Are you an Instagram addict, a Facebook fiend, or just an over zealous happy snapper?
You may have recently heard the term ‘unplugged wedding’ bandied about. It is a hot topic in the world of weddings right now, particularly with the increased use of smart phones and social media.
So, what is an unplugged wedding and why would a couple consider it?
Whether you’ve made the decision to have an unplugged wedding, you’re still deciding, or you have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about – here’s the low down on the unplugged ceremony trend. We spoke to the experts, our Ivory Tribe celebrants, Shan ofCloud9 Celebrations and Megan of The Commitment Company, for their guidance and advice.
WHAT IS AN UNPLUGGED WEDDING?
In an age of selfies, hashtags and witty captions with just-snapped pics, we are surrounded by modern technology at almost every turn. As Megan suggests, the foundation of an unplugged wedding is about making a conscious effort to live in the moment instead of constantly trying to capture memories through a screen.
There is no doubt a wedding day is one of the most momentous and special occasions. It’s a day you’ve invited the most loved people in your life to share and celebrate the ultimate moment in your relationship, and for them to be truly present with you is really special.
An unplugged wedding is definitely a modern tradition and Shan describes it as one that is rapidly growing in popularity. ‘There’s no one set rule,’ she explains. ‘The degree of unplugged wedding can vary widely – from a wedding where no cameras, phones, tablets or other electronic devices are allowed, to a simple request for no images to be posted on social media until the Bride and Groom have had the chance to do so themselves.’
While this will no doubt be a challenge for some of your social media-addicted friends, Megan guarantees that by the end of the night your guests will love you for it, and your photographer will appreciate it even more.
WHY SHOULD A COUPLE CONSIDER AN UNPLUGGED WEDDING?
There are numerous reasons why a couple might choose to have an unplugged wedding and Shan believe these reasons can be varied. ‘For some it’s about their guests being present in the moment, and for others it may be about privacy or their choice in which photos appear (or don’t appear) on social media platforms,’ she says.
Both Megan and Shannon believe there can be a lot of benefits to those couples that opt for this new-age trend. Megan mentions that photographers in particular will be thrilled, as it allows them to do their job and document the day without the nuisance of making their way through a sea of selfie sticks.
‘The couple will also be the first to see their photos and approve the ones posted on social media,’ she says. ‘You have just spent months, if not years planning this momentous occasion in your life and your professional shots will be much better than your much-loved Aunty Betty’s!’
While for Shannon, life is all about living in the moment and at her own recent wedding, she made the choice to have an unplugged ceremony in order to experience the smiling faces of family and friends, as opposed to cameras and phone covers. ‘I also thought our photographer and videographer would appreciate the lack of arms stretching out into the aisle, up above the heads of guests, or just simply in the way of the shot, that they’d be forced to photoshop out afterwards,’ she explains.
In Megan’s experience, the feel and warmth of your ceremony is dependent on three things and they all involve people; the couple, the celebrant and of course – your guests. ‘You want your guests to smile, clap, laugh and maybe even cry,’ she says. ‘And you will struggle to achieve this if all your guests are stuck behind technology whilst trying to figure out if they’ve filtered, captioned and hashtagged their image correctly.’
SO, WHAT’S THE BEST WAY FOR A COUPLE TO ADVISE THEIR GUESTS THEIR WEDDING IS UNPLUGGED?
We know, we know, no one wants to get all preachy before a wedding day and turn guests off before they have even arrived. So how do you announce that your wedding is unplugged?
Shannon clearly recalls the first time she was asked to announce to guests that an unplugged ceremony was about to take place. ‘There was an awkward silence,’ she muses, ‘like I had asked them to something offensive or unheard of.’ But she quickly reassures us that nowadays it’s quite common practice and guests are far more aware of what the term ‘unplugged’ means and are very open to it.
Megan believes you can break the news to your guests in a light-hearted way through your celebrant. ‘You don’t want to make them feel like they are being told off by a school teacher,’ she explains.
Shannon agrees – and believes that the success of introducing an unplugged wedding is truly all in the delivery. ‘I strongly suggest you give guests perspective as to why – some couples might be keen to convey their wishes prior to the ceremony either by wording this on their invite, on ceremony signage or even in ceremony programs’ she says, ‘It’s also advisable to have your Celebrant back this up by quickly reminding guests of the couple’s wishes before the bride walks down the aisle.’
NEED SOME GUIDANCE?
To make things a little easier – Shannon and Megan have kindly suggested some wording you may wish to use prior to your ceremony, or even on signage and stationery.
‘Today xxx and xxx have invited you to embrace the moment they become husband and wife. In order to fully feel the emotions of this ceremony they have kindly asked you put away your devices and capture the moment with your eyes and hearts. I would also like to introduce their photographer xxx who is here to ensure sure the day is documented beautifully and will be sure to tell you if you have lipstick on your teeth and hair in your face’. – Megan
‘It is (bride’s name) and (groom’s name) request that you kindly refrain from taking any photos during the ceremony, as they would much prefer to see your smiling faces, than your phones and cameras. Please join us in the moment’. – Shannon
‘We invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please turn off your phones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks – we encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts’. – Shannon
We want you to be able to relax and have fun with us today! This in mind, we invite you to put down all your devices and just be present in the moment with us. Please leave your camera in your bag (we’ve got photography covered!) and put your phone on silent (we promised they’ll call back!) – Shannon
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to your wedding day, but these are definitely some points to consider. Whether you ‘unplug’ your wedding day completely, unplug the ceremony and let people snap away for the party – or whether your wedding day is the chance for you to make your mark on the social media world and get ‘trending’ – just remember to stay true to yourselves and back your decision, we’re sure your guests will respect that.