9 Tips For Having An Unplugged Wedding

9 Tips For Having An Unplugged Wedding

You wouldn’t believe how many gorgeous wedding photos we see which are ruined by an aunt with an phone in shot, or an aisle lined with guests with phones for faces. Which is why we’re pretty chuffed that more and more couples are asking us about how to have an unplugged wedding. For some couples this means having a photo-free ceremony, and for others it’s more about limiting the use of social media throughout the day, but either way, the ethos is to encourage your guests to put down their devices, and be in the moment.

Of course, anyone who is taking photos and videos is only doing so because they’re excited, so tread lightly on people’s enthusiasm. You don’t want to seem like you’re laying down rules. With that in mind here’s how to politely ask for, and how to create, the mindful unplugged wedding day you want.

How to Have an Unplugged or Technology-Free Wedding

How do you ask your guests to skip the Insta Stories and leave their phones out of sight? In most cases asking your friends and family to go technology-free (phone, camera, etc) for your entire wedding just won’t work, but it is entirely reasonable to ask your guests to switch off for the ceremony. However you want your unplugged wedding to work, we’ve come up with tips for requesting an unplugged wedding without seeming too demanding, as well as important advice for guests to follow too!

Photo by Sasha Treanor Photography via One Fab Day

1. Include your Unplugged Wedding Message on your Invites or Wedding Website

Early notice is always a good idea – it’s all about communication. Firstly, decide whether you want guests to go tech free or whether you just want to limit the posting of your wedding photos to social media. Then give your guests advance warning on your wishes. Politely point out that you’d love it if all guests could go phone or camera free for the ceremony or the reception. Or, if tech is okay, that you would prefer if no photos were posted on social media until a later date, to ensure they’re not distracted posting online in the middle of special moments.

2. Be Specific

To avoid misunderstanding, be clear with your guests about what you mean by no technology. Do you want no photos at all, no photos during the ceremony, or no social media posts on the day or no posts at all? When your guests know the rules, they’re easier to follow!

3. Ask your Officiant to Make an Announcement

This is perhaps the most effective way to nip technology use in the bud on the day, as your guests are more likely to listen to an authority figure like your celebrant or officiant than to your subtle requests. Let someone else be the bad cop!

4. Put it in your Wedding Program

Whether you have or haven’t listed your tech preferences on your invite, it’s no harm to include it again in your wedding programme or mass booklet. You might have decided to go unplugged after sending the invites, so it’s never too late to ask. A line explaining that you want your guests to relax and enjoy the ceremony phone-free, or to delay posting photos will work perfectly.

Photo by Claire Byrne Photography via One Fab Day

5. Signage & Chalkboards

Signage or chalkboards are definitely the prettiest way to encourage your guests to stop using their phones or cameras, particularly if you want the rule to apply throughout your day. Likewise if you want them to take photos, you can always include your wedding hashtag, and let them know when to hold off on posting to social media. You’ll find lots of options on sites like Etsy, or you can check out our stationery suppliers for something custom made, or if you’re creative, wedding signage can be a fun, simple DIY project.

6. Be Specific

To avoid misunderstanding, be clear with your guests about what you mean by no technology. Do you want no photos at all, no photos during the ceremony, or no social media posts on the day or no posts at all? When your guests know the rules, they’re easier to follow!

7. Share your Professional Photos with Everyone Afterwards

Most guests mean no harm whatsoever taking out their phones and cameras, they simply want a memento. Assuring everyone they’ll get a few snaps will make putting down their technology so much easier. As well as including photos of yourselves and the other details that people like to share, chat to your photographer beforehand and ask for lots of guests shots on your photo checklist.

8. Have a Photobooth or a Polaroid Station

If you’re going the whole hog and really don’t want any technology throughout the whole day, a photobooth or Instax station is a nice option that allows guests to have some photos of their own, which they’ll also get to take home on the day.

9. Consider Your Rules Carefully

Think carefully before insisting that no photos be taken at all – sometimes the best snaps are the ones taken by friends throughout the day that you get to pore over on WhatsApp or Instagram the next morning. This is especially so for candid shots of friends and family, and of course the celebrations that take place long after the photographer has hung up their lens.

Some Tips for Guests on Using Phones at Weddings

Whether you’re at an unplugged wedding or not, these tips are worth keeping in mind for any wedding!

  • Always respect a couple’s wishes if they want an unplugged wedding, even if it’s not something you’d go for yourself.
  • Adhere to any religious or cultural rules of the ceremony – don’t use your phone during mass for example, and refrain from taking photos during any sacred elements of a wedding ceremony.
  • When sharing photos from a wedding – whether it’s unplugged or not, only post flattering shots of the wedding party. They’ve probably gone to a lot of effort to look their best, so no drunk/resting face/awkward angled shots please!
  • Avoid taking a shot as a bride or groom walks down the aisle, they want to see your smiling faces, not the back of your phone!
  • If you are taking a photo during the ceremony or the speeches, take a snap then put down your phone – you don’t need to film the entire thing, no one will watch it back, we promise.
  • Likewise, no couple wants to look around their wedding and see everyone buried in their phone. If you must post a pic to Instagram or send a shot of the bride to your work WhatsApp group, do it quickly, then put away your phone and enjoy the party!
  • Cameras and phones are okay, but please refrain bringing an iPad to a wedding. Tablet screens are too big and only end up blocking everyone else’s view of what’s going on.
  • Last but not least, be mindful of the professional photography. The wedding is their workplace and they’re trying to do their job and capture all the special moments of a couple’s big day. The last thing they need is you getting into their shot line to capture it for yourself!

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