you needed to know about unplugged weddings and how to make it work on your wedding day.
So, what is an unplugged wedding?
In simple terms, an unplugged wedding is where you ask all your guests to put away their devices and “unplug” for the day, instead of constantly taking photos and posting them on social media.
We’ve all been to those weddings where uncle Bob is photographing everything they see. It’s not even about “capturing the moment”, since the compulsion seems to be to capture EVERY moment! The problem is, they aren’t actually getting to experience and enjoy the event for themselves. Instead, they’re looking at it through a screen or viewfinder.
What’s even sillier is that you’ve hired a wedding photographer to capture many of those same moments! And, modesty aside, the professional’s photographs will completely outshine anything grabbed on a phone or tablet, right?
So, deciding to announce an unplugged wedding will nip all that in the bud. It’ll encourage your guests to actually BE guests and enjoy the wedding they’re there to witness. And, ultimately, it allows your wedding photographer to get photos of you and your guests spending time together, celebrating and being in that moment, rather than lots of people waving devices and iPads around trying to get those shots for Facebook or Instagram!
Saying all that…
I get that asking guests not to bring their devices to your wedding, or to refrain from using them for the entire day, is a big ask. And, truthfully, in these modern times, people taking photos or selfies on their phones is all part of the day. Any photographer worth their salt will work around those guests. They’ll know how to deal with those situations, and they’ll do everything they can to ensure none of their shots are ruined.
So, I prefer to recommend an unplugged ceremony instead.
Why have an unplugged ceremony?
Here’s the thing – above all else, the actual wedding ceremony is the key part of any wedding day. After all, you can’t call it a wedding if someone’s not getting married, right?! The ceremony is where guests should be the most present and most engaged. They should be able to see you making your commitments to each other, declaring your undying love for one another, making your vows and exchanging those rings. All those moments, and whatever other significant parts you’ve chosen to include, should be cherished, seen and experienced by your loved ones. That’s the crux of the entire day, as far as I’m concerned! It’s the moment that you commit yourselves to one another and say I do and that’s worth seeing first hand and not through a screen or the back of a camera.
I mean, think about it, ceremonies these days aren’t that long. Asking your guests to put their phones, tablets and cameras away for half an hour to enjoy the ceremony, while your photographer gets to work, means they can sit back, relax and enjoy the proceedings.
It’ll mean you won’t end up with a bunch of photographs of people waving their phones about. I’m sure you’d much rather see photos of your loved ones’ faces than whatever device they might be holding up in front of it!
And we all know how much of a distraction a phone can be. Removing the opportunity to use a phone as a camera during your ceremony means no idle scrolling during those special moments either.
From a totally selfish point of view, we photographers often have to deal with key moments, like your first kiss, being spoilt by someone choosing to step into the aisle at that crucial moment. If guests are instructed NOT to take photos, the chances of this happening are slimmer, which means more beautiful photographs for you! And, while we’re on that, it’s worth remembering how much you’ve invested in your photographer. We know it’s no small amount of cash. So, help your photographer get the best shots possible by asking your guests to put their cameras down, at least for the ceremony.
How to announce your unplugged ceremony
The best advice I can give you is to be clear about your intentions as early as possible. Then repeat them often, so the message is understood!
Start by popping something in your wedding invitations. Let your guests know early on that you would like them not to bring their cameras, phones, tablets or whatever else they might use to the ceremony itself. Keep it lighthearted! Let them know you’d rather they were present and enjoying the ceremony than seeing it through a screen.
On the day, there are a couple of good ways to reinforce the “no devices” message. Pop a sign up outside the ceremony venue. There are plenty of examples you can find on the internet if you need some inspiration! And the most effective method is to ask your officiant to make an announcement as well. Most do, anyway, but it’s worth confirming they’ll do it if you’re unsure. People listen to authority figures, especially if there’s a chance of being embarrassed by them for “breaking the rules”! The officiant will also remind them there’s a professional photographer there, which helps to stop those ruined key moments from happening!
I should say I’m not wholly against guests having their phones, cameras, or iPads at your wedding. But I do believe it’s much nicer, simply on a human level, to see them enjoying the ceremony. But whatever you decide, I’m going to capture your day however it happens!
Are you ready for memorable photos of your guests enjoying your wedding with their own eyes? Then let’s have a chat! I’d love to be the photographer who captures it all for you! Whilst you’re here… .got a beloved pooch you want to bring to your wedding? Here’s a blog post just for you Dogs at Weddings. Or want to know how not stress over your wedding group photos, take a look at Stress Free Group Photos