Reasons to have an
why should you have an unpluGged wedding?
What is an unplugged wedding? Reasons to consider having one for your big day?
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming it’s because you or someone you know is currently planning a wedding! Yay, congratulations! Whether you’re here because you don’t know what an unplugged wedding is or because you know what one is and you’re looking for some great tips on how to implement it, I have everything you need to know about unplugged weddings.
What is an unpluGged wedding?
In short, an unplugged wedding is a technology free day for you and your guests. No phones, cameras, videos or Social Media. ‘That’s pretty militant’ I hear you say, well it can be as strict or relaxed as you like and I’ll explain below some reasons to consider when deciding whether you want to have an unplugged wedding and how much you want to implement.
Reasons you might wanT an unplugged wedding
- You have evening guests attending and you don’t want them to see elements of your day on Social Media before they’ve even arrived.
- You don’t want to see other photos before your professional photos have been sent to you.
- You just don’t want your private day shared online for others to see.
- You would like your guests to be present and engaged, not glued to their phones.
- You don’t want all your professional photos to be of people on their phones.
Pros to having an unplugged wedding
Here are some of the benefits of having an unplugged wedding.
- Your guests can be fully present and engaged in your day. You can see their smiles, rather than them being hidden behind their phone screen.
- Everyone is more sociable and the atmosphere is more emotional.
- It’s less intimidating. There’s nothing worse than feeling nervous as it is, to then be greeted by phones pointed right in your face.
- No awkward moment when someone’s phone rings at a crucial point during your ceremony.
- The excitement of seeing your professional photos won’t lose it’s charm due to seeing 27 blurry, terribly angled phone shots on Facebook.
- You won’t have guests jumping out in front of your professional photographer to get a phone shot, spoiling the official photos.
Cons to having an unplugged wedding
To be honest, there aren’t really many cons to having an unplugged wedding. You might miss a guests photo of someone doing something silly, but it’ll more than likely be a blurry, grainy phone shot that you’ll laugh at once and then never look at again. If you’re worried about missing these shots, allow guests to take photos after your ceremony is complete.
It’s all about choosing how much you want to restrict technology on your day.
As you can see from these images, the couples guests leaned into the aisle to take their photos, without realising that they’re jumping in front of the professional photographer. In the first shot, you can clearly see that a guests phone actually got in the way of the camera focusing on the couple as it covered the brides face completely. Luckily it wasn’t a key moment but it could very easily have been a beautiful shot ruined.
Now you know what an unplugged wedding is,
how do you implement it into your day?
How to have an unplugged wedding!
Having an unplugged wedding is easy! Here are some suggestions on how to go about it. I’ll go into more detail about each of them.
- Social Media embargo
- Unplugged Ceremony
- ‘Social Media Moments’
Social Media Embargo
If you don’t want to have a completely unplugged wedding, this is a great way to allow your guests to capture some personal photos whilst not having your big day shared all over the internet before the day is even over. Have your celebrant/registrar inform your guests before the ceremony starts, that you’ve requested that nothing gets posted on social media until after the day. By doing this, your evening guests won’t see anything prior to them arriving and people won’t be attached to their phones.
A great way to get your guests on board with this is to include a wedding photo app where your guests can upload all their photos from the day to the app You can then look through them all the following day, without everyone else seeing them first.
An unplugged ceremony is where you request that your guests refrain from using their phones and/or cameras completely throughout your ceremony. This is a popular choice at weddings as it is often seen as the most important part of the day by the couple. I like to encourage unplugged ceremonies as an option to couples. As a photographer, I’ve experienced times where guests have jumped in front of my camera just as one of my couples are walking down the aisle and completely blocked the shot or they have the flash turned on which has resulted in my photo being completely over exposed or simply guests are just looking at the back of their phone screen, rather than at the couple entering/existing.
You can put up a sign at the entrance that lets your guests know that you’ve chosen to have an unplugged ceremony or you could ask your celebrant/registrar/vicar to announce it when your guests are all seated.
‘Social Media Moments’
‘Social Media Moments’ is a relatively new concept but it is a genius one! This is where you schedule/allocate specific parts of the day for your guests to take photos without it interrupting the running of the day. This is great for letting your guests feel like they’re still a part of capturing your day whilst also keeping them present and not getting in the way of your professional photographer.
For example, your celebrant/registrar asks your guests to all grab a photo of you both stood before them, before the ceremony has started. Once everyone has grabbed their photos, they are then asked to put their phones away for the rest of the ceremony.
You can also set up a photo booth or mini Polaroid cameras during your reception for guests to use. As these are usually instant printed images, guests can take them away with them as a keepsake without uploading them to social media.
The Rules Apply to everyone
Make sure that everyone is aware that these rules apply to all, including suppliers other than your photographer. In an age where social media content is key to most businesses, it’s understandable that each supplier is fighting for their own content. However, there have been cases where other suppliers have gotten in the way of the professional photos or have delayed the running of the day due to getting social media content. You also don’t want to tell all your guests that they can’t post on social media, only to find another supplier has posted details of your big day online, before you’ve even walked down the aisle.
Consider scheduling a few minutes where your suppliers can take all the photos they need during that time. Once the time is up, they then need to refrain from taking any more photos. This then means you don’t have to sit multiple times having photos taken by each supplier and you don’t have to feel bad/awkward for telling the last one that there’s not enough time or being too polite and timings overrun. I once witnessed a wedding where the bride was 30 minutes late due to suppliers creating full length videos for Instagram reels, it then meant there wasn’t enough time for bridal portraits, which was such a shame.
Here you can see three different guests from the same wedding, all sat on their phones. Imagine looking through your gallery to see a large number of your guests, constantly glued to their screen rather than enjoying the moment.
There’s also an example of another supplier accidentally getting into the shot to get their own social media content. Again, it was fortunate that it wasn’t a key moment but again, could have easily been a more important shot that was missed.
Unplugged weddings – Overview
- Decide how much of your day you want to be ‘unplugged’
- Just the ceremony?
- No Social Media posts?
- No technology at all throughout the day?
- Let guests and suppliers know what the plan is.
- Create signs letting your guests know.
- Pop a note in the invitations with your requests.
- Ask your celebrant/registrar/vicar to announce it before the ceremony.