So you want to have an unplugged wedding — or at least, the ceremony part. Encouraging your guests to put down their devices can be a very delicate endeavour . . . as a guest at one of our recent weddings growled, “If I was told that I had to leave my phone at home, I’d probably decline to attend.” Wow!!! With a special requests like this, you need to treat your guests with sensitivity and respect.
If you’re not sure how to request “unplugging” in a way that won’t offend your guests, here are some helpful suggestions. Below, you will find some “sensitive” wording for your officiant, invitations, program and wedding website. Please feel free to share!
Before the Wedding
Talk to your photographer
Remember: Wedding guests take photos because they want to be able to relive and share the experience of your day. When considering an unplugged wedding, both you and your photographer must be committed to sharing your photos with your guests. By working with your photographer beforehand can ensure that a small set of photos (5 or so) are made available digitally to your guests within a couple of days of the wedding. You may then share them with your guests by e-mail, your wedding website, the photographer’s blog or facebook — the method doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that you and your photographer are on the same page BEFORE your unplugged wedding day.
Wording for programs and wedsite
If you are choosing to share your information to guests by your wedsite, you can give them a “heads-up” about why you are having an “unplugged wedding” before your big day and why you want them to turn their devices off:
We want you to be able to ready enjoy our wedding day by feeling truly present and in the moment with us. We’ve hired an amazing wedding photographer named Gail Kennedy, from NightinGail Photography, who will be capturing the way the wedding looks — and we are inviting you all to sit back, relax and just enjoy how our wedding feels. We are respectfully requesting that all of you leave your cameras, i-Phones, i-Pads and cell phones turned off and put away. We will be sharing all of our wedding photos with you afterwards.
A short note can also be added to your program.
We want you to be able to relax and have fun with us today! With this in mind, we invite you to put away all of your devices and be present in the moment with us. Please leave your devices in your bag (all of the photography is covered!) and make sure that your cell phone is muted or turned off. (We promise that any callers will call again.)
We’re happy to share our professional photos later but the greatest gift that you can give us today is just being fully here in this sacred and special moment.
The bride and groom have asked that you share fully in their wedding and not through the lens of your camera or cell phone.
No pictures please. We are honoured that you are here today and present with us during the ceremony. Two photographers are covering the ceremony. We request that you refrain from any photogrpahy during the entire ceremony. We promise that there will be plenty of images at your disposal!
At the Wedding
Appoint a member of your wedding party to help encourage guests to put their devices away at the wedding. It can be a simple as having them come up beside the guest and whisper, “The bride and groom have asked me to respectfully suggest that guests put away all electronic devices and just enjoy the day. Can I ask you to please put your camera/iPad/iPhone/cell phone away?” Whatever you do — DO NOT rely on your photographer to be the “heavy” — it is not their job to ensure that your guests behave. Besides, when the request comes from a fellow guest, it’s much less likely to cause an unpleasant scene.
Wording ideas for the officiant
The easiest way to remind guests to turn off their devices is to have your officiant make a brief announcement before the ceremony.
The couple respectfully requests that all guests honour the sanctity of these moments by turning off all devices.
I invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off all devices and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks – I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distractions of technology.
Ladies and gentlemen, prior to wedding take-off, all seats back and tray tables must be in their upright and locked positions, all bags properly stowed, and all portable electronic devices turned off and stowed. This includes cell phones and cameras.
A direct approach:
After the bride is walked down the aisle, the officiant asks the bride and groom to turn around and face the audience. At this time, he said, “Everyone, get the photo that you really want now because we ask that your electronic devices and camera remain off for the remainder of the ceremony.
A common request:
Good afternoon! It is my pleasure to welcome you to the wedding of Bride and Groom. Please take a moment to silence any cell phones and all other noisy electronics. If you would also take a moment to put your cameras away, Bride and Groom have requested that no photos be taking during the ceremony today. Thank you so much for your understanding. The ceremony will begin shortly.
After the Wedding
Share your photos!
Make sure that you share a few images with your guests within a couple of days of the wedding — for a Saturday wedding, Monday or Tuesday is ideal. (Make sure your photographer is onboard with this release of photos.) The wedding is still very fresh in your guests’ minds and it’s a great way to carry some of the wedding day into their work-weeks. As soon as all your wedding images are released by your photographer, select the images for your custom Thank You cards. Be sure to share the wedding photos with your guests on-line too!
So, are you having an unplugged wedding?
We’d love to hear how you’re doing your unplugged wedding — please give us a comment below!