Have you heard of an ‘unplugged wedding’? I’m a big fan of this recent trend, where couples ask their guests to go without their cameras, phones and tablets through the ceremony or reception. With everyone so attached to their devices these days, it’s such a good way of making sure your guests are really present with you for this special moment instead of focusing on capturing it. And not just that, going unplugged is also a saviour for your photos. As a wedding planner in London and Essex, I’ve seen it a hundred times: the groom leans in to kiss his bride for the first time and snap! Uncle Bob steps out of his seat, blocking the photographer’s picture. You wouldn’t believe how many images are ruined by well-meaning guests!
Here are my top 10 tips for planning an unplugged wedding.
Let them know in advance
It’s always a good idea to communicate your wishes to your guests ahead of time so they aren’t surprised on the day. While it’s not appropriate to include an ‘unplugged’ request on the formal wedding invitation, you can announce it on your wedding website or include it in an information card insert, if you’re having one.
Remind them at the wedding
It’s not enough to just communicate it in advance, however. People often forget or overlook information. You should also include your request on the wedding day in the form of special signage or on the order of service, and ask either your MC or officiant to make an announcement.
Request a social media blackout
Having guests banned from taking any photos may not actually be to your advantage. Those reception candid’s can be a wonderful way to capture memories. If you want to make sure you’re not tagged in an unflattering Facebook picture the morning after, you could instead ask that none of the images are posted to social media.
Go unplugged for just a portion of the day
It’s important to note there are different levels of ‘unplugged’. Some couples ask their guests to put their phones away just for the ceremony. Others are more focused on the reception, while yet others simply don’t want images on social media. Decide what is important to you.
Whatever you decide ‘unplugged’ means to you, be specific. Guests are much more likely to comply if they know exactly what you’re asking them to do (or not do!).
Work with your photographer
During the wedding planning phase, let your photographer know you’re planning an unplugged wedding (trust me, they’ll be delighted!). Ask them to take lots of guest shots, so that everyone is included. Your photographer may also be willing to provide a link to a small selection of photos that can be shared on social media, or a link to the online album so guests can purchase their favourite images from the wedding day.
Offer a photo opp
One way to keep guests happy while at the same time staying out of the professional photos is to offer them a photo opportunity where they can get their pictures all at the same time.
Set up a photo booth
Another way to make sure guests get the images they want without using their phones is to set up a photo booth at the reception. That way they can all get involved and have a fun memento of the night too!
One of the reasons guests get their phones out is that waiting for the bride to arrive can be a little boring. Distract them with something to do, like a crossword puzzle on the order of service cards.
Let it go
No matter how (or how often) you make the request, you may have that one guest who forgets or doesn’t comply. Your wedding day is about so much more than policing your friends and family, don’t let it spoil the moment. Let it go, smile and celebrate with those you love.
Would you consider going unplugged?