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Unplugged Weddings: Why Having No Cell Phones During Your Wedding Ceremony Is A Good Idea

Hey hey you guys! We are so excited for this topic because it is something we are very passionate about.
Some of you may have seen the title for this blog post and thought, “Unplugged wedding? What does that mean?” Well, you gon’ learn today!

An unplugged wedding means that your guests don’t use their cell phones [or cameras]. In essence, they will technologically “unplug” during your wedding. Now this isn’t like a house party where as people walk in the door, they have to drop off their keys, or in this case, their phones. It’s more like an honor code where the bride and groom make this request, and guests typically will respect it.

This is something we ALWAYS recommend to our couples who are in the planning process of their wedding.

Now you may be wondering: Why the heck would we do that? We want people to have fun and take pictures and video and remember how fun the reception was or how beautiful the venue looked. And you’re totally right.

But the awesome part about hiring us as your photographers is that when we deliver your gallery, you’ll be able to share ALL of those things with your family and friends. You’ll have professional images that have been meticulously edited and curated just for you, based on discussions we had leading up to the wedding of what moments are MOST important to you.

So here are 3 reasons why we think you should have no cell phones during your wedding ceremony:

It allows us to do our job

We’re going to be blunt here. You are spending A LOT of money on hiring us as your photographers. It is an investment in yourselves and your wedding and you should be able to look back on these images with only fond memories in a way that resonates with exactly how you want to remember it.

Want to know the fastest way to ruin your ceremony photos? By letting people other than your hired photographers have their phones out, standing in the aisles and blocking us from getting that perfect shot of you coming down the aisle with your dad – or even worse – we get the shot of you walking hand-in-hand with your brand new spouse after you’ve said, “I do,” but Aunt Susan is leaning in the middle of the aisle with her iPhone 7 blocking your face in our photo.

Which photo would you like to have? The iPhone photo that is semi-grainy, possibly out of focus and you’re blinking – or the photo we will deliver to you with our camera gear that is equal to the cost of a semester of college that, again, has been edited and curated just for you.

That moment lasts for only a few seconds and once it’s over, it’s over, and it can’t be recreated authentically. We can respectfully ask people to move or to put their phone away, but it is super awkward, and it takes away time that we should be focused on YOU.

what does an unplugged wedding mean
what does an unplugged wedding mean
what does an unplugged wedding mean
It encourages being in the moment

We talked to friends and clients who chose to do unplugged wedding ceremonies and the general consensus was, other than they didn’t want people to ruin their photos with cell phones, that they wanted people to be in the moment. And that taking cell phones out of the picture made their day feel “intimate and intentional.”

When people see life as it is instead of through a phone screen, they can actually form real, lasting memories. When people lean on documenting a moment more than the moment itself, it can cause them to not even develop the events into their short-term memory. We’re totally not joking, studies have been done. Google it!

We want your guests to enjoy themselves and all the hard work you’ve put into planning your wedding day – and we want them to remember because they had no distractions and because they were fully immersed in the experience.

what does an unplugged wedding mean
what does an unplugged wedding mean
what does an unplugged wedding mean
It doesn’t have to be for the whole day

We 150% encourage you to do an unplugged wedding ceremony, but it doesn’t have to be for the whole day. Maybe you have a hashtag you want people to use, or your friend gifted you an Instagram and Snapchat filter. The reception or cocktail hour is for sure a more suitable time for people to be self-documenting and share those moments on social media.

Maybe you still want people to feel more apart of the day but you don’t want them to be on their phones at all. One alternative we love is having disposable cameras or Polaroids during the reception. They have a vintage feel and can be a really great way to get some inexpensive, funny pictures to send out in thank you notes.

Okay, so we’ve totally convinced you, right?! Now the question is, when should you make this announcement to your guests?

Our recommendation is to tell them multiple times in multiple ways and make it hard to ignore.

The first time you can let you guests know about your decision is in your invitations. Some other ways you can announce it is by posting a sign on your wedding day as people take their seat before the ceremony, and also have the officiant make an announcement before the ceremony begins. Pinterest and Etsy are your best friends if you need some creative ideas for signs or invitations!

You can also use our discount code with Basic Invite to save 20% and include an Unplugged Wedding announcement with your invitations. Hop on over to the Our Favorites page and grab the promo code.

The bottom line here isn’t for us to tell you how to have your wedding day go, but for you to know how much we truly care about serving you in the best way we know how. The last thing we would ever want is to deliver a gallery with ruined moments scattered throughout because of a small thing like a cell phone or Cousin Bob’s point and shoot camera.

Let us know what you think! Are you planning to have an unplugged wedding ceremony or did you already have one? Why did you decide to do it, and how did it work out for you?

We’d love to hear from you!

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