Imagine! You’ve finally arrived on your wedding day. You and your partner made it through the ceremony and the wedding portraits. Now you are finally ready to enjoy the rest of the night celebrating and dancing with your guests.
You are sitting at your reception dinner and your mom has just stood up to give a toast. You’re excited and a little nervous, hoping she doesn’t say anything too embarrassing! :)
She starts off talking about how you used to play dress-up as a little girl and would plan your own pretend wedding. She then says how proud she is of you and happy for you and you start to tear up.
But then you look around and you see that your guests are distracted on their phones. They’re taking photos and videos and posting to social media instead of listening to your mom’s heartfelt speech. No one is soaking in this moment with you. Instead of seeing their faces and their emotional expressions, all you can see are the backs of their phones!
This is when you start wishing maybe you had listened more when your friend was talking about that unplugged wedding they attended last year…
Writing this post as a professional wedding photographer is hard. Mainly because it’s hard to stay unbiased. I took to the internet trying to find some material on the matter and it sways both ways. I’m going to try to bridge the gap here with a list of my top 3 reasons you need an unplugged wedding!
If you’ve gotten this far and are scratching your head questioning “what exactly is an unplugged wedding?” then don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. There are a few different levels of unplugged so let’s start with the basics.
An unplugged wedding is literally a wedding where there are no devices allowed; no phones, no cameras. This also means no extra “photographers”. Not from the bridal party, not from your uncle who has a nice camera, and not from the second cousin three times removed that your mother insisted be invited.
Now, you may be thinking, “Sasha, that is a lot to ask people to not have their phones for an entire day!” And for some people, that is true. There are different levels of an unplugged wedding. Your wedding can be completely unplugged for the entire day or just for the ceremony. Or maybe you request a photo restriction only or a social media blackout only. No matter which route you go there are some great benefits to choosing to go unplugged at your wedding.
I am a big proponent of staying present in the moment no matter where you are, but especially at big events like a wedding. This can easily be done by simply turning off your device. It’s so easy to get distracted by one little vibration indicating you have a new text. Then, before you know it, you’ve been sucked into a wormhole because it’s never just one click.
Your guests are at your wedding day because they love you. And you want to be able to spend the time with them celebrating and enjoying the moment. You want to be able to see the love and joy on their faces. Not looking at the back of their phones while they capture the moments for themselves.
As a professional photographer, I have invested in my career and have spent years learning how to take great photos. I want to be able to fully invest that knowledge back into your wedding day. Although technology and access to cameras have advanced, the truth is, most people’s photography-taking skills have not. Not having guests to compete with over a prime photo not only allows me to do my job but also allows me to get great shots! Really, what bride wants hands holding cell phones jutting out into the photo as she’s walking down the aisle? Or worse, your first kiss photo is ruined by “Uncle Bob” running in front of me to get that once-in-a-lifetime shot himself.
Even with most of the world on social media, there are some couples that still have no desire to put their life out there on the internet. If you are one of those couples, that is perfectly ok! You get to choose which moments you want to be publicized at your wedding and it’s important that you convey your wishes to your guests.
Another privacy concern that couples sometimes face is around the tough decisions on who to invite or not invite to their wedding. Sharing photos and videos can inadvertently lead to uncomfortable or awkward situations but this can help be avoided by planning an unplugged wedding.
Ultimately, you make the decision on whether to go unplugged or not, but if you are even considering going this route it’s a great idea to talk with both your wedding photographer and wedding planner ahead of time about the best way to go about it.
A planner will help with details on how to make the announcement to guests prior to your wedding day and again on the day softening the sometimes hard-to-take news (especially for the social media “over-sharers”.)
As your photographer, I will work to get you some great sneak peeks more quickly. This can help ease the “on the edge of your seat” feeling that comes with an unplugged wedding. We can also discuss ways for your guests to access and view photos of your wedding once they have been edited and delivered.
I hope this article was informative about the benefits of an unplugged wedding. I’m not here to say that all phones should be banned at a wedding. Rather if you do choose to have an unplugged wedding, simply ask your guests to be aware of how and when they use them. We want your guest to enjoy the day and be present with you because celebrating your love is what the day is all about!