I have worked with a few couples who asked me to pronounce them married followed by an instruction to update their Facebook status and some who provided their guests with hashtags to tweet throughout the affair. On the other hand, I am encountering an increasing number of couples who most emphatically do not want their wedding day splashed all over the social networks.
I advise them to communicate to all involved they are having an "unplugged wedding." In some cases, this is just for the ceremony, but in others they prefer the reception not be shared widely across the globe either. If this sounds intriguing to you, here is how it is done.
Spread the word!
1. Wedding Professionals: Notify key wedding professionals of your intention to have an unplugged wedding. Officiant, DJ, Photographer and Videographer. The officiant and DJ are in a position to make announcements and the photographer and videographer can be given the authority to politely remind any guests who get in their way that this is an unplugged wedding.
2. Wedding Website: Make sure your wedding website outlines clearly what your expectations are for your unplugged wedding. Is it just the ceremony or will it also include the reception? Can the guests take their own photos if they refrain from posting them on-line?
3. Invitation: It has not yet become part of contemporary wedding etiquette to indicate an unplugged wedding directly on the invitation. You can certainly include the information on an insert, such as those providing directions to the reception site.
4. Signage: Make a cute chalkboard or hand painted sign to be prominently displayed at the entrance to the wedding that remind guests they are attending an unplugged wedding.
5. Wedding Programs: If you are providing programs to your guests, this is an ideal place to put your expectations in writing as they will likely read through it prior to the ceremony.
Couples who want an unplugged wedding should make an effort to provide guests with access to the professional wedding photos at some point. If the reception will also be completely unplugged, I do suggest allowing a handful of friends and family to take photos and make sure each guest receives a photo of themselves enjoying the festivities. Such photos can be included in a thank you note. It is also possible to be strict about the ceremony and then allow personal photo taking at the reception, but with a reminder from the DJ at the beginning and end of the event that you appreciate your guests respecting your privacy and refraining from sharing their photos on-line.
Below is an example of the announcement I made prior to a recent unplugged ceremony where the couple allowed personal photography at the reception, but had the DJ request no on-line sharing.
Ladies and gentleman, we will begin in just a few short moments. I invite you to be fully present with (Names) on their wedding day. Please turn off your cell phones and put away your cameras at this time. (Names) ask you to respect both the sanctity of the ceremony and their privacy by refraining from taking pictures until the reception. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this beautiful occasion for which we are truly thankful.
Photo Attribute: Image courtesy of Shannon Perez of Florida Beachside Weddings and Simply In Love Photography.
And no, this is not a picture of an unplugged wedding. The irony would be more than I could stand!