One very popular trend these days is the idea of going “unplugged”; of asking your guests to put away their cell phones and cameras during your wedding ceremony.
While this move isn’t for everyone—and indeed, there are some couples who are all about the social media and jump at the chance to tie it into their “I do’s”—for many it has a certain appeal. Below we share the reasons why going unplugged might work for you and the best way to go about it!
Get Your Guests’ Attention: A wedding should be about coming together to share in the moment when two people are joined together in bonds of love. It’s a celebration of the relationships that help us through life and, for many, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. When a bride and groom look out on the audience of people gathered to share this special day with them, they most likely would like to see the rapt, teary-eyed, supportive faces of their loved ones, not a sea of screens. Having an unplugged ceremony can help to maintain that sense of intimacy and solemnity that many couples desire for their wedding, as well as keeping guests present and in the moment so that they can truly ponder and experience the readings, vows, and other spoken and visual components that have been so carefully chosen for this life-changing event.
You Paid for that Photographer: One reason why many couples are opting to ask their guests to go tech-free for the wedding ceremony is that guests who are striving for that perfect pic often have an impact on the photography the bride and groom are actually paying for; often paying a whole lot for. Talk to any wedding photographer and they can give you countless stories of first kiss photobombings, flash fiascos, and ceremony-long aisle hogs. It’s not that guest photographers have a tendency to ruin your pro photos on purpose—it’s just that when everyone is trying to get a photo of the same magical moment, they tend to try and choose the most strategic locations with the best view, which is generally where you find the professional photographer. Any good professional photographer should have the ability to work with what they’re given and still come up with beautiful prints, but for this once-in-a-lifetime event would you rather have the best possible shots or the best possible shots under confining circumstances? By asking guests to leave the photography to the person hired to do it the couple is ensuring that they are getting the photographs they asked for without any interference.
Give Advance Warning: Unless you want a lot of backlash against your decision to go device-free during the ceremony, make sure that you give your guests plenty of warning. Leave a note on your wedding website and include a line in the save-the-date or invitation. Then, when the big day comes, print a line or two in the program or have a cute sign respectfully and pleasantly asking people to keep their cellphones and cameras off. Finally, get the officiant in on the action with a short, sweet announcement, just as a reminder and to catch all those people who weren’t paying attention earlier.
Limit it to the Ceremony: The desire to keep cellphones out of people’s hands for the ceremony is understandable, but the reception is a party, and people like taking pictures and having fun at a party! Trust us, your guests will feel a lot more willing to put up their electronics for the ceremony if they can use them during the reception. And remember, too, there are moms and dads out there who need to check with their babysitters! They will –not- appreciate you asking them to keep their phones off for the whole night. The added bonus, of course, is that here is where your friends can take amazing pictures to help you remember the event from many different perspectives! Why would you pass that up?
Be Clear About What You Want: Most people really want to follow your requests with regards to your wedding: it’s your day, most people understand that. However that means that your job is to make sure your requests are clear and don’t leave room for misinterpretation. What is it that you want your guests to refrain from? Just phone calls? Texting? Taking pictures? Do you not want wedding photos to appear on Facebook or Instagram before a certain time? Make it clear to your guests what you’d like and they will do their best to respect your wishes. Just remember to ask respectfully—nobody likes demands.
Don’t Try to Physically Confiscate People’s Phones: Look, it’s one thing to ask your friends and family to please refrain from using their devices during your ceremony, but it’s a whole other thing to treat them like children by taking their phones away. Your guests are adults and deserve to be treated as such: confiscating phones is a way of telling your guests they can’t be trusted to follow simple instructions and even if they can’t, it’s very undiplomatic to tell them so. Besides, this opens up the door for a nightmare of misplaced and unintentionally swapped phones which is not a can of worms you want to open. Trust us.