The unplugged wedding: couples tell guests to put down their devices
So there you are at the altar, gazing into the eyes of your beloved, saying your vows. You turn to sneak a glance at your wedding guests, all your favourite friends and family… and all you are greeted with is a sea of down-turned faces staring at their LCD screens.
When your photos come back from your wedding photographer, all your guest shots include your favourite people staring at their favourite devices. People are smiling, but they’re all staring at little screens.
Welcome to the era of the over-documented wedding, where, even if you’ve hired someone to take photos, every guest has a camera and an iPhone and is tweeting the whole event. They’re there with you, but are they really present?
There is nothing worse than some unflattering photos turning up of you on Facebook 20 minutes after you have said “I do”.
As a web nerd who spends the majority of my life plugged into my laptop and smartphone, even I think it’s critical to take a few moments to be truly present. Smell the air, look around, feel the texture of the world around us. A wedding ceremony is exactly the kind of fleeting, important moment when it’s especially valuable to really be present, rather than relating to the world through a small LCD screen. When you discourage devices at your wedding, you encourage your guests to look up and drink in the world. Let’s call it “in-the-moment matrimony.”
While many churches have no camera policies, I’m hearing more and more from non-traditional secular couples that they’re considering an unplugged wedding — at the very least, asking guests to turn off their devices during the ceremony.
Now, let’s acknowledge that a fully plugged-in, hyper-documented wedding makes perfect sense for some couples. Micro-budget brides sometimes skip professional photography, opting to rely on guest photographs — so of course guest cameras make perfect sense in that context. If you’re a digerati who announced your engagement via Facebook, had an iPad-wielding officiant, read your vows off an Android phone, and live-streamed your ceremony, then there’s no reason you should unplug your wedding. I’m certainly not here to dictate that anyone needs to have less tech at their wedding.
If, however, you and your partner are looking for a few less beeps and a bit more face-to-face connection with your guests, an unplugged wedding could be a good fit for you.
See tomorrows blog post for how to have an unplugged wedding