One of the hottest new trends is not a colour or a cake, but a house rule: No Snapchatting, the best man while the ceremony is in progress! Unplugged weddings are growing more popular as couples opt to exclude handheld devices and Instagram shares from their meticulously planned day.
Whether to have a tech-free wedding isn’t a one-size-fits-all decision. It depends on your family culture (especially around photos and technology), the kind of big day you want, and just how much camera-flashing you can take before you lose your composure and throw the monogrammed toasting flutes at Aunt JoAnn.
Everyone wants to capture those special moments in an age of social media and phones with high-quality, high-quality cameras. You are a quick photo and tagged in it on Facebook and Instagram before you have said ‘I do’. Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.
The term unplugged wedding is becoming more common, and couples saying no to technology at their wedding are becoming increasingly popular.
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s an Unplugged Wedding?
- 2 Why Go Unplugged?
- 3 Reasons Why You Should Consider an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony
- 4 How to Tell Your Guests?
- 5 What About Social Media?
- 6 Sharing on Social Media
- 7 Should You Ban All Phones?
- 8 Unplugged Wedding: Pros & Cons
- 8.1 Pros:
- 8.2 Cons:
- 9 How to Pull it Off
What’s an Unplugged Wedding?
An ‘unplugged wedding’ is a wedding without technology, not phones, camera, iPads or video. You ask your guests to turn off and not use any devices and not take photos either in the service or throughout the day. Your photographer or videographer would be the only people who would capture this, allowing them to do their job.
Why Go Unplugged?
When you get married, you invite all your closest friends and family to be there, to celebrate with you, to witness you get married to the love of your life. You want them to be there with you to celebrate this moment; you want to look back down the aisle and see your friends’ faces, their smiles, those tears of joy and excitement.
You don’t want to look back down the aisle and see cameras and phones hiding their faces as they take photos of you.
These photos below show why you may wish to have an unplugged wedding. Of course, your wedding photographer will try to afford shots that are full of phones; however, this is what you may see when you look back at your friends and family, and there is no hiding it.
As you can probably tell, there are great reasons to decide you want your wedding plugged in, too. Here are some unplugged wedding pros and cons to consider while you’re making your choice.
Reasons Why You Should Consider an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony
It’s an apologizing affair that’s been going on for years! Full of love, laughter, and filters. And if we are 100%, so much of life would be missed without them. But…at a wedding ceremony, a temporary break from cell phones, Ipads and cameras may be a good time for re-connection.
Here are five reasons to consider for asking your guests to refrain.
You Want Your Guests to Be Present.
Your fiance and your families hand selected your guests to join in the most critical moment of your life. When you walk up the aisle your last time as Miss or down the aisle as newlyweds, you want to see faces, not phones.
By enforcing an unplugged policy, you’ll be encouraging your guests to *gasp* interact with each other and mingle! It will also ensure that your guests experience the moment. This happens at concerts, a lot, too. How many times have you been recording your favourite song at a show before realizing that you were watching everything through your 4-inch screen when your famous artist is standing right in front of you singing your favourite song LIVE! Similarly, if wedding attendees are forbidden to use their phones, they’ll take at the moment and absorb the love that you and your fiance are radiating.
Clicks, beeps, dings. All of that can happen during your wedding, and it’s distracting to you, the star attraction. Let’s not forget the one guest who fails to turn off their ring tones and gets a call during your vows. Yes, it happens. There’s always that one person who forgets to put their phone on silent. Do you want electronic beeps interrupting the most sentimental and emotional moment of your life?
No one wants to see you through the lens of someone’s phone. Or worse, not see you. Imagine walking down the aisle toward your beloved, waiting for you. Suddenly, your great aunt steps out into the aisle, blocking your view of your fiance, and snaps a few pictures on her phone. You realize that the majority of your guests have their cameras pointing toward you, and all you can see is the flash of cameras snapping instead of the beaming smile on your soon-to-be spouse’s face.
You Accidentally Make Your Photographer the Bad Guy.
You are hiring a pro to capture your day. As a pro, they have an obligation to make sure they are charging the pictures you want, even if that means asking a well-meaning relative to move out of the way so they can get the shot.
It’s your first kiss, and when you get your proofs back, the entire aisle is filled with guests holding up their phone to get the shot. You can’t see who was shedding a tear or maybe laughing at a funny blunder when cameras are covering faces. In the above example, Chicago wedding photographer Brittany Lynn explains, “The flashes created by everyone’s cameras and phones made it so bright it ruined the image! They look like ghosts.”
Now that you’ve decided to go this route, how do you ask your guests to put their beloved technology away?
How to Tell Your Guests?
Asking your Officiant or your Event Planner to speak directly to the guests before the beginning of the processional. This way, no one can “miss” your signage or your announcement in your program. He or she can even read a message directly from you. You may also consider adding it to your wedding website and RSVP cards.
If you have decided to have an unplugged wedding, which may be just for the service or for the whole day, there are a few ways to communicate this with your guests.
- Tell them on the invite – Tell them early, just add a line to your printed invites, or invite website, say ‘We would love you to be there, so we have an unplugged wedding, please no photos during the ceremony.’
- Wedding Signage – Where your guests enter for the ceremony, you could have some signs up that remind guests to keep their phones turned off and no photos. Kindly remind them you have a professional wedding photographer, and you will share their photos.
- Order of Service – If you have an order of service, you could add a little line to the front of this to again remind your guests.
- Announcement – Ask the registrar or best man to make a brief announcement asking guests to turn all phones off and not take any photos.
- Let your guests know that you will ensure they can view the photos that your photographer takes. There is no need for them to take any pictures, and just to enjoy this moment with you. You didn’t invite them to come and be a photographer, and you asked them to be there to celebrate and take it all in with you.
Here are some clever ideas to get the message across.
- As a courtesy, please turn off all cameras and phones for the duration of the ceremony. Resist temptation. Be in the moment. Stay strong.
- The bride and groom request the joyful sight of your smiles without the distraction of electronic devices or cameras.
- Welcome to our unplugged ceremony. Please turn off all cameras, cell phones, and any other device and enjoy this special moment with us. Thank you!
- We invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off your cell phones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks – we encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology.
What About Social Media?
Within moments of taking a photo, before you know it, you have been tagged in the image on Facebook, and there is an Insta story of you walking down the aisle. This has all happened before that guest has even said ‘congratulations to you.
Having an unplugged ceremony can help prevent this; however, you may wish to ban any photos from social media until after the wedding. Looking for a Wedding Photo Company? Look no further. Vines of the Yarra Valley has compiled an ultimate list of wedding photo companies to help you choose.
Of course, this is one side. You may love the fact that you can scroll through these photos on social media and relive them all the next day. You may wish to ask guests to not share pictures on social media until the day after the wedding. Ask your guests to enjoy the day with you instead of looking at their phones, uploading these photos and tagging everyone in them.
With a world of hashtags, you could set up your own so that you can easily view all the photos people upload, for example, #thesmiths2020. If you ask your guests to add these to their posts, you can search this hashtag and see all your guests photos.
Sharing on Social Media
Finally, this moment is private. The majority of the time, your guests are taking pictures to share on social media, but you invited who you invited because you wanted to share this intimate moment with them, right? If someone wasn’t asked, chances are you didn’t feel like you had a close enough connection to share that moment with them. Why should they see it on social media just because your cousin decided to share it? You should have a say in what gets posted online about your wedding and when it gets published.
Should You Ban All Phones?
That may sound strong and harsh, and it isn’t about banning phones, and there is no need to do that. It is more about trying to help your guests become more aware. Just take a moment to enjoy the ceremony, feel their emotions, take it all in, and be there with you and for you.
This is just about weddings, and I’m sure many people can relate to this and should spend less time looking at their phone.
If you have an unplugged wedding:
- Do be specific. If you just don’t want any pictures shared on social media – like Facebook or Instagram – specify that. If you don’t want any interaction with cell phones at all – no calls, texting, or photos – make sure your guests are aware of your stipulations.
- Don’t confiscate your guests’ phones as they arrive.
- Do make sure your guests know of your wishes beforehand. If you don’t announce it on your invitations or wedding website, make sure to have ample signage letting your guests know and have your officiant announce it before the ceremony begins. Here’s everything else your guests need to know beforehand!
- Don’t require an unplugged reception. While it’s completely acceptable and understandable to want an unplugged ceremony, it stretches a bit too far when you carry it on to the reception. Plus, wedding hashtags are super fun to have at your reception!
- Do assure your guests that you will share your professional photos of the ceremony with them.
Unplugged Wedding: Pros & Cons
So, you’re leaning toward no social media, no amateur photos, and no technological thieving of the limelight. These benefits might convince you that’s the right decision if you’re starting to lose your confidence.
Control the Left-Out Feelings.
Having an intimate day with a small guest list – or even a larger one that still has reasonable limits – usually involves some haggling over who attends. If someone just couldn’t be fit into a seat, your unplugged wedding can be out of sight and out of mind for them until you choose how the story of the day will be told.
Your photographer does not want to have to re-angle a shot because your bestie popped up into the frame with her iPhone.
No Ringing During the Ring Blessing.
If there’s no reason to snap pictures, there’s no reason to have the phone on at all (unless one of your guests has to be on call for their rocket surgery shift). That means fewer musical interruptions. You just know Uncle Jack will get a phone call, and he hasn’t learned how to silence the ringtone since 1998.
Ever been stuck sitting behind someone who’s live-tweeting a movie? If you’ve chosen a venue for its mood – the groom’s childhood church lit only by candles, a secluded grove of trees at your mutual favourite vineyard – the glow of cell phones might take away from the look you agonized over during the early stages of planning. In that case, going unplugged for your big day is a matter of style.
It’s not just that eye-searing glow, either. Whatever the light conditions, a guest sticking their iPhone in the aisle to get their very own ceremony shot is probably blocking the view for someone else who came to see you exchange your vows.
Meet and Greet.
If you’re introducing members of your extended families together for the first time, or if you just want to foster a spirit of lively conversation (and maybe do a little matchmaking for the groomsmen), an atmosphere where the social-media activity seems welcome might keep wallflowers up against the wall. We can all have sympathy for how much easier it is to scroll a feed than smile at a total stranger, but consider how the guest activities you encourage may affect your celebration’s tone.
Keeping the Focus.
If the matron of honour brought her selfie stick, you’re less likely to get much attention to that unique photo booth for which you’ve been lovingly gathering props. Keep guests’ eyes on the activities you planned for them by unplugging from distractions.
A Photogenic Couple.
Seriously, if you don’t control which photo goes on the cover of the wedding album on Facebook, can you trust your family to pick the one you’ll like? An unfortunate snapshot where it looks like you’re chugging the Manischewitz or an awkward cake-cutting moment where you’re both making foolish faces might be funny … but it’ll be a lot funnier if you can control when it comes out. Discuss as a couple how you might react to a bad snap becoming a favourite with your families.
If you and your partner aren’t quite sure you want your wedding to be tech-free, though, these are some reasons that might sway you toward a digital-age day. After all, there are some drawbacks.
No Playing Along at Home.
Unwell family members and distant friends who can’t attend might enjoy seeing your ceremony live-tweeted or getting the photo-booth shots in real-time.
If one member of the happy couple comes from a family or culture where attention to visual details is part of celebrating a marriage properly – and picture-snapping is often part of appreciating the graphic – banning photos can cause more offence than it’s worth. (Of course, if you’re consciously trying to create a modern ceremony with no time for Grandma Terry to demand stagey poses, it may be time to rock the boat.)
Not Perfect, but All You.
If both you and your partner don’t care about having professional retouching and ideal lighting – and that will make a difference – you can crowd-source your wedding photos by encouraging friends to snap ceremony photos and reception candids.
The unfortunate truth is that you can’t see everything that happens at your weddings. But Instagramming touching or amusing moments is a way that your guests can share their perspective with you, and it might provide you with unique insight into something your guests loved about the reception you spent so much time putting together. Unplugging removes that source of morning-after smiles.
How to Pull it Off
Whatever you decide, communicating your choice is crucial to making sure your decision is respected. (You wouldn’t want to go through all this deliberation for nothing, now, would you?) Once you’ve had the yay-or-nay conversation about the possibility of a non-tech day, make sure your wedding party and all your guests know what you’ve decided together with these tips
When in Doubt, Point to the Vendors.
If you’re going no-tech, your photographer will probably thank you for it (see pro #2 up above). They’ll probably be delighted to be the bad guy: “Our photographer requests that no additional photos be taken.” If you want your thoughtful details widely shared, opt for “If you’d like to Instagram your plate, our indie caterer would be delighted!”
Whether you’re executing a nuptial social-media takeover or going technology-free, make this clear in multiple places. An announcement on the back of the program plus a sign by the guestbook is not overkilled. When it comes to your special day, Vines of the Yarra Valley has proven itself to be an iconic wedding venue and function centre in Melbourne.
All the potential irritations (and potential fun) of an Information Age wedding come from your guests’ desire to remember and share the experience. Whatever you choose, make sure you keep that urge for togetherness in mind!