What is an unplugged wedding and why should we have one?

An unplugged wedding is one where you and all your friends and family are phone or camera-free. It’s a wedding that means everyone can be fully present in the moment, with no worries about getting a perfect shot, posting updates on social media or even (dare I say it?) checking the score on the big match… 

An unplugged wedding can mean the whole day, but often it means just the ceremony. Of course, that’s your decision to make. But let’s look at why you might consider asking your guests to unplug in the first place.

Picture the scene… it’s your wedding day and you are walking down the aisle to your beloved (or you are watching your beloved walk to you). It’s a huge moment – you have a big lump in your throat, you’re moist-of-eye, and you think you might be about to explode with love and happiness…

But you can’t see your soon-to-be spouse! There are too many of your guests standing in the aisle taking a photo of this tender moment that you can’t even have the moment! You have to crane your neck or peer over the crowd to catch a glimpse of your loved one through all the people with phones for faces.

The photographer you carefully picked for their awesome style and great rapport isn’t faring much better either. They want to capture this moment – indeed, that’s what you’ve paid them a considerable amount of money for – but Aunty Gladys is insisting on snapping it on her old iPhone 4, whilst standing in the middle of the aisle and blocking your view and all hope of a great photo.

An unplugged wedding prevents any of this from happening: you have your ‘first look’ moment down the aisle (if that’s what you’re doing of course – there is no rule on this*); everyone gets to watch without Gladys barging them out of the way; everyone can focus, distraction-free on the ceremony that unfolds; and you get awesome photos from your awesome photographer. Yay!

Unplugged weddings also ensure that your wedding photos and video aren’t seen by friends of friends on social media before you’ve even said ‘I do’.

In short, an unplugged wedding keeps the moment intimate, sacred and utterly in the moment.

How do we tell our guests about our unplugged ceremony?

You don’t necessarily need to make a big announcement before the big day. As a celebrant, as I’m warming guests up before a ceremony begins, I regularly ask people to put their phones away and enjoy what unfolds first-hand. And I often ask people not to post on social media too – either at all or until the newlyweds have given the go-ahead.

Of course, this is after discussion with you, the star couple! And the boundaries of your unplugged wedding is something you will want to chat through together as you’re planning your day.

You might not have an official photographer and so actively want people to take photos during the ceremony. In this case, we could discuss whether everyone can or a selected few, or perhaps set up a couple of ‘photo moments’ in the ceremony instead. This way, you can look out at your friends and family during the ceremony and see their smiling faces, not their phones.

Photos taken by guests during the reception will probably give you an ‘inside view’ of all the things that were happening on the day. You can’t be everywhere at once on your wedding day, however hard you try, and these pictures can be priceless later. Grandma getting jiggy on the dancefloor or the moment all your college housemates got together again for the first time in years… they’re golden memories. So you might want to keep the unplugged bit just for the ceremony and perhaps for the speeches? Or you might decide to keep the whole day recorded only in hearts, memories, and the official photos. 

Whilst you’re mulling that lot over, consider this too: are you completely happy with people sharing photos and video to social media on the day, or does the idea fill you with horror? 

Think about these things, chat it through together and with your celebrant.  Then I can make the details of your unplugged wedding super clear to your guests (in a friendly way!) so there’s no worry or upset and everyone can have an awesome time.

What is an unplugged wedding and why should we have one? ~ Sussex celebrant Claire Bradford of Creating Ceremony
Image by 2530333 from Pixabay

Want a super-personal, relaxed and fun wedding with heart? Whether it’s unplugged or otherwise, give me a call.

* remember, walking down the aisle to one another – indeed walking down an aisle at all – is purely a tradition, not a law. Don’t fancy it? Chuck it in the f*ck it bucket and do something else instead.