You wouldn't believe how many gorgeous wedding photos we see which are ruined by an aunty with an iPad or an aisle lined with guests who have phones covering their faces!
What is an unplugged wedding ceremony?
An unplugged ceremony is a wedding ceremony in which only the professional photographer is allowed to take photos. Guests are asked to switch their phones off and refrain from taking photos or videos during the ceremony.
Guests have always taken photos at weddings, and in the past disposable cameras on wedding tables have encouraged guests to get snap-happy. However, huge advances in technology – including low cost professional camera equipment and high-spec cameras on mobile phones – have meant that many guests now view the entire wedding through a camera lens.
While some couples embrace the trend for guest photography, asking guests to send them their photos and to share them on social networks, others feel that because they’ve paid a professional to take the wedding photos guests should put their cameras away. There is a growing trend for ‘unplugged’ weddings where guests are asked not to use cameras or mobile phones.
But how do you ask your guests to skip the Insta Stories and leave their phones and iPads at home? In most cases asking your friends and family to go technology-free (phone, camera, iPad) for your entire wedding just won't work, but it is entirely reasonable to ask your guests to switch off for the ceremony. However you want your unplugged wedding to work, we've come up with some tips for requesting an unplugged wedding without seeming too demanding, as well as important advice for guests to follow too!
1. Include your Unplugged Wedding in your Invites or on your Wedding Website
Early notice is always a good idea! Give your guests advance warning and politely point out that you'd love if all guests could go phone, camera, and iPad free for the ceremony or the reception.
2. Ask your Officiant to Make an Announcement
Perhaps the most effective way to nip technology use in the bud, your guests are more likely to listen to an authority figure like your celebrate than to your subtle requests!
3. Put it in your Wedding Program
Whether you have or haven't listed your tech preferences on your invite, it's no harm to include it again in your wedding program or the mass booklet. A line explaining that you want your guests to relax and enjoy the ceremony phone-free will work perfectly.
4. Signage & Chalkboards
Signage or chalkboards are definitely the prettiest way to encourage your guests to stop using their phones or iPads, particularly if you want the rule to apply throughout your day. Likewise, if you want them to take photos, you can always include your wedding hashtag, and let them know you'd like them to hold off posting on social media until the next day. You'll find lots of these on sites like Etsy, check out our stationery suppliers for something custom made, or if you're creative, wedding signage can be a fun, simple DIY.
6. Share your Professional Photos with Everyone Afterwards
Most of your guests mean no harm whatsoever taking out their phones and cameras, they simply want a memento. Assuring everyone they'll get a few snaps will make putting down their technology so much easier. Make sure to chat with your photographer about this beforehand and ask for lots of guest shots.
7. Have a Photobooth or a Polaroid Station
If you're going the whole hog and really don't want any technology throughout the whole day, a photo booth is a nice option that allows guests to have some photos of their own.
Do think carefully before having no photos at all though - sometimes the best snaps are the ones taken by friends throughout the day that you get to pore over on WhatsApp or Instagram the next morning!
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