These days, it seems like technology is part and parcel to the wedding experience. Photographers use drones to get sweeping wide shots of the bridal party; couples share the details of their big day on their own personal website; wedding hashtags are as common as white dresses and champagne. However, there’s a new trend rising in the wedding world: unplugged ceremonies, where couples ask their loved ones to turn off their phones until they’ve said, “I do.”
This idea might seem outlandish to some couples. How can you expect everyone to shut off their phones for the whole ceremony? But an unplugged wedding can have quite a few benefits. Here are a few reasons why you (and your guests) might enjoy having a wedding without someone live-tweeting every vow.
1. No #Spoilers
The unplugged ceremony doesn’t just apply to guests. Everyone including you, your partner, and your bridal party should be absent from texting, calling, or social media on the big day. This will help you stay in the moment throughout the day, but it will also help maintain the mystery and surprise of your special day. No spoilers here!
What “spoilers” could I possibly mean? Well, let’s look at one example: it’s the morning of your wedding day, and you and your bridesmaids are knocking back mimosas and getting your makeup done. Your girls are chatting, happily scrolling through social media, when they decide to snap a quick selfie of their floral robes and half-glammed looks. No harm, right? Sure…until your sweetheart and his groomsmen spot you getting into your dress in the background of the photo! Just like that, all the magic of your “first look” is gone! Obviously, this is a very specific example that may not happen to you. However, if you want to avoid spoilers like this on your wedding day, it’s best to ask for radio silence from everyone in attendance.
2. Your Guests Will Mingle
Cell phones are a great way to stay connected with distant loved ones, celebrities, and news happening around the world—but they’re not so great for making a connection with the person next to you. When guests attend a wedding, they’re often seated with people they might not know, and whose only connection with them is their shared relationship with the guest of honor. If there’s a phone handy, it might be easier to play Candy Crush or scroll through Instagram…but if there’s not, a budding friendship could blossom.
Taking away your guests’ cell phones will force them to be more “present” at your wedding, which in turn could mean that they’ll have more fun! Not only are you more likely to chat with your neighbor when there’s no phone to play with, but you’re also more likely to appreciate the ceremony, enjoy the cocktail hour, and hit the dance floor at the reception. Everybody wins!
3. No Social Media Awkwardness
Many of us use social media to announce the big moments in our lives. We announce engagements, graduations, pregnancies, and a whole lot more on sites like Facebook and Instagram, where we can let everyone in our lives know our news all at once. However, nothing is more awkward than when someone we didn’t want to know finds out about our big news…because they heard about it from someone else’s page.
If your friends are posting about your wedding willy-nilly, that news becomes public information to anyone on their friends list—and that may include people you don’t want to be involved in your nuptials. The best way to avoid this is to ask your friends and loved ones to keep your wedding offline!
4. Your Photographer Will Love You
Wedding photographers in the social media age face a very unique challenge. When it was once their job (and only their job) to capture the beautiful memories of a wedding ceremony, now the pews are filled with amateur shutterbugs who think they need to snap away, too! Too many professional wedding photos have been ruined by smartphone screens blocking the view. If you banish those phones to your guests’ purses and pockets, your photographer will be thrilled! Seriously, even if you can’t think of any other benefit to an unplugged ceremony, you should do it just to give your photographer a break.
5. You Can Truly Enjoy the Moment
I talked about this briefly earlier, but it bears repeating: staying off your phone will make it easier to enjoy your special day. When we’re online, we often tune out the world around us and focus on what’s happening on our little screens. Even after we put them away, we may find ourselves thinking about the Tweet we just read, or a photo we just saw, or anything other than the moment at hand.
Your wedding day is a very special moment in your life, and you should cherish every second of it. Don’t let your phone distract you from a single memory. Put it away, and ask your guests to do the same!