...And How It Went
When it came to organising our wedding day last year, we had no doubts: it would have been an unplugged wedding. As a photographer myself, it was a no-brainer for me, but friends and couples often asked me why I decided to do that. There are several reasons and, in this blog post, I will attempt to describe our experience with our own unplugged wedding.
What is an 'Unplugged wedding'?
First of all, what is an ”unplugged wedding”? A so-called unplugged wedding is a wedding where the couple asks their guests to turn off their electronic devices, in particular, mobile phones, tablets and cameras. Sometimes it is for the whole day or sometimes is just for the ceremony. You can read more about it here.
Why I Decided to Have an Unplugged Wedding
”Thou shalt not step in front of my amazing wedding photographer!”
This is, of course, the most obvious reason and the first that comes to everyone’s mind. After all the effort and pain, it took us to choose my own wedding photographer, the last thing we wanted was for someone to step in front of his camera in a key moment. I must add that most guests are not that pushy and definitely don’t do it intentionally. Sometimes people may just get carried away in the moment and not realise it.
Being in the Moment
This is an aspect which is often overlooked, but one of the good things about an unplugged wedding is that the guests tend to be more focused on what’s going on in front of them, instead of just capturing it with their devices. It just helps people stay more tuned to the event.
How We Handled it
What We Asked
Our request was pretty basic, we asked our guests to not take photos during the ceremony and to refrain from posting any photos on social media until the day after the wedding. The reason behind the latter request being that we really wanted some of the official photographer’s photos to be the first to come out.
We also mentioned that people could freely take selfies and candids throughout the rest of the day after the ceremony.
If you like you could also point out that you intend to share with everyone the online gallery provided by the photographer, so they can see and download the photos they like it.
How We Asked
Like many other couples nowadays, we had a wedding website with all the info regarding the wedding (particularly important for destination weddings!). Among the basic information (hotel, flights etc), there was a short paragraph on there that explained why we wanted an unplugged wedding and linked to an article about it.
We also made sure that we posted it about in the private Facebook and WhatsApp groups with the guests, including a link to our photographer’s work/page, so our guests started to familiarise with him and his reportage style.
On the day itself, we just had a simple sign next to the ceremony area, but some people prefer to ask the celebrant to mention it.
How the Guests Reacted
I know for a fact that many people don’t feel comfortable asking their guests to not take photos. and are worried it might sound rude. As much as that’s understandable, it’s really nothing to fear. Most people are really happy to do it as long as you point out that it’s important to you and explain your reasoning behind it.
So, how did our guests react? To be fair, I think at first they were all just really puzzled about it. Most of them did not even know unplugged weddings were a thing. A few made jokes about it but in a good way. Overall, nobody refused or complained or found it unreasonable, they were just all really happy to go with it.
How it Went on the Day
Here comes the big surprise. It exceeded our expectations. Being unfamiliar with the whole thing, most people just kept their phones in their pocket for the whole day I found that, in a way, not considering their phones as much of an option, the guests were more drawn to bound together and to chat with each other. By the end of it, many told me that it had been a really good experience and it had allowed them to enjoy the day more.
As a plus, our photographer was free to move around freely without having to watch out for screens and our photos look beautiful with all of our family and friends smiling or laughing rather than having a screen on their face.
Having an Unplugged Wedding: a Balance
- People being in the moment more than focused on something else;
- Beautiful photos of smiling/crying faces and not screens;
- Dramatic reduction of the number of selfies online, but greater bonding between the guests;
- Privacy! I did not mind this personally, but it is nice to know that there won’t be hundreds of photos online of what is supposed to be an intimate private moment before the day it’s even over;
- Less noise during the ceremony. Let’s face it nobody likes mobiles ringing during an emotional moment;
- If you’re having some guests joining later for the evening, it will be nice to not spoil the surprise before they get there;
There are really not that many!
- We didn’t have any funny #hashtags or tons of guests’ photo, but we had considered that and knew we would be happy with having only good quality professional photos instead.
Let’s be clear on a couple of things. We did take some funny selfies, it just did not become all about that and personally, I loved it. Also, I definitely not recommend having an unplugged wedding if you don’t have a designated photographer! You don’t want to miss out on the memories.