A wedding ceremony is a joyous occasion that everyone wants to commemorate and look back on for many years. And so, it is common to see digital and phone cameras clicking all the time, trying to capture each moment and store as many visual records of the event as possible.
But while many couples take the traditional approach to their big day, more and more are opting for something a little different: an unplugged wedding. This has become a rising trend for people who are looking to have a more intimate and meaningful wedding experience that is not bogged down by modern technology.
If you’re looking for a way to help your wedding guests be in the moment and truly enjoy themselves, an unplugged wedding is a great way to do that.
What Is an Unplugged Wedding?
Have you ever attended a wedding where everyone seems to have their phones out, snapping pictures or shooting video at all the wrong moments? This is a typical scene at many celebrations, and this is why unplugged weddings are rapidly becoming popular among couples, as they offer a more immersive and intention-filled experience.
In simple terms, it’s a celebration where guests are asked to go offline, and no phones, cameras, or other digital devices are allowed during the celebration. Some couples implement this only during the ceremony, while others continue to do so until the reception. This allows couples to actually enjoy their special day with their loved ones instead of worrying about having to capture every moment.
Guests are asked to put away their phones and cameras so they can focus on the moment and really be present with the bride and groom. It also ensures that there will be no distractions or disruptions during their special day. While it can be a challenge to ask your friends and family to put down their phones, having an unplugged wedding creates a more tangible connection between you, your loved ones, and the world around you.
Unplugged weddings also enable couples to enjoy a special day without competing for attention. Guests will not feel the need to capture every moment through a lens, allowing them to truly connect with each other and create lasting memories of shared laughter and joy.
The Benefits of Unplugging
You have probably experienced getting annoyed by the notification from someone’s phone as you or another guest stands up to give a toast. Or maybe you’ve heard someone yelling that they can’t hear you because everyone around them is too busy filming instead of listening.
An unplugged wedding frees everyone from these distractions, allowing you and your guests to be truly present in the moment. Here are some of the benefits and advantages that you can get out of having a gadget-free ceremony:
1. The Atmosphere Becomes More Intimate
Without the fear of their phones ringing or selfies popping up on social media, your guests can settle into the moment and truly be present to celebrate your special day with you. Your ceremony also won’t get plagued with various alerts or other sounds from mobile phones, keeping your big day stress-free and creating an intimate atmosphere for you and your guests.
2. Guests Remain Engaged
When they are not squinting through the camera lens or a tiny screen, wedding attendees are more likely to remain engaged and actively participate in what’s happening during the ceremony. They also have more opportunities to interact with each other and make new connections with the other guests.
3. Focus is on You
By taking away the gadgets from your guests, you also remove the distraction from social media. With nothing else capturing their attention, they are more likely to focus on you during your special day, which is how it should be. You can also see their smiling faces as you walk down the aisle instead of being welcomed by a sea of mobile phones when you make an entrance.
4. Professional-Quality Photos and Videos
Since guests cannot take photos on their own, you get peace of mind knowing that photos and videos are being taken by trained professionals who know how to capture every moment without intruding on your event. You’ll get more authentic shots with the right framing and lighting instead of dark and grainy shots taken by guests and posted all over social media.
5. Guests Won’t Compete to Take Shots
Photographers and videographers continuously look for the perfect shot or clip during the ceremony because this is part of their job. Unfortunately, wedding guests would often occupy the best spot, leaving the professionals no choice but to look for alternative areas where they may not be able to get the best angles for the shot.
Aside from this, excited guests may constantly hop in and out of the frame, which can sometimes ruin the entire take. But when they don’t have to take photos themselves, they will stay seated and enjoy the celebration with you.
6. You Control What to Release
Because the guests are not taking photos and videos on their own, all the materials could only come from your official photographer and videographer. As such, you have control over what images are shared on social media and when to post them. You won’t have to worry about unflattering shots being posted, and you can even choose not to post anything if you want to keep your wedding private.
Crafting a Meaningful Unplugged Wedding Ceremony
You’re likely wondering what a meaningful unplugged wedding ceremony looks like. Well, it’s usually a blend of traditional and modern elements without technology getting in the way. If you are worried that this will make your special day feel boring, rest assured that there are many ways to keep your guests engaged, involved, and entertained without the use of screens or electronics.
Courageous couples can choose to write and read their own wedding vows. You can make it as long or as short as you’d like and remember to add a little humor. There is no format or structure that you need to follow, and you just need to write from the heart because it’s a personal touch that your
guests will remember long after the day is done.
Others like to honor their heritage by weaving old customs and rituals into their wedding ceremony. Whether it’s blending two cultures together or connecting with family from abroad, these personal touches can make an unplugged ceremony special.
Exchanging tokens or gifts during the ceremony helps foster an atmosphere of love and appreciation among your guests. It’s an act of kindness that will always be remembered many years later. Sometimes, it’s something small, like bookmarks with a message of love, but they have a strong sentiment behind them.
Aside from the ceremony, you must also plan for your reception. This means finding ways to keep your guests entertained. Here are some ways to do just that:
- · Music – Hire a live band or create a playlist that your guests can listen to and dance to instead of playing on their phones.
- · Games – Have some fun and bring out the competitive side of your guests by arranging some friendly games like a scavenger hunt or charades.
- · Photo booths – Bring a vintage-style photo booth and encourage your guests to take fun pictures with friends or family.
- · Conversation starters & talking points – Prepare some interesting topics and conversation starters so everyone can get involved in meaningful conversations.
- · Decorations – Decorate the venue with lights, garlands, and anything else that fits with the theme of your unplugged wedding reception, so it looks remarkable.
Helpful Tips for the Big Day
Once you have decided to have an unplugged wedding, the next step is to set boundaries for your guests and other attendees. After all, no matter how much you want your wedding to be unplugged, it will not happen without their cooperation.
Start by informing your guests of your request through the wedding invitation. Before sending them out, make sure that you include a message informing your guests that you would like them to refrain from using electronic devices during the ceremony and reception. If you have put up a wedding website, this is a good place to announce your plans as well. Doing this will make it clear that you want an unplugged wedding right off the bat.
During the ceremony, you can also put up signs at the ceremony and reception venues reminding guests of the unplugged nature of your event and politely asking them not to take photos or use their phones. You can also enlist one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen to remind guests throughout the event that it’s an unplugged wedding. If someone takes out their phone, they can kindly ask them to put it away without offending anyone or causing bad feelings among the guests.
Before starting the ceremony, the priest or officiant can remind the guests to put away their phones and gadgets in order to have a more solemn service. As for the reception, you can choose to lift the gadget restriction or ask the host to gently mention your request to have an unplugged celebration
and ask the guests to keep the gadgets away for the remainder of the event.
Guests should also be respectful of their fellow attendees by asking permission before posting photos of anyone else on their social feeds. Lastly, remember to ask vendors not to post any pictures online unless they coordinate with you first, so you have time to enjoy being newlyweds without worrying about how things look online.
10 Ways to Announce Your Unplugged Wedding
Finding the right words to announce your unplugged wedding to your guests is important if you want to convey the message effectively and yet politely. Here are some ways you can inform your guests that you’re going technology-free, be it on the invitations, via your officiant, or on your program.
- “There’s a pro here taking pictures – we asked them to come. Please rest your cameras as our ceremony only needs one!”
- “Please turn off your mobile phones and put your cameras away. The photographer will capture how this moment looks — I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology.”
- “We kindly ask you to turn off your phones during the wedding and refrain from taking photos. We have professional photographers who will capture all the special moments and are excited to share their photos with you.”
- “As we tie the knot, please be our guest. Our photographer will take care of the rest!”
- “We are having an unplugged ceremony. Please kindly switch your phones and cameras off, let the photographers do their job, and enjoy the moment with us.”
- “Welcome to our unplugged ceremony. We invite you to be fully present with us during our ceremony, so please turn off all phones and cameras. Thank you!”
- “We would like to ask our guests to leave cameras at home and refrain from using cell phones to take photos or to post on social media. The wedding photographer will capture the special moments and we will gladly share those images with you.”
- “Thank you for coming to share our day, but for the ceremony, please keep your cameras and phones away.”
- “We’d love to see your faces, not our devices, so please put your phones and cameras away and share in the moment with us. Our photographers are amazing and we will share the images with you.”
- “Please honor our wishes with no photos until we’re announced as Mr and Mrs!”
Making the step to have an unplugged wedding can involve having conversations with friends and family ahead of time, as well as having the plan to enforce your wishes and keep the day sacred. Ultimately, it’s all about finding the balance and creating an unforgettable experience for yourself and your guests.
Your wedding should be all about you, so use technology in whatever way suits you best. Whether you opt for an unplugged wedding or a hybrid of plugged-in moments and unplugged moments, what’s important is that you enjoy your day and make memories you won’t forget.