Unplugged weddings are a growing wedding trend and we wanted to find out why people are going unplugged and how to go about having an unplugged wedding. So first of all, let’s just clarify what exactly an unplugged wedding is.
An unplugged wedding is when you ask your family, friends and guest to turn off their phones, iPads, cameras and other digital distractions during the ceremony or reception, or even both.
Cameras on mobile phones are becoming more and more sophisticated, many of us have even ditched our cameras and rely solely on our phones to capture our memories. With this in mind, almost everyone at your wedding will have a camera on them, ready to click away and capture your special day.
We bet a large part of your budget is set aside for a professional photographer, who will have access to all areas to capture a true representation of your day. You'll have spent ages finding your photographer, weighing up their photography style, their personality, testimonials, reviews and their price, before giving them the go ahead to be part of your day. So, we can see why many couples are now asking guests to refrain from taking photos during parts of their day, and leave the professionals to do their job.
Here are some of our favourite reasons to have an unplugged ceremony-
-Would you prefer to see your guests faces smiling at you encouragingly as you make your way down the aisle, or concentrating on the phone they're trying to take a picture of you with? An aisle of iPhones and iPads doesn't sounds too appealing to us.
-Not everyone will be bothered if they've got your best side, before posting images to social media and tagging you in for everyone to see. Having your professional photographer review and edit the images for you, and giving you total say over which ones make it to any online gallery will give you total control of the images that will be shared.
-The average person checks their phone every 12 minutes, so why not reduce the risk of them checking the latest tweets, stories or Facebook updates by making sure your ceremony is unplugged? Surely you making a lifelong commitment is more important to witness then the latest football score?
-You will pay a significant amount of money to your photographer to capture your day. Don't let your guests make their life hard by getting in their way and blocking all important shots.
-It's really important your guests are actually fully "with you" during one of the most important moments of your life.
So, there's just a few reasons, now how do you go about politely telling guests to put their phones down and put you first?
Firstly, decide what moments you really want kept private and phone free. The ceremony is the most obvious one, and won't require your guests to put their phones down for too long. Some couples go one step further and ask for the whole day to be unplugged (although how easy this would be to manage and welcomed by guests is still to be decided!).
We're big fans of communicating with guests so would advise popping in the invites that you're planning for the ceremony to be unplugged, and would be grateful if they can leave their phones/iPads put away during that time.
Popping a sign up outside the ceremony room as a reminder to guests that your ceremony is totally unplugged-like this one (image courtesy of Orange Girl Photography)
Advise your wedding planner about your wishes. Some guests (and they really do exist!) will think the rules don't apply to them. Your wedding planner can keep an eye on your guests and discreetly remind anyone of your wishes if they start to snap away.
Agree on when it's okay for phones to come back out. Make it clear when guests can start snapping away by creating another sign advising of a wedding day hashtag and encourage people to post any pictures they take after the ceremony. That way you're not saying no to your guests capturing their memories of your day and they'll know it's okay to start snapping away.
Share your images. After the event you can share your album or favourite images to your guests so they can see the bits they couldn't snap themselves!
Photographers are used to dealing with guests taking photos-and they often know the venue better than anyone so can move around to continue getting the best view possible. Some really don’t mind guests taking their own photos during the ceremony, others are really in favour of unplugged weddings. Mainly because they’ve had experiences of great photos being obscured by guests blocking their view, or an aisle of iPhones instead of smiling faces. Siobhan Beales is one of our fab photographers on our directory and says “Unplugged weddings all the way. It's so much better and easier to get shots without people leaning into aisles/blocking the view. If couples are on a budget an easy way of doing it is to ask the registrar to politely say they have a photographer and you may take your phones out when invited up (if the couple want that obviously) after they have finished signing the register. Unplugged wedding signage is a particular favourite of mine though if they do have that in their stationery budget!
We also asked real brides how their unplugged weddings went. Victoria says “My own wedding and our later blessing last year were both unplugged. We just added a note to our Order of Services and asked the officiant and vicar to mention it. I saw lots of posts on Pinterest though with signs. We wanted people to actually be present at our service not just in the room missing everything because they are trying to take pictures”
And Alison says “Our wedding was supposed to be unplugged, we put it in the invitation and we had a sign up but still had friends sharing their photos on whattsapp and asking when they could post their pictures on Facebook while we were away on honeymoon! Some guests got a bit funny with us because they wanted their own pictures of the day through 'their eyes' so not sure it's worth the upset. People were respectful during the ceremony but was near impossible to get them to put their phones down all evening, it's hard to change people's behaviour”
Whatever you decide to do, just remember it’s your day and a pretty special one at that. If you want 30 minutes of everyone’s undivided attention then we say go for it!