Let me start by saying that I feel this is EXTREMELY important to read for all brides to be. I attach a document that’s titled “The benefits of an Unplugged Wedding” to every single one of my wedding packets and sit down with my brides to stress the importance of an unplugged wedding. I had never felt the need to write an entire blog post about “unplugged weddings”, but I feel like it’s necessary more than ever with each and every wedding I go to. I am going to be as real with you all as I can be. No sugar coating it because it is such an important topic. You don’t want any moment of your wedding day ruined and in order to show you all how serious this is when it comes to your wedding planning, I have to share some tough love with you all. This is going to be looooooooong and blunt so bear with me. It’s worth the read. *HUGS*
And a HUGE thank you to the awesome photographers that shared their images to showcase the importance of Unplugged Weddings!!
First things first…
What is an “Unplugged Wedding”?
The best way I can describe an unplugged wedding is simply by turning off your electronic devices (smart phones, iPads, cameras, portable gaming devices [some people are cray cray], camcorders, laptops, tv’s, etc.) and being 110% present during a wedding ceremony or special event. I truly believe that it is extremely crucial to unplug your electronic device of choice and CHOOSE to be present in the moments that matter most. We spend so much time in our lives plugged into some sort of electronic device (I know I sure as heck do!) so we should take the time to turn them off and ENJOY THE MOMENTS THAT SURROUND US.
Some people may ask what the big deal is about guests Instagram-ing or SnapChatting the photos, but I can list a number of reasons why this SHOULD be a crucial no-no (at least during the ceremony).
Brides + Grooms: By asking your guests, family members, and friends to turn off their electronics, you are asking them to experience this day with you and be part of the most important day of your life. You are asking them to be there with you every step of the way throughout your first day of marriage bliss, rather than having them relate through their LCD screens. I encourage you to ask your guests to not only be there with you to enjoy the happiness and fun, but to be more than just observers of your wedding day.
You have put a lot of work for a long amount of time (days, weeks, months, maybe even years!) into choosing every detail of your wedding day. You have chosen your perfect photographer(s) to match your style and to capture the day you marry the love of your life just as you envision it to be. Your photographer will document your love story much better than any camera phone can, I promise you. Think to yourself, when you get your images back do you want the photos to be of your guests enjoying the day or of your guests experiencing the day with their faces glued to their phones? For me, I would much rather photograph guests with smiling faces joyously watching the bride and groom walk down the aisle than big ol’ embarrassing tablets and smartphones covering their faces. It makes for much better photos. Just saying… as nicely as possible. ;)
Guests: The bride and groom have invited you to enjoy this moment with them and take part in one of the best days of their lives. By covering or burying your face into your phones, you're taking away from their special moment(s) and distracting others from what is happening. Take the time to experience those little moments such as when the bride is walking down the aisle to her future husband. Yes, it may be the COOLEST Instagram post ever that can get more than fifty likes on (I get excited for more than 30 likes per Instagram post so that’s the number I thought would be cool. Sorry, back to the point of this.), but if you use your selfie stick in the middle of the aisle to snap a pic of her and her father, she’s going to miss moments of seeing her handsome groom crying tears of joy at seeing the most beautiful thing he’s ever laid eyes on because she has to avoid the selfie stick in her way OR the groom is going to be distracted with that huge iPad sticking out of the aisle that he might not even tear up. He might just be like, “whoa! When did cousin Ted get that fancy thing!”. Seriously, don’t be “that guest”. Your post or snapchat can wait.
Let me also clarify that I don’t have a problem whatsoever with guests capturing photos and sharing them later on with the couple. It makes me happy to know there will be other pictures and photos of moments my second shooter or I may have missed or seeing things from a different person’s perspective. And I strongly encourage anyone who has an interest in photography to follow their dreams and take photos because photos are fun and memories last forever! Buuuuut, I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to when you are about to capture the most perfect candid moment and then BOOM, a guest steps in your way with their camera phone and ruins it (UGH!). Moment ruiner.
Ohhhh, and let me tell you about the dreaded “Uncle Bobs”. Uncle Bobs are guests, family members, or friends that have nice camera equipment and volunteer to take photos throughout the day. Uncle Bobs truly and lovingly mean well… a majority of the time. I truly feel for Uncle Bobs everywhere. Your kind gesture will not go unnoticed. Although, I totally welcome and try to work with anyone who wants to take photos, but there is a time and place for everything. During the ceremony is NOT that time. Uncle Bobs can become pushy, rude, or just annoying (sorry about it). If this happens, Uncle Bob will be asked to stop pretty quickly. Uncle Bobs are the worst photo bombers. Period.
And if you are in the wedding party using your electronic devices, it makes a photographer's job that much harder.
Now let me get to the last point of my long list of why “Unplugged Weddings” are the bees knees. I strongly advice to guests or bridal party members to NOT post getting ready photos or just any posts until the reception OR after the wedding. Imagine the groom opening his Facebook app to see a photo of his bride already ready to walk down the aisle. First look RUINED. Or what if the bride’s most favorite cousin in the whole wide world is on deployment and he decides to surprise her on her wedding day, but someone posts a photo totally spilling the beans. Guess what? Surprise RUINED. I could go on and on with examples, but I won’t. I think you guys get the idea.
Now let me take off my attempted tough love face to put on my understanding and loving face on to tell you the rest of my spiel (stay with me, guys).
I don’t advise the whole wedding to be totally unplugged. I think that having electronics out during the reception is more than acceptable. Especially if you want your guests to use the cute wedding hashtag that is just uniquely brilliant and amazeballs (WeddingWire has the BEST wedding hashtag generator if you get in a creative funk!). I also think it’s awesome for the bride and groom to have photos to look at from the day while they patiently wait for their photographs from their photographers. And as an avid social media junkie, I know how much fun I have posting things (especially my food, but we are talking about weddings here. Whoops).
While we photographers can be the first to admit this, we also realize that our love for our electronic devices can be pretty obsessive. We just strongly believe in the power of turning them off and being present in the moment.
So again, I strongly advise all of my wedding clients, brides to be, friends, and family that when planning your wedding, PLEASE seriously consider having an “Unplugged Wedding”. Your wedding day will go by in the blink of an eye, take the time to enjoy the company of those that surround you and experience your first day as husband and wife. Guests, please respect the bride and groom as well as the hired photographers. Spend the day cherishing the moments that is their wedding day with them. I promise you all that the hired photographers will do their job in capturing the day elegantly so that you can fully be present and enjoy these moments.