In a world where sharing our experiences through Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat has become the norm, it makes sense that cell phone use at weddings is common. Unfortunately, the use of phones during this big celebration can take away from everyone’s presence and furthermore, it may ruin some otherwise great shots your photographer captured. Today, some couples opt for a cell phone-free celebration. If you don’t want phones getting in the way of your big day, here’s your guide to pulling off an unplugged wedding.
Announcing Your Unplugged Theme
There are various ways to approach the announcement of your unplugged wedding theme. For instance, you may want to mention it from the get-go and get the message out in your wedding invitation. You can mention your no-phone rule in a playful way, with a cartoon sketch or fun font. If you don’t want to include it in the main invitation, you can mention the note in the RSVP instead. If you choose to include your rule in writing, it may be nice to briefly explain why you prefer your wedding to be unplugged, mentioning the benefit of having everyone be completely present. Make it clear that you know your guests want wedding photos and that your wonderful trustee photographer will capture great shots of everyone.
Alternatively, you can speak to your ceremony emcee or officiant about kindly asking guests to keep their phones tucked into their bags and pockets. Some couples choose to place a sign on each table that sends your message in a cute way, such as “Call it a day!” or “Please don’t shoot!”
While some couples ask their guests to leave their phones in a bin, this approach tends to be a bit aggressive and may be less welcoming. You want to encourage your guests to participate, not force them to.
Photo Credit: Thomas Stewart Photography
How to React to People Using Their Phones
Similarly to not confiscating your guests’ phones, you also want to avoid using punishments if some friends or family sneak some photos. After all—everyone is looking their best, and they want to be sure to capture the moment! Rather than responding with anger, you can remind your guests of your request and ask friends and family not to upload to social media before you do. They should understand your wishes, as today, withholding posting pictures of the bride and groom has become basic wedding etiquette.
Have a Sharing Plan
Since asking for an unplugged wedding means you’re taking away people’s ability to capture the celebration, make sure you have a plan for easy sharing of photos with your guests. It may be a good idea to speak with your photographer about sharing a small batch of photos just a few days after the wedding to assure your guests that pictures are on their way.
Photo Credit: Bryan Sargent Photography
Photographs They Can Take Home
Consider making ditching the cell phones an easier choice by providing an alternative: bring in a photobooth for guests to enjoy and have pictures they can bring home. This is not only fun, but also helps make it easier for guests to accept not taking photos and selfies themselves.
Designate Phone-Free Periods
If you’re not fully committed to a phone-free wedding yet you don’t want cell phones ruining your romantic photos, designate specific times that will be unplugged. Your ceremony is the perfect time to ask guests to put their cell phones away and enjoy the moment. It will keep everyone engaged and make it easier for the photographer to capture great shots.
Photo Credit: Amber Wilkie Photography
A wedding is the perfect time to disconnect. Encourage your loved ones to be 100% engaged in your celebration by keeping their phones in their bags. Even though it’s not commonplace, there is no need to by shy about your decision to have an unplugged wedding—embed it as part of your theme. And if you catch your guests sneaking one or two selfies, that’s okay too!
Photography: Paul Underhill Photography