Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Monday, January 13, 2014

Considering an Unplugged Wedding?

Welcome to the era of the over-documented wedding, where, even if you’ve hired someone to take photos, every guest has a camera and an iPhone and is tweeting the whole event. Not cool. Especially when you’ve paid big bucks to hire a professional photographer and the photos they deliver to you after the wedding had numerous guest with their iPads and smart phones held in the air and they are staring at the tiny screens. Photography fail. “Be nice, turn off your device!”

If you want your wedding guests to be fully present at your wedding consider an unplugged wedding!


Click to Download a full color, printable PDF (without the URL)
Compliments of the Offbeat Bride!

“Don’t like the idea of guests attached to their phones throughout the ceremony and reception? Opt for an unplugged wedding. Provide a phone check at the door (similar to a coat check), or add a note to your wedding website or ceremony program asking guests to refrain from taking photos or video. You can word it nicely – something like: ‘We want you to truly enjoy the ceremony and reception, so we ask that you please refrain from taking photos or video today and just have fun. You are welcome to take as many photos as you want at the reception.'” ~ The Knot

Many couples have been heard to say, “I’d rather guests simply watch and clap and smile and cry — and really listen and remember, not from the photos they downloaded onto their computers or Instagram, but from their own individual memories.”

I’ve had numerous weddings where some of the guests were downright rude. They lean out into the aisle when the bride walks down the aisle with her father and the photographer is seen trying to shoot their photos around the madding crowd. If it doesn’t bother the couple, then it’s not a problem. However, to most, it does.

Most photographers will provide a link to where guests can view their photos and choose to purchase their favorites. Speak with your wedding photographer to ensure you can make a small set of photos (perhaps just five photos) available digitally to guests within a couple days of the wedding. The link can be posted on your Facebook page.

When I interview a couple, I bring up this issue and ask if they would like for me to make a brief – slightly humorous – announcement at the beginning the the ceremony. Most say, “Yes.” Often when the request comes from the Wedding Officiant, guests will take note and respect the couple’s wishes. My experience is that an announcement from the Wedding Officiant along with a brief note on the program and a sign on a chalk board as guests enter the ceremony area works best.


Have a couple of girls carry signs as they walk in!

Minister: “Ladies and Gentlemen, the bride and groom request that you turn your cell phones, iPads, cameras and other digital distractions (pause) back on after the wedding. The professional photographer will capture how this moment ‘looks.’ They encourage you all to capture how it ‘feels’ with your hearts and without the distraction of technology during the ceremony. Thank you.”

Sometimes not everyone listens. I recently had a guest walk behind me and begin taking photos of the Sand Ceremony during the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom had me make the above announcement at the beginning of the ceremony, so I turned and politely asked the guest to please be seated, which he did. I’m sure it was an embarrassing moment for him, however, I don’t work for him. I work for the bride and groom.

Another humorous version: “Ladies and gentlemen, prior to Sally and Pete’s wedding take-off, all seat backs and tray tables must be in their upright and locked positions, all bags properly stowed, and they request that all portable electronic devices turned off and stowed. This includes cell phones, iPads and cameras. Thank you on behalf of the bride and groom.”

The Offbeat Bride Website suggests that you could include a short note in your programs:

“We want you to be able to relax and have fun with us today! This in mind, we invite you to put down all your favorite devices and just be present in the moment with us. Please leave your camera in your bag (we’ve got photography covered!), and put your cell phone on mute (we promise they’ll call back!). We’re happy to share our professional wedding photos later (on Facebook, etc), but the greatest gift you can give us today is just being fully here with us in this sacred and special moment.”

Note for Guests: A wedding ceremony is a brief and intimate moment shared between people who have been brought together as witnesses to the beginning of the couple’s marriage… please don’t mess it up for the bride and groom!

Just a thought: It is no more rude or tacky to ask your guests to turn off all electronic devices than to have “guest photographers” compromise your professional photos from your photographer!

So… what’s your take on this issue? Please comment below.

BONUS Article: I’ve Had Enough with Wedding Guests Taking Pictures with Phones
Photographer Posts Epic Rant
10 Hot Wedding Trends for 2014!
Unplugged Wedding (Pinterest)
Smartphones at Weddings: Potential Distraction!


Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Check Larry’s availability.

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