I have talked about why some couples are planning unplugged weddings and with society’s social media obsession is at an all-time high, felt it bears further info. Cell phones, Facebook, YouTube – they are all part of our lives. But should they be front and center at your wedding?
It is becoming a bigger problem than most people consider. Many times guests with iPads, cameras, iPhones, etc., – especially guests sitting on the aisle – lean into the aisle (and sometimes stand in the aisle) and block the line of sight of the professional photographer.
Guests take photos at weddings because they want to remember the special day, not because they’re trying to be rude, however, photographers will often turn to get emotional shots of the bride and groom or family, only to find that they are hidden behind a camera and their perfect shot is blocked. Most couples have spent a large part of their wedding budge on their professional photographer, who will be getting amazing shots throughout the ceremony.
What is an unplugged wedding? ~ An unplugged wedding means that no electronic devices are to be used during the ceremony. This means no cameras, smart phones, no photo uploads to social media or tweeting, texting and Instagramming “during” the ceremony.
The unplugged trend rebukes the advances of Facebook (only for one day), with many brides and grooms encouraging guests to ditch their camera phones and enjoy their nuptials, distraction free. A ration may be in place, where a listed time for taking photos is planned as part of your schedule. If you’re allowing guests to snap away during a certain section of the day, a share tool is great for collating all the memories of your wedding.
Apps such as Wedpics host a real-time photo feed on your wedding day, and provide the ultimate photo and video sharing opportunity for you and your guests. Read: “Easy-to-Use Wedding Photo-Sharing Apps.” Be sure with the couple that it is okay to share any images you take after the ceremony on social media; sometimes couples prefer to keep things quiet due to varying factors, and you don’t want to cause undue stress.
A wedding ceremony is a brief and intimate moment shared between people who have been brought together as witnesses to the beginning of a marriage. What a novel idea! I truly believe that a carefully worded and meaningful ceremony can change lives and be a great influence upon the guests – but never if guests are too busy clicking away to hear or see what is happening.
A 30 minute respite from your electronic gear during a wedding ceremony is called: “being respectful of the bride and groom’s wishes!”
With the permission of the bride and groom, as soon as I get to the alter, I will often make the following announcement:
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a special announcement from the bride and groom: “We want you to be able to really enjoy our wedding ceremony today, feeling truly present and in the moment with us. We’ve hired an amazing wedding photographer who will be capturing the way the wedding looks – and we’re inviting each of you to sit back, relax, and just enjoy how the wedding feels. We’re respectfully asking that everyone consider turning all cameras and cell phones (pause) back on after the wedding. We look forward to sharing our professional photos after the big day! Thank you!”
Larry’s NOTE: I pause before saying “back on after the wedding” which usually gets a smile from the guests because they were all thinking I was going to say, “turn them OFF.”
Another strategy is as guests arrive, have a super cute sign made to post outside of the church or at the beginning of the aisle. Make sure your ushers point it out to guests as well. Some brides are including a brief note in the program. Be sure to let guests know that you’ll share your professional photos with them later, which is easy to do with Dropbox or other photo sharing services.
I recently had a bride and groom who wrote their own vows (I call them “Personal Promises“) and used their phones as the modern-day alternative to the piece of paper. My encouragement is that it is better all around to leave their phones at home. It just does not look good. I usually have the bride and groom send me their vows which I print on card stock and hand them to each when it’s time to read them.
Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute and co-author of the book Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, shared six tips for successfully requesting guests power down as you gear up for your wedding day.
It’s a fine request for the ceremony, but not the reception ~ A wedding ceremony, Post said, is “solemn, even if it’s not religious,” she said. For that reason, it’s fine to ask guests to put away the phones for this portion of the evening. The reception, typically more of a party atmosphere, is another story.
Make the announcement well in advance ~ The wedding web site is a perfectly reasonable to place to ask guests to power down during the nuptials, Post said.
And then follow up at the ceremony ~ “It’s not a bad idea to put it [the request] in the [wedding] program as well,” Post said. She said it is also fine to have someone in an official position – either an officiate of member of the wedding part – make an announcement before the wedding begins. “It’s a very fair reminder not to distract from the ceremony.”
Unless you’re a celebrity, don’t confiscate the phones ~ Unless you-re an “A-list” celeb, asking guests to turn over their phones is “taking it too far,” said Post. “Trust your friends will respect your wishes and do what you ask,” she said. And if they don’t? Never interrupt the ceremony to confront the offender.
Ask for what you want ~ Is it no cell phone calls? No texting? Or no photos, plus no Facebooking or Instagraming? Post said couples should be very clear with their guests on their wishes. What may seem innocuous to a guest – like taking a photo and posting it to Facebook – may be the exact scenario a bride who wasn’t able to invite every friend she wanted to the wedding – is hoping to avoid.
Beside having the aisles free of people using and obtrusively holding iPhones, tablets and cameras blocking the view of guests and the professional photographers, your guests will now be a real and connected part of the ceremony that they were asked to witness and participate in.
BONUS Articles: How to Have an Unplugged Wedding
Welcome to Our Unplugged Wedding…
Considering an Unplugged Wedding?
Social Media Weddings VS. Unplugged Weddings
Photo Credit: Top left ~ Amber Wilkie Photography
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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: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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