What is an unplugged wedding?
I was going to start this wedding planning guide with a Dad joke about electricity, but I think we’re both better than that so I’m just going to dive straight in: an unplugged wedding is one that doesn’t allow phones. Now, it’s not necessarily a phone-free zone where you’ll be kicked out if you dare to reveal an iPhone in your jacket pocket, but it is a wedding where the couple doesn’t want to see – and therefore rightfully expects not to see – loads of phones from their guests.
Why are couples going for an unplugged wedding? Do I need it?
Many couples are opting for an unplugged ceremony nowadays, for lots of reasons. Firstly, you’ve invited all of your guests because you want to see their supportive faces when you look out at your most precious moments – it’s not the same staring at a sea of phone cases.
Secondly, for a lot of people, phones mean photos and photos mean panic. This is especially true if you’ve hired a natural documentary style wedding photographer and don’t plan on many formal photos. Chances are, if you’ve specifically chosen a photographer who’s going to take beautifully natural photos of you when you don’t realise, you don’t like the idea of knowing a camera is in your face all day. People waving their phone in front of your nose at any given second isn’t going to fill you with happiness!
With your wedding photographer (oh hey!) in mind, another reason lots of couples may opt for an unplugged wedding is to avoid over-keen home photographers getting in the way of that key shot. As a documentary style wedding photographer, I’m used to slipping around the venue and catching the best angle without you noticing – and it’s my job to adapt to changes in circumstances and to move with the day – but there’s nothing to salvage a tech-savvy aunty standing in the middle of the aisle with a whole iPad blocking the view of your gorgeous faces for the rest of us.
Finally, lots of couples go for an unplugged wedding so that they’re in control of how and when the news and images go out to the rest of the world. If you want to keep your dress and decor a surprise from evening guests, for example, you don’t want it splashed all over Facebook just after the ceremony. Also, it’s your news, so you should be the ones to release it to the world, if you so wish.
How do we let people know it’s an unplugged wedding?
You could put a note on your invitations to prepare people for the eventuality, but chances are they’ll forget in the excitement of the day so it’s worth reminding them nearer the time too. Ironically, one of the most effective ways to let the masses know is by announcing it on Facebook the day before. It’s also good to have a sign saying it on the day, and to get your celebrant or officiant to mention it before the ceremony. Then you can relax, and enjoy your day – with only my camera clicking away in the background.