“Unplugged Ceremony” and “Unplugged Wedding” have become common wedding terms, and we love that! Over the past few years, there have been lots of articles pushing wedding guests to lose their phones and iPads during special moments. It’s no question that guests should enjoy the moment instead of trying to be the photographer, especially when there are paid professional photographers. The bride and groom want you present in those moments – turn your phone off and just celebrate with your friends!
Lately, though, some articles are taking it too far. We want to teach you how to do an unplugged wedding the right way. See, we’re big fans of following etiquette, but there doesn’t yet seem to be a list of do’s and don’ts for Unplugged Weddings. So, we decided to write it for you!
DO: Hire a great photographer and planner. The best photographers I know push their way in, are on top of it and ahead of schedule, and do their best alongside the wedding planner to ensure guests don’t ruin precious moments being caught on camera. And if they do? They ask for those moments to be re-done if they are important. Missed the kiss at the cake cutting because of a guest? Take another.
DON’T: Put any mention of an Unplugged Ceremony in your invitation. That is not appropriate, just like you shouldn’t include your registries, “no jeans,” and “no children.” If you absolutely must, have your stationer create a completely separate enclosure for your request. Carefully curate your words alongside your stationer and wedding planner – you should always be a polite host.
DO: Make a note on your wedding website! It’s a great, non-obtrusive way to let guests know your wishes.
DON’T: Assume that your guests will put their phones away the entire night. That is asking a lot. Placing signs on your guest tables just furthers the distraction. Instead, don’t give them the chance to be on their phones – throw a great party! Make your guests put their phones down because the band is too good! Engage them!
DO: Verbally encourage guests in a polite way to make sure their phones are off/on silent and put away during the ceremony. Your ushers and greeters can handle this for you. Have your wedding planner brief them on the task before they begin. Your officiant can also mention something at the beginning of your ceremony.
DON’T: Turn into Bridezilla and Groomzilla. You can only control things to a certain point. Enjoy your day and realize you’re surrounded by LOVE! (even if there are a few phones still involved after all of your work)
DO: Create a sign near where guests are entering, in a place where they will stop (near where ushers are seating). Some guests won’t get the memo, despite verbal encouragement while they’re being seated. The sign should be easily readable but compliment your wedding style.
DON’T: Assume guests are conditioned to know to turn off their electronics. A gentle reminder is necessary to ensure your guests are informed and on board.
DO: Include an insert in your program.
However: Remember that programs are keepsakes for you and many other guests. Do you want your Unplugged Ceremony verbiage to pop out awkwardly from your beautiful and thoughtful program? Have your stationer print a small insert to remind guests. It gets the point across without tainting your stunning program!
DO: Make sure you are able to share your photos with guests, if you’re asking them not to take their own. Ask your photographer about this, as many do not include rights to the photos to make additional revenue online. That is their prerogative, but you can likely buy the rights to the photos to share them with guests. Keep in mind that the traditional photographer’s timeline is at least 6-8 weeks to turn images around. If you’d like guests to be able to enjoy photos sooner, a photo booth is always a great option!
DON’T: Share your photographer’s photos without permission. This could get you into trouble! Ask, ask, ask.
How will you let your guests know about your Unplugged Wedding?