Close your eyes and imagine you’re at your wedding ceremony. There are no cameras (except for the hired pros) and the guests are remaining in their seats. Open your eyes and feel the warmth of knowing this is an actual possibility. It really can happen at your wedding. Then again, so could the opposite nightmare scenario…
What’s the opposite of camera-less, phone-less peace? Guests walking in the aisle, guests walking behind the altar, guests standing on their chairs. Yes, this stuff really happens. Not at every wedding, but it happens more than you’d think.
You can eliminate most or all of this by having an unplugged wedding. This is when you ask your guests to take their cameras and phones and shove them… err… kindly put them away. And keep them away.
Guests with cameras and phones have been a problem for the last several years and the unplugged wedding concept came about as a way to minimize the distractions. Without sounding too dramatic, that nightmare scenario above does play out at some weddings. However, it’s more likely that you’ll just get a bunch of cameras constantly raised over heads in the crowd or people standing in front of your hired photographer. This latter scenario means that people are focusing on their screens and not on one of the most important moments of your life, the whole reason you invited them in the first place. Uncool.
You can tell them to pocket the electronics without sounding like a diva. Really. It’s possible. Do it with all three of these suggestions:
-Place a sign at the ceremony entrance. You can do this with a printed sign, a chalkboard, or whatever sign is popular on Pinterest this week.
-Place a note in the program. This can say virtually the same thing as the entrance sign.
-Have the officiant announce it. This should be done before you walk down the aisle so that you aren’t greeted by cell phones in your face.
Why all three? Because people are oblivious. They’re either overcome with joy at being in your presence or they’re yelling at their kids for wiping boogers on each other. In other words, they’re distracted. This gives them three opportunities to get the message. (If they still don’t get it, they might be self-absorbed jerks.)
If you’re concerned on how to tell them tactfully, Google “unplugged wedding sign” and you’ll have a multitude from which to choose.
Tell your guests that you want them to be “present” in the moment. Before cell phone cameras, people actually paid attention to what was happening around them instead of watching it through a screen.
Tell your guests that you’ve hired professional photographers to do the work for them. Surely their out of focus, poorly lit cell phone photos are critical to your memories, but you’re confident that the pros can capture the moments too.
Tell your guests that they’re welcome to unpocket their electronics for the reception for all of the alcohol-induced selfies and shenanigans that they wish.
Heck, tell your guests whatever you want. If you want to have an unplugged wedding, you can have an unplugged wedding. It’ll lead you to the distraction-free wedding of your dreams.