Unplugged: Dealing with technology at your ceremony

Aug 24, 2018

Ah, that magical moment in a ceremony when the music changes and the marriers begin their walk down the aisle. Guests rise to their feet and, perhaps shedding a tear of joy, reach into their back pockets to retrieve… a pocket-sized recording device.

More than ever, wedding guests are attending beautiful ceremonies only to watch through the glowing screen of a smartphone or tablet. When couples gaze out into the crowd, they see the backs of phones blocking the faces of their loved ones.

As a result, many marriers are turning to “unplugged” ceremonies. This new, tech-free tradition keeps guests present and involved. It also keeps wedding photographs free of distracting electronics. (Because let’s face it: a photo of Mom gazing lovingly at her iPhone screen isn’t quite what most couples envision for their album.)

Creating an unplugged ceremony is easy. Some couples make a sign asking guests to refrain from taking pictures. Others ask the officiant to make a brief announcement before the wedding party enters. You can even prepare guests for separation from their smartphones by including your wishes on the invitation. Really strict couples might ask people to put cell phones in a basket before the ceremony and pick them up after.

By no means does an unplugged ceremony mean that guests will suffer separation anxiety all night long. Let them know that they’re encouraged to Instagram their hearts out during cocktail hour and Facebook live your first dance. You may even want to create a wedding hashtag so you can find all their photos in one place!

In 2018, smartphones are everywhere. That’s a reality that we can embrace in most situations. But for your wedding ceremony, it’s okay to ask people to set the phones aside. Who knows—they may be pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoy the break!

Ideas for your unplugged ceremony

  • Write on your invitation that guests are encouraged to leave their smartphones at home
  • DIY a sign that kindly asks friends and family to turn their cell phones off
  • Ask your officiant to make an announcement that you’d like to enjoy tech-free vows
  • Put out a basket and ask guests to turn off their phones and place them inside
  • Create a wedding hashtag so guests feel welcome to use their phones outside the ceremony

Have you ever attended an unplugged ceremony? What about a completely unplugged wedding? Did you enjoy the mini-vacation from your tech?

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