Reasons to have an unplugged wedding, I am going there.
As a business owner, and in general, a human being, I tend to stay away from controversy. I just don’t like it and I’d rather avoid it. That being said, today we’re going to talk about something that is (for some reason) very controversial. The unplugged wedding. If you’ve been living under a rock or simply haven’t heard this term, here is it means:
An unplugged wedding (or more commonly unplugged ceremony) is where the bride and groom ask that guests respectfully put away their phone and allow themselves to be fully present during the ceremony. They often post signs saying something along the lines of “don’t worry, the photographers got this.” Here is something that my good friend and longtime client Virginia made for her wedding:
There are many variations of an unplugged wedding. Generally speaking, the entire wedding is not unplugged. It is mostly for the ceremony and the family formals. I think that I speak for most photographers when I say that we don’t care if you bust out your phone during the reception. However, if the couple asks you not to, it is their wedding and as a guest, you should respect their wishes.
What shocks me is the backlash that many couples (and their photographers) get from family and other wedding guests. I’ve personally seen it, and it doesn’t make sense. Someone once said, “well, what if the photographer doesn’t get the shot?” To that I say, no one is perfect, but we are professionals. A photographer is far more likely not to get the shot if they are surrounded by others with phones, DSLRs, iPads, etc. who are also trying to “get the shot.” Trust me, it’s really difficult to get everyone’s attention, especially the kids when everyone is gathered around you attempting to get their own shot.
3 reasons to have an unplugged wedding:
Now that you’ve heard a little from a photographers perspective, here are a few reasons to have an unplugged wedding
1. Guests are truly more engaged. It isn’t just about the photos, but when guests put their phones down they are actually interacting with people! If you haven’t noticed, people walk around looking at their phones like zombies. This doesn’t happen at an unplugged wedding.
2. The bride and groom get to share their photos on their schedule. Sometimes the bride and groom ask for an unplugged wedding so that they can announce it themselves. This is particularly true for a smaller wedding where not all friends and family members are present. Even if you don’t understand why the couple would want this, it’s important to respect their wishes.
3. The photographer’s photos aren’t compromised. I can, I have, and I will continue to work around guestographers (or Uncle Bob’s, as we call them) at weddings. With that said, it can be very difficult to maneuver around guests with a mission to capture every moment themselves. It isn’t rude to the photographer, it’s rude to the couple who is paying the photographer to capture their memories. I’ve had guests stick an iPad up right in front of me, at more than one wedding! I’ve also had flashes from cell phones and DSLR’s ruin beautiful shots.
The best of both worlds
There is a compromise, simply ask that guests put away their phones for the ceremony. You may also want to send guests to another location during the family formal shots so that those are quicker and have fewer distractions. For the reception, have a photo booth or a wedding hashtag for sharing, or both!
So let’s say that you want to have an unplugged wedding but you aren’t sure how to communicate this to your guests. I recommend letting them know from the beginning and letting them know your reasons to have an unplugged wedding.
How to let guests know you’re having an unplugged wedding
- Start with the invitations. Use a small insert with your invitations kindly letting guests know that you will be having an unplugged wedding. Make sure that it is on your wedding website as well.
- Use a nice sign at the ceremony reminding guests to put away their phones and cameras and inviting them to be fully present.
- Have your officiant kindly remind the guests that the bride and groom have requested that cell phones and cameras be put away.
- Ask a friend or relative who is not in the wedding party to kindly remind guests to put away their phones during family photos. It helps if this person is kind but very firm!
It might seem like overkill, but gentle reminders will help get the point across. Remind friends and family that you will be happy to share the official photos with them later. If you are having an unplugged wedding and a friend or family member complains, remember My wedding. My choices.
Some people just might not understand why you choose to have an unplugged wedding, and that’s okay! It’s your wedding, your choice. If you want all guests to freely use their phones at all times, that is your choice too! As a photographer, I just wanted to share my perspective on reasons to consider an unplugged wedding.
If you’re looking for a Branson wedding photographer, whether you’re having an unplugged wedding or not, I’d love to chat with you!