This is a heartfelt, on my knees plea to all wedding couples and guests….
By now most of you that are planning a wedding, or even going to one, have probably heard the term “unplugged wedding’. For those that haven’t, the term simply refers to a wedding where the bride and groom have requested that the guests don’t bring/turn off/or even turn in their cell phones, ipads, electronic devices, etc…when they arrive.
Most people assume that the request is coming from the professional photographer in order to prevent guests getting in the way of their shots. And, while this could be the case and definitely IS an issue, in my opinion, it is not the biggest one.
The #1 reason why I believe that everyone should plan an Unplugged Wedding is this:
It preserves everything that makes a wedding special…the emotions, relationships, moments, etc…. When cellphones, ipads, etc…are present, the very dynamics of a wedding are negatively affected.
Some of my very favorite moments at a wedding are 1) the walk down the aisle, 2) the cocktail hour and 3) the first dance/parent dances. They are always full of emotion and special relationships, and personalities shine through during these moments.
Unfortunately, our very ‘plugged in’ society has affected these times in a not-so-good way.
Here are a few example scenarios of ‘THEN’ vs. ‘NOW’…
1) Walk Down the Aisle/Start of Ceremony
THEN: The music changes, everyone stands and there is a collective gasp as the bride makes her appearance and begins her walk down the aisle. Everyone is smiling, there may be a few tears of happiness and the couple’s eyes are locked onto each other.
NOW: The processional begins and everyone positions themselves as best as they can to take photos. If lucky, the images show the aisle flanked by a rows and rows of cellphones up and ready, in front of all the guests faces. Unfortunately, many times the images also show a phone or two hanging out into the aisle. Even worse….there are times when guests actually step out INTO the aisle.
The couple is up front now, ready to exchange vows.
THEN: A crowd of beaming faces behind the couple.
NOW: The tops of heads as everyone tries to be the first to post their cellphone pic to Instagram. Hardly anyone is even paying attention.
2) The Cocktail Hour
I love this time of the day. It’s always FULL of emotion and I get a first hand glimpse into the special relationships that exist, the excitement of people seeing each other for the first time in years, etc… I feel that this is such an important part of the day that I work very hard to make sure that all group/formal photos are done fast and efficiently so everyone can be present and enjoy it.
THEN: Everyone hugging, laughing, toasting, talking….. Great and genuine expressions and interactions. Each image could tell a story on it’s own.
NOW: Little subgroups of people off to the sides, lining up while someone takes a photo of them with their cellphone. Selfies galore. More posing than interacting.
3) First Dance/Parent Dances
This may actually be the part that makes me the most sad to witness. What used to be such an emotionally charged moment has drastically been altered.
THEN: SO MUCH EMOTION! Friends and family…the people that mean the most in the world to the couple…..surround them on the dance floor. There are smiles, laughter, tears, arms around each other, people holding hands. There is warmth, love, affection.
NOW: It’s a sea of cellphones. The group still surrounds the dance floor but now, instead of seeing everyone’s expressions, all I see is bodies with iPhones in front of their faces.
I can’t begin to tell you just how depressing it is. The toasts and cake cutting are the same way.
I do believe that no one actually means for any of this to happen. Everyone is excited and they all want to preserve it with their iPhones. It’s the way things are now. People attend concerts and view it all on the screens of their phones while they videotape it….instead of experiencing it in the present. Parents attend their child’s soccer game and do the same. Their eyes aren’t on the child…..they are focused on their phone screens.
I’m sure a few will read this and simply shrug. iPhones have a frightening control over many. It’s like they can’t experience something that’s happening live right in front of them. They need that barrier for some reason.
But, in my opinion, the end result of this at a wedding is heartbreaking. It robs a couple of being able to go back and FEEL the emotions and moments of their day through photos. A wedding invitation requests “the honour of your PRESENCE”……not merely the “honour of your ATTENDANCE”.
PLEASE….Put down your phones, cameras, iPads….DISTRACTIONS in general…..and be PRESENT at the next wedding you are invited to.
Believe me, the couple invited you because you are important to them…not because they wanted to just fill a seat.
I feel strongly enough about this that I have significant incentives in place for all couples that commit to planning an “Unplugged Wedding”. Be sure to inquire if the above rings true to you and you want your own wedding to be unplugged.