Hey there bride-to-be! I want to take a minute to explain just what is an Unplugged Wedding and give it a little plug (pun intended haha). At the end of this post, I’ll leave you with a few practical tips to best implement this and a gentle reminder to all weddings guests everywhere to be truly present to the couple they are celebrating with!
An Unplugged Wedding is a wedding where the couple has decided to ask all of their guests to leave their phones and cameras off and away during the entire ceremony (including the entrance and exit processionals). There are several reasons why you might want to seriously consider this.
1.) Your Guests will be truly present at your ceremony and watching you with their eyes and not through a screen. In our modern age of smartphones and tablets, many of us have forgotten what it’s like to truly experience an incredible moment with our own two eyes, without the need to whip out our phones and try to document it. I saw an Instagram post once that challenged people to leave their phone away the next time they saw a gorgeous sunset and just take in the beauty of the moment. I think the same applies here! We are so accustomed to documenting every single important/beautiful moment of our lives that sometimes we forget to actually just live and experience the big moments without the distractions of a screen. I don’t know about you, but I know that when my turn comes to walk down the aisle, I want to see the joy and excitement in my loved ones’ eyes as they watch me enter the Church instead of a bunch of phones hiding their faces.
2.) Your professional photos and video will not be compromised. You likely have invested a lot of money into a professional photographer and videographer and the reality is that your professional images and video will be much, much better if you have asked your guests to keep their cell phones and cameras away during the ceremony. Personally, I have had a guest’s camera block half of the bride during their first kiss, I have had a guest’s flash ruin images, and I have countless of images from either the opening or closing processionals where the guests’ faces are hidden behind their phones, tablets, and cameras. I chose not to include any example images in this post because I don’t want any of my couples (or guests) to feel bad, but if you google “Unplugged Weddings”, you’ll find lots of articles with example images of guests (unintentionally) ruining professional images at weddings. There’s also this video that went viral of a guest who fell into the aisle halting the entire processional because she lost her balance while trying to film it on her phone. And the reality is, the processional images your photographer captures will ALWAYS be of a much higher quality than any iphone image a guest captures (or even a DSLR image Uncle Bob takes).
So now that I’ve given you a few reasons to seriously consider an Unplugged Wedding, how do you actually implement it? There are various ways to communicate your desire for an Unplugged Wedding to your guests and some are more effective than others. I’ve found the best way is to have a combination of various methods so that the guests have heard the message several times. For instance, if you put a blurb in your program or invitation but never mention it anywhere else, most of your guests won’t see or remember the request.
One last thing, I know that some people are worried about having an Unplugged Ceremony and then not having any images of their wedding ceremony for weeks until their professional images are delivered. Because this is a valid concern, I suggest talking with your photographer about your plan for an Unplugged Ceremony and asking if they could include some ceremony shots in your sneak peek images the week after your wedding. I personally never want my couples to have to wait for weeks for their images and each of my couples always receive lots of sneak peeks on social media in the days after their wedding and a full wedding blogpost the Wednesday following their wedding so they wouldn’t have to worry about this.
To finish, I just want to challenge you to keep your phone away during the Ceremony the next time you’re a wedding guest, regardless of whether or not it is an Unplugged Ceremony. I promise you will be able to enter into the moment more fully and leave with stronger memories if you leave your screens away!