What is an Unplugged Wedding
Why Should you Have One?
Hey there pretty people! Welcome back to the blog! Today is going to be less about my work and more of a PSA. There are so so…. SO many articles out there on the web right now on this subject but for some reason, not everyone has heard of this concept, unplugged Weddings. So, I thought, what’s the harm in writing up one more article to help educate just a few more people?
What are unplugged weddings, why do people incorporate them, how do they work? Let’s get started going over the benefits and mechanics of the whole ordeal.
What are Unplugged Weddings?
Super simple, unplugged weddings are when a couple decides to ask their guests to put away all cameras and phones for one portion or the entire wedding. The “what” is really, how many ways there are to have one. You can choose to ask your guests to turn off all of their devices before they arrive and leave them off for the entirety of your wedding. You could even have a no phone/camera policy during the ceremony only.
Why do people have Unplugged weddings?
There are really only two main reasons couples choose to go unplugged during their weddings. The first being, to have their friends and family be fully present with them during this time. It’s no secret that technology runs most of our day to day lives and it’s very easy to get so wrapped up in our phones and other devices that we miss what is really going on around us. Even if you are watching the ceremony through the screen of your phone while you are recording it, are you really there in the moment?
The second reason is that many couples chose to spend a large chunk of their budget on a great photographer. They took the time to choose someone they liked and trusted to tell an accurate story of their special day. It’s all too easy for a well meaning aunt or uncle to step in front of a very expensive photographer and ruin a moment completely.
“we had no phones or cameras during the ceremony and it was so nice to turn around and actually see people’s faces.” – Abigail B.
“We had an unplugged wedding after our photographer suggested it. I think our photos came out even more beautiful. Everyone was living in the moment and it was nice to see faces & not the back of iPhones. It was a 15 minute ceremony! If people can’t put their phone away for 15 minutes we have a problem! ” -Brittany W.
- Groom/Bride can actually SEE their Groom/Bride come down the aisle
- Wedding couple gets their money’s worth out of the photographer they actually paid for
- Photographer’s important shots don’t have someone’s phone, hear, or other body part covering the action
- Aunts and Uncles don’t get accidentally elbowed by the photographer
- Photographer can take one of their reasons off of their “reasons to drink after a wedding” list
- None of your guests feel like they missed any of the special moments
- The couple feels like their family and friends are actually paying attention to something extremely important to them.
- No unauthorized “photographers” invade the couples space during the ceremony
5 Steps to an Unplugged Wedding?
Ask your Photographer/wedding planner/Venue/officiant for advice
One of you major wedding vendors is usually your first introduction to the wedding planning world and the professionals have great knowledge. Do not be afraid to ask any and ALL questions you can think of. We recognize that you may have never done this before, we have done it loads of times.
Put it on the invitations
Make sure that it is on the biggest piece of correspondence you will have with all of your guests before the wedding. You wedding invitation should contain all pertinent information, including whether or not photos will be allowed during a certain part of the wedding.
Physically tell everyone you can in person
Make a list of all the people you can think of that may be the problem guests. The ones that you suspect will have a hard time following directions and make sure to work into several conversations.
“Gosh I am just SOO excited about the photographers we hired and we are SO GLAD that we chose to ask everyone not to take photos or video during the ceremony.”
Be prepared to have to repeat the message over and over. Parents and grandparents usually think they are immune to most rules.
Post pretty signs from the venue entrance to the ceremony site and everywhere in between
Scour the internet for your favorite ways that people have posted about their unplugged weddings and decide what you will do. Whether its chalkboard, wood, or pretty printed paper, there are so many beautiful ways to showcase this rule.
Have your Officiant make an announcement
It’s shocking but sometimes people don’t take heed of the rules. There will be people who don’t bother reading your beautiful signs, or may even think it doesn’t apply to them. When you have your officiant make an announcement that all phones and cameras are to be put away then you reinforce that this rule applies to everyone and make it known they are being watched!
I actually had an officiant tell me, the paid photographer, that I was NOT allowed to photograph the vows being read. They made it clear that I was to put away my camera during this time and be present in the moment with the couple. My immediate thought was to nip this in the bud by exclaiming that I was not paid to enjoy the moment, I was hired to immortalize it! Then I realized that they must have had just the worst experience with photographers (paid and unauthorized) hovering in the sacred marriage bubble during the ceremony and now that has ruined it for that officiant forever.
The next photographer they told that to might actually put down their camera during that time and miss something so special. I made good use of my telephoto lens that day. My point being that it’s dangerous to future couples too, for people to act a fool and be photo crazy. You are doing so many an excellent favor by having unplugged weddings.
Huffington Post, as always, has gathered some of the best signs out there. I love these! Bokeh Amour Photography
Something else to consider:
A lot of my couples ask me if it bothers me if their guests take photos. Let’s just stop a second so I can make something clear as it pertains to MY business. I cannot speak for other photographers. I have NO ISSUE with you friends and family getting the photos they want. Heck, I welcome others to shoot over my shoulder during formals and will even invite them to.When it’s a problem….
- During moments you cant get back; ceremony, first dances etc …
- When it directly and sometimes purposefully impedes on me getting the shot I need to fulfill my side of the contract.
- When your cousin, beginner photographer, thinks it’s OK to shadow me, ask me constant questions and take a photo over my shoulder of a shot that I set up then post it on their photography pages as something they created. I love teaching, I love helping out beginners but during a hectic wedding workday is not the time nor place.
If you have anything to add, or testimony for or against this option, please leave a comment below! I would love to have a conversation with you.
If you would like to book me for your wedding or portrait session please click HERE to be taken to my contact page. You are bad ass, you are a rock star. You love life and all of it’s eccentric ways of telling you to slow down and have a good time. Let me help tell your story like the one below.
Special thanks to Katie of Katie Frost Weddings and her guy Chris for allowing me to have a little fun with them on that blustery day.