Asking your guests to put down their favorite tech devices can be a delicate dance. As with any special request you make of your wedding guests, you need to be sensitive and respectful. Your wedding guests take photos because they want to be able to remember, re-live, and share their experiences of your special day. If you choose to have an unplugged wedding, you must commit to sharing all your wedding photos with your guests. Be sure you have a plan in place beforehand of how you choose to do so. Wedding photographers are more than happy to work with you, even if it is simply making sure that a small set of five or ten shots are available digitally within a couple of days of your wedding. This way, you can share them via email, your wedding website, or even on Facebook and Instagram. Just be sure you have it all figured out with your photographer before your unplugged wedding!
While some couples embrace technology at their wedding, others are shying away from guests using cellphones, iPads and digital cameras on their wedding day. An “unplugged” wedding means asking your guests not to use devices either during the ceremony or in some cases, for the entire wedding, as well as refraining from posting any images online until after the wedding. Whether you love this idea, or are still skeptical as to whether this is the way to go, we have several reasons that just might have you going old school!
You will not only get major brownie points with your photographer, but your wedding photos will actually look better! Search online for “unplugged wedding” and you will read countless anecdotes from wedding photographers of guests getting in the way of wedding photos because they wanted to snap their own photo with a cellphone or iPad. A flash from another digital camera or cell phone can also ruin professional photos. Most photographers will be over the moon if you just let them do their job without interfering.
Your wedding guests will be fully present and in the moment.
Do you really want your guests with their eyes on their phones during dinner or during the reception? Not having technology means everyone is paying attention to what is going on. After all, you have planned a huge wonderful day for everyone; experiencing it through the screen of a phone or camera is just not the same as being wholly present. We have some suggestion below on how to address this at the beginning of your ceremony.
Guests will talk to each other, reconnect and make new friends.
Not having phones means people will have conversations with each other instead of staring at those small screens. Ensure your guests that your photographer will take a lot of candid shots of everyone which you will share post honeymoon. This way they don’t have to worry about snapping their own photos, washing out the professional photographer with their flash, or interrupting conversations to take photos.
You can enjoy every single moment.
Having an “unplugged” wedding also applies to the happy couple. Relax and take in every moment, preserving each memory instead of snapping photos with your phone or live tweeting every minute of your wedding. Even if you’re not having a tech-free reception, give your phone to your Maid of Honor or Best Man to keep for the day or better yet, leave it at home.
You will get the photos you want, we promise!
Having a tech-free wedding ensures the photos you do have from the wedding will be flattering photos that you want from your photographer and not grainy, cellphone photos with unflattering angles. Be sure to sweeten the deal by ensuring your guests that they will have full access to the final wedding photos after the wedding, so they don’t have to worry about taking their own pictures or getting in the way of the photographer causing them to miss important moments.
You will cut down on all the noise and distractions.
No one wants a ringing cellphone or message notification interrupting their ceremony. Even if you remind people to silence their phones, having 150 phone cameras, iPads and digital cameras clicking and flashing at once might not be pleasant for everyone either. Trust us, avoid the wedding paparazzi! For example, in cases like this, guests were so excited to get a photo of the bride coming down the aisle, the groom couldn't even see her for himself!
There is less chance that you will miss out on something special.
When people are engrossed in their cellphones, they to tune out what is happening around them. You don’t want your special guests to miss the cake-cutting, first dance or toasts because they were too busy checking email or texts. Your wedding should be the most important thing going on that day.
You ensure privacy.
Some people love posting every moment of their waking lives online, while others are much more private about sharing their lives on the internet. If you are the latter, nicely ask your your guests to refrain from posting any photos of the wedding online, keeping the photos for themselves.
Avoid any social media awkwardness.
Having other people post photos of your wedding that they took can also lead to some awkwardness. There may be photos you don’t like due to an unflattering angle or action, party photos that got a little too rowdy or maybe someone who wasn’t invited will see the photos and cause discomfort with some choice comments on social media.
It’s a time saver.
When guests are getting in the way of the photographer with their own cameras instead of letting the professionals do their job, your photo session will take longer. With the lack of technology at your wedding, your photographer will not have to wait for others to set up and snap their own photos nor will they have to take additional images due to random flashes going off and washing out their images.
Your photographer’s main priority the day of your wedding is YOU. You spent your hard-earned money to make sure the professionals beautifully document your wedding. When an overzealous guest gets in the way, often not realizing what they are doing, they can ruin a shot that can never be duplicated. Such as popping up in front of the photographer causing them to miss “the kiss.” So, we encourage you to consider the benefits of an unplugged ceremony at the very least, or ask your guests to think of your professional photographer before jumping in the aisle for that shot.
And as promised, here are some suggestions for your wedding officiant, Minister, Pastor or Rabbi to say prior to the beginning of your ceremony to alert your guests of your decision. Please also use them on your wedding website, program, invitations — and even a pre-designed printable sign you can post at the venue!
If you choose to share wedding information with your guests on a wedding website, one way to give them a heads up about your unplugged decision prior to the big day and to explain why you ask they leave their devices off would be…
Our Unplugged Wedding
We want you to be able to truly enjoy our wedding day, feeling present and in the moment with us. We’ve hired an amazing wedding photographer who will be capturing the way the wedding looks. We are inviting each of you to just sit back, relax and enjoy how the wedding feels. We are respectfully asking that everyone consider leaving all cameras, cellphones and iPads off. Of course, we will be happy to share our wedding photos with you afterwards!
If you don’t have a wedding website and prefer to put a note in your wedding program…
Please Unplug for our Wedding
We want you to be able to relax and have fun with us today! Keeping this in mind, we invite you to please put down your favorite devices and just be present in the moment with us. Leave your camera in your bag (we’ve got photography covered!), and put your cellphone on mute (we promise they will call back!). We are happy to share our professional wedding photos with you after the wedding. The greatest gift you can give us today is just being fully here with us in this sacred and special moment.
For something a bit less wordy you can also simply write…
The happy couple ask that you share in their wedding fully and not through the lens of a camera or cellphone.
Or even include this image with the text…
No Pictures Please.
We are honored that you are with us during our wedding today. Our professional photographers are covering the ceremony. We request that you refrain from photography during the entire ceremony and promise to share our images with you afterwards.
The easiest way to remind your guests to put away their devices, however, is to have your officiant make a brief announcement prior to the ceremony. Here are some suggestions…
1. The couple respectfully requests that all guests honor the sanctity of this moment by turning off cellphones and cameras.
2. I invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off your cellphones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks. I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology.
3. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the wedding of _______ and ________. Please take a moment to silence any cellphones or other noisy electronics. If you would also take a moment to put away your cameras, ________ and ________ have requested that no photos be taken during the ceremony. Thank you very much for your understanding.
Or, you always have the option to relieve the tension with a laugh! Have your officiant ask the couple to turn around to face all their guests once they arrive at the altar. Then have them say, “Everyone, get the photo you really want now, because we ask that your cameras remain off for the remainder of the ceremony.”