The Unplugged Wedding

Usually when you hear the word "unplugged" it refers to a musician playing an acoustic instrument, often a guitar, rather than an electric version. In the wedding world, this term has taken on a whole new meaning. 

In the age where everyone is glued to his or her cell phone and camera, getting someone's full attention is often difficult, which is why many new brides are asking their guests to "unplug" and be fully present at their wedding. Unplugged wedding guests can focus more on the actual moment rather than viewing it through a lens or posting about it on Facebook while it's happening. Guests can then put their full attention towards the bride and groom and enjoy moments with them, exactly as it should be. 
That's what photographers are for...
Most of the time at weddings you see a sea of phones or cameras up in the air or flashes flying around the room trying to capture every last moment of the day. Out of the thousands of photos taken by your friends and family, how many do you actually see and how many are actually even remotely good? Right, that's what I thought. After all, that's why you paid those two people with the super expensive cameras, so much money to be your paparazzi throughout the day- to get every piece of the day and night on camera and to give you pictures that are not only clear, but artistically much better than any of your fellow guests could take (and without all those people holding up phones and cameras in the background). So if you're afraid to go unplugged because you might "miss out" on those other photos taken by guests, I assure you, you will not be missing anything when your photographer shows you the shots they captured. 
Privacy and social media...
The choice to go unplugged could also stem from a privacy factor. For one of our brides this past summer, the choice centered around her desire for photos of her wedding not to "leak" to the press and to be posted on social media sites and the internet, so we even went as far as collecting all of the phones in the beginning of the day so that no photos could be posted on Facebook or blasted out on Twitter. If privacy isn't your worry, you might also want to consider the fact that all those friends and family taking photos at your wedding will probably post them on Facebook, and the odds of you finding all of those photos flattering are probably small. 
No phone calls or texting...
If guests sneaking photos isn't what you're worried about, it might be more about guests not being tuned into their phones all night. Answering phone calls and then walking out of the room, texting friends back and forth, checking Facebook or updating their status are all things wedding guests are guilty of doing. Every time they answer that text or post that status, they might be missing out on a great moment and you'll be looking at a bunch of heads, faced down throughout the night. If someone has an emergency or personal matter, you would hope they would at least step outside and take care of it, but we could all use a little time away from our phones and your wedding is a great excuse.
Ring, ring, buzzzz, buzzzzzz...
Not that I have to state the obvious here, but I will anyway. Unplugging your wedding also makes sure that you won't have the accidental ring go off during your ceremony or you won't by hearing vibrations coming from tables around you during the reception. We all know that no matter how many times we show them, many older guests might still not understand what "silencing" your phone really is and how you do it. So turning them all the way off is a safer bet. 
How to tell your guests...
Not sure how to tell your guests you want them to unplug without seeming like the high school teacher taking the phone away from a kid caught texting? It can easily be done with phrases in your invitation or program or a great sign as guests enter the wedding. You may also have your officiant and/or DJ announce it to your guests during the ceremony and reception so all guests are in the loop. Everyone at your wedding is hopefully those people in your life that are most important to you and if you make it clear that this is something that is important to you on your wedding day, there should be no objections. 
Fear of missing out on photos...
One thing that is true is that most photographers take several weeks to get photos back to you, they have a pretty full schedule so we will give them some slack. But, if you're worried that after your wedding day passes you won't be seeing any photos for a few weeks, you could alter this unplugged idea to fit your needs:

-You can either choose select guests (maybe a family member, who like photography and has a decent camera) to be the only guests "allowed" or "selected" to take photos. 

-You could have your wedding party be the camera men/women for the night and have part of their role be to get a few select shots throughout the day since they will be with you from start to finish. 

-Provide an area at the entrance of the reception area where a second shooter could take photos of each of the couples or families at the wedding and provide it to them as their favor, then they will be sure to have a great photo of themselves from the night that they might be afraid of missing without their camera and you will have a yearbook of your wedding guests. 

-Or you can see if your photographer is so awesome that they could provide you a sneak peek of some photos the week after your wedding before you see the full batch. 

So, whether you fully or partially unplug your wedding, you can be sure that your guests will be present and enjoy every element that you worked so hard to create. 


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