Unplugged Weddings – Fair or Unfair?

Nowadays nearly everyone has a cell phone, smart phone or some other device that keeps them constantly ‘plugged in’. Is it possible you should sometimes leave the phone at home ? I think we all can agree that there are just some situations where a cell phone is not necessary. 

Some brides and grooms have decided that that too much technology can spoil an event and  are having  “Unplugged Weddings”. Whether it is cameras, phones or other technology, couples are coming to the conclusion that enough is enough and making a statement. If you are among those, you may have a rough road convincing others that they need to be unplugged during the events of the day.

The reasons that couples are opting for unplugged is simple: Noflashes going off during the ceremony, no one popping up in the wrong place in photos because they were trying to get a  good shot, no one’s phone ringing or beeping during any part of the event. 

Is it possible that you could request that everyone to turn off their electronic devices and not offend anyone? No. Some people will see it as an infringement of their personal choice. Some people are so plugged in that it would never occur to them that putting down the device will allow them to enjoy the moment better.

So in the age of technology when nearly everyone is held hostage by some sort of communication device, how do you politely remind guests that you are unplugging?

Start early– Tell everyone that you are planning and unplugged event. Even if it under the pretense of asking their opinion, have a discussion with as many of your guests,  attendants and family as possible about how you plan to do this. Make sure you talk to the guests that have great communications kills –  you know, the ones who like to pass on information.

Officiant –Have a discussion with the officiant on how to make a proper announcement the day of the event so no one will be offended. There are many examples available online but the best way is to be honest. You can add a touch of humor if that’s your style.

Website – If you have a wedding website, designate a page to the subject. Explain your reasons in a way that you feel your guests will understand and a way that does not offend.

Guest – At the event, have one of your  guests serve as the person who reminds everyone and gently ‘nudges’ people who are not  following suit. It won’t be offensive if it comes from another guest who is not a member of the wedding party. Make sure it is someone who can keep it light and not come off as the ‘cell phone police’. Practice what he or she will say so that it does not turn into a confrontation. “By the way – did you see that James and Carol asked everyone to turn off their phones?”  No drama, no arguing, no problem, right? It is better to designate someone to do this than to have one of your (probably older) relatives give them the evil eye at some point.

Print –Some couples have printed signs on display at the entrance of the church or hall, at each table and in various places where there is high visibility. If you choose to do this, make sure it is tastefully worded and pleasing to the eye.

If you decide to unplug your wedding, don’t despair if you get some feedback. It isn’t as if you are confiscating cell phones at the door and not allowing outside contact with the world. understandably some people with small children or sick relatives or even urgent personal business will have their phone with them and have them turned on. They will merely have to put their phone on vibrate or silent mode and step outside to have a conversation if the situation arises.

One of the best things about your wedding is that it is your wedding. The choices you make reflect who you are as a person; stick to your guns,  be respectful and move on.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago