Having an unplugged wedding ceremony is becoming increasingly popular. It’s something that as a Lincolnshire wedding photographer my brides & grooms ask me about a lot, so here's a little post about it so that you can decide whether it sounds like the right option for you!
What does ‘unplugged’ mean?
Having an unplugged wedding ceremony means that you ask all your guests to turn off their phones and cameras for the duration of your ceremony so that they are watching it with their eyes and living in the real moment, rather than watching it on their screens as they record it or try to take photos all the way through. It also aids your photographer so they can get the best images possible without phones or ipads etc being in front of either yours or the guest's faces etc.
How do we do it?
There are a couple of options:
Ask the vicar or registrar to announce that you request guests to turn off their phones and cameras for the ceremony.
Write a little note in the invitations and/or on the Order of Service to say that it will be an unplugged ceremony so please can they not use their phones/cameras.
Make a sign which is clearly displayed as people go into the wedding ceremony venue.
Reassure your guests that you are having a professional photographer taking the photos, which the guests will be able to have access to afterwards so they don’t need to worry about taking their own.
Make sure that your vicar/registrar will allow your professional photographer to take photos!
There are a number of handy little quotes available online that you can use in your invitations/ceremony etc to put the message across nicely – here is an example:
“Welcome to our unplugged ceremony. We invite you to connect with us at this special time. Please, turn off your 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. Thank you”.
The advantages: The advantages of having an unplugged wedding ceremony are many...
1. Your guests will be able to enjoy living in the moment with you as you get married, rather than watching you on a screen.
2. You will be able to see the happy faces of your loved ones as you get married, rather than their phone hardware (also it will be their faces rather than their phones in your professional photos too!).
3. You won’t have a hundred intimidating phones/ipads pointing at you, beeping, clicking and flashing, distracting you while you are trying to do the important bit of the day.
4. There won’t be a bunch of photos heading straight onto social media before you’ve had a chance to look at them first – you’ll be able to share your own professional photographer’s photos instead.
5. Your guests will not be stepping out into the aisle to try to get their own photos of you, getting in the way of your professional photographer and ruining their shots at the key moments such as the first kiss and when you’re walking down the aisle (your professional photographer will be very happy about this!).
6. There is less risk that someone’s phone will start ringing in the middle of your ceremony (or that someone will be checking the football score) if all their phones are turned off.
7. In this world today there are too many distractions with people’s phones etc, so it is a nice gesture to give them the opportunity to escape from being connected to their phones and to be connected to you in the ceremony instead.
The disadvantages: There aren’t many disadvantages to having an unplugged ceremony, but they are still important to consider and it might make it a deal-breaker for you...
1. If you have guests who love to take pictures of everything, they might be a bit unhappy about being told not to. But hopefully, they would understand and respect your decision, especially as it is for their own benefit in living in the happy moment with you.
2. If you don’t have a professional photographer there taking photos for you, having an unplugged ceremony would mean that you don’t get any pictures to remember this important part of your day. Guests can sometimes get some great shots that you might love. So, balance up what is most important to you – having guests capturing memories for you, or having them watch it with their own eyes with no devices allowed.
To sum up, I personally think that having an unplugged wedding ceremony is a really good idea because your guests can enjoy watching your wedding ceremony without distractions. As a wedding photographer, I see people watching important life events through their phone screens all the time, and I think it is a real shame because you’re not really there at the moment. And anyway, they can get their phones and cameras out again as soon as the ceremony is over, so there are plenty more opportunities for photos throughout the rest of your amazing wedding day