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Unplugged Wedding - Why you Won't Regret Banning Phones on your Wedding Day...

Unplugged Wedding – Why you Won’t Regret Banning Phones on your Wedding Day…

Considering having an unplugged wedding? You’re not the only one…
Technology and social media have found a place in (if not dominated) almost every facet of our modern lives, but if there’s one time their presence is totally unnecessary, it’s at your nuptials. Here’s why you won’t regret banning phones on your Wedding Day…

#Antisocial – when Social Media is Antisocial

Social Media can be such an oxymoron – is there actually anything less ‘social’ than having the people around you staring into their phones?
While I share most of my life on social media, I strive to do so with the least disruption to my day-to-day life, and minimal interference with my relationships IRL. Also, I have to post – it’s my business, and lots of little white book sales come directly through instagram. However, despite posting most details about my wedding and the lead up on my blog, when we got married, we had a photography and social media ban. Why? Not only did we want to be the first to share our day, but we actually didn’t want our guests to be using their phones throughout the day. We didn’t want phones or social media to be any barrier to everyone actually being social, connecting our two families and groups of friends.
All my close family and friends were at the wedding, and I wanted the moment to be about us as a group, rather than posting updates to everyone else who wasn’t there. That was two years ago, even before instagram stories and snap-chat were as prevalent as they are today, and I’m noticing social-media bans are on the rise.

#Privacy – Respecting your Privacy and that of your Guests

In the last few weeks, I have also learned an important lesson relating to social media and sharing. If I ever share instagram stories or photos from weddings (where a phone/social-media ban is not in place) I am very careful not to identify the bride, groom, the bridal party or their families and friends (other than my immediate friends who consent to the use of their image).
In a world where some of us have literally hundred or thousands (if not tens of thousands) of people viewing our social media updates, it is crucial to consider what others would consent to you capturing and sharing. Always err on the side of caution.

#Photography – Let the Photographers do their best job, unimpaired

You may have already seen some of the terrible photos taken at weddings where the photographers’ shot has been compromised by cameras, cell-phones and even (the horror!) selfie-sticks, but if not, peruse and be warned.
Not only will you enjoy your photos more without your guests’ LCD screens present, but chances are your guests will enjoy the day more too. You want your guests to understand that you want them to be there and enjoy the moment IRL. If you’ve hired a professional photographer for your wedding, those will be the best pictures, you don’t need your guests also chronicling your day.

What are your options for an Unplugged Wedding?

You will have to consider whether you want to ban phones completely, ie. guests not being able to use their phones at all, only ban photos being taken by guests, or merely ask that guests do not upload photographs to social media. These are three very different things. Talk to your partner about their views to see if they share yours. Keep in mind that banning phones in general may make things difficult for guests that may need to check in with family members, children, etc.
On our wedding day, we chose to ban all photography, though despite prior warning and both our celebrant and MC reminding guests of our request, one friend still [waited until left for our own photos and] chose to take photos…

Make up your mind and do not feel bad about your decision

It’s your wedding, you are the hosts, and it is not unreasonable to make these rules. Our ability to take photos is restricted in many different places (at the movies and the airport, to name a couple) and your guests will cope. Explain clearly what you do and do not want. A small message on your invitation or itinerary will suffice. You do not need to explain yourself.

A simple reminder close to the event is a good idea – either enlist the support of one of the members of the bridal party to spread the word, or have the celebrant remind guests pre-ceremony.

Consider an “Unplugged Wedding” Sign

It’s also a good idea to have an Unplugged Wedding Sign – wording examples as follows:

  • “There’s a girl here taking pictures. We asked her to come. So please rest your cameras. Our ceremony needs only one.”
  • “Please let our professional photographers be the only paparazzi during our ceremony.”
  • “Oh snap! Thank you for coming. We have but one plea. Please keep our ceremony camera-free. Though our ‘I dos’ are unplugged, our reception is not. Once we finish our first dance, you’re free to take a shot.”
  • “We really want to see your faces. Not your devices. Please put away phones and cameras until after the first dance.”
  • “Welcome to our unplugged ceremony. Please turn off all cell phones, cameras and any other device and enjoy this special moment with us. Thank you!”
  • “Welcome to our unplugged wedding. We invite you to be fully present with us during this special moment. Please, no cameras, cell phones or other electronics until after the ceremony. Thank you!”

Consider Providing Alternatives for Your Guests

If you know your friends would love to have something to share immediately from the wedding, consider having a Photo Booth or Selfie Station for guests to use.

It’s also a great way to capture the last part of the evening once the photographer has left and guests are a little, ahem.. relaxed.

Scared of Your Guests’ Reaction..?

While guests may at first be a little surprised that they can’t use their cameras during your wedding ceremony—or maybe even that you’ve banned phones for the whole wedding day — they are going to appreciate it in the end. With so many of us caught up with technology, an unplugged wedding may just the break we all need.

What are your thoughts about unplugged weddings? A good idea or too controlling? Let me know (oh, and make sure you’re following me on Instagram and Facebook!)


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