Considering the pros and cons of ‘unplugging’? Here are some of the reasons to consider an unplugged wedding ceremony which can help you make your decision.
So what’s an unplugged ceremony? The premise is simple: kindly asking your wedding guests to put their technology away (smartphones, cameras, etc.) for certain parts of your wedding day. Most commonly, you will see this requested at ceremonies, and then guests can get back to their devices during the reception (if they choose.)
Before we break down the reasons to consider an unplugged wedding ceremony, it’s helpful to think about why people might not want to do this so that you can weigh the pros and cons.
You might feel guilty to ask your guests to put away their technology. This is probably the biggest reason why couples don’t opt for the unplugged ceremony. (Do we need to remind you that this is your day, and not theirs?)
You may want some of the impromptu shots with unique angles or point of view. (The right photographer will get you all of the shots you need! Plus, if this is really important to you then you can always add-on an extra shooter.)
You might think about it too late. (Keep reading for some ways you could include this in more impromptu ways.)
The Pros of Having Your Guests Unplug Technology at the Ceremony
Your guests will be more present. This is one of the most important reasons to consider an unplugged wedding ceremony. Your guests have been invited to fully take part in your wedding day experience. If they are focused on trying to get photos or video snippets of you on their smartphones, then they might miss the sentiment being built up around you. Wedding ceremonies are typically short, under 20 minutes, and you’ve put a lot of work into planning the program. When a guest is viewing meaningful moments through a smartphone screen, that can take away their ability to soak in all of the details that you have meticulously put into place. Are we so connected to our devices that we can’t put them away for a brief moment of time, which is the culmination of months of planning?
Your guests' phones are less likely to buzz, ring, chime… you name it. When guests arrive at a ceremony and know that it’s unplugged, it’s likely that they will take one more look at their devices and then put it away in a safe place. But before they put it away, then they will likely double check that it’s on a silent setting since they are aware of how important a tech-free zone is to you and your spouse. On top of the noise alerts, this also means that they won’t be texting with the babysitter. They will not be looking down at the notification of motion at their house's front door. And will disregard Facebook notifications of a random person's birthday.
You won’t be distracted by the technology around you. You might not realize it, but there’s a lot of stimulation around you when you get married. You might be distracted by the butterflies in your stomach as you walk down the aisle. You’re likely to catch glimpses of people you haven’t seen in a long time. You may have a family member boo-hooing in the front. The noises, like the bird in the tree or random airplane above, begin to sound louder than ever before. There’s a lot happening—on top of a veil, a wedding gown train, and new shoes that you’re still getting used to! The LAST thing you need is to be caught off guard during your vows because your aunt is leaning into the aisle with her iPad camera turned on.
There are fewer chances of your guests being the first to post photos of your first kiss or other special moments during “I Do”. It can be common for the first ‘social media’ introduction to the world as newlyweds to be in the form of a (grainy) tagged photo posted by a cousin or high school friend. If your guests don’t have technology readily on them to capture and post the photo, then they're likely to get their first official shot later at the reception. (Those posts will come later in the day.)
Your photo and video won’t be disrupted by technology in-frame.
This tops the list for reasons to do an unplugged wedding ceremony! (Okay, maybe we’re biased, but it’s a good one!) There is NOTHING worse than investing in professionals to capture your photo and video, and having some of the footage ruined by people with technology in the background. Sure…the venue is gorgeous, the lighting is perfect, and the entire wedding décor and styling is on-point. But a gifted photographer can’t help if a family member is standing at the entrance where the doors open for the bride to walk through. And the most gifted videographers can’t help it if your childhood friend is standing behind the bride and groom, trying to capture the first kiss. Sure, we can do our ‘magic’ as best as we can, but a guest with technology in their hand in the background can ruin some of the most perfect frames of your wedding day.
Tips for an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony
If you and your spouse-to-be decide that unplugged is right for you, it’s best to let your guests know in advance and then to remind them on the big day. We recommend that you include it on your wedding invitations, and posted as an FAQ on your wedding website.
Then at the wedding ceremony, you can:
Post it on signage in a prime location where your guests first enter
Make the reminder visible anywhere where your guests are seated
Print it on the wedding program
Have your officiant inform the guests before the ceremony begins
Not sure how to word the request? Here are a few ideas for how to tell your guests that your wedding ceremony is unplugged:
“Welcome to our unplugged ceremony. We invite you to be fully present. Kindly turn off all cell phones and cameras and enjoy this special moment with us. Thank you.” Via The Knot
“Welcome family and friends! We’ve hired a photographer to capture how this moment looks with their camera, so you can capture how it feels with your hearts.” Via The Wedding Playbook
“Eyes up, phones down, hearts open.” Via Young Hip and Married
“We really want to see your faces, not your devices. Please put your phones and cameras away until after the ceremony.” Via Zazzle
“We’re going unplugged! During our ceremony, please put your cameras and phones away. We promise to share moments of our big day.” Via Etsy
In a world where we are all so connected to our devices, there’s something to be said about having the opportunity to unplug and be fully present? We hope you enjoyed hearing some of the reasons to consider an unplugged wedding ceremony. Your wedding day is a really big milestone in your life, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for asking your wedding guests for a simple favor like this one. If the outcome is a wedding guest list of people who are genuinely engaged and present, we think this is a win-win.
If you’re still looking for a photographer or videographer to capture your unplugged wedding, we still have availability in 2022 and are actively booking for 2023. Check out some of our portfolios here (Florida) and here (California), and get in touch with us today.
[Photoshoot in the spotlight: Caitlin and Kuy in Houston, Texas by Mekennah.]
The Joy Team