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Unplugged Weddings

How to get your guests to put down their phones and enjoy your wedding

By Kelly Gill

As a person who believes in moderation (except when it comes to popcorn, good wine, and spicy food), I’m keenly aware of people who live their lives through the lenses of their electronic devices. It makes me sad to see someone using a large portion of their time at a wedding pursuing the “perfect image” rather than being in the moment as it unfolds around them.

So you know where I'm going with this, right? Unplugged weddings, where guests are asked to refrain from using their devices during the wedding, are the “new” thing, but we know this is just a movement back to good manners and common sense. Not only that, but having guests put down their phones actually helps your professional photographer get the shots you’ll cherish . . . and happily, they won’t be of you exchanging rings with seventeen smartphones in the back ground. We’re told that the flash from even one smart phone can alter the lighting for the professionals, giving you less-than-perfect images.

So how can you help your guests enjoy the day with you in person rather than from behind a camera lens?

1. Plan ahead. Being proactive by mentioning your decision to have an unplugged wedding in advance; they'll be more likely to comply if the request isn’t sprung on them last minute.

2. Create signage. A well-placed sign at the ceremony entrance and/or on the ceremony programs that asks guests to refrain from using their cameras during the ceremony, and possibly even later at the reception, will do wonders for your wedding day atmosphere.

3. Explain your plan to share your photos. Perhaps the best way to get your guests to feel at ease about leaving their phones and cameras tucked away is to make your plan to share the images very clear. If you plan to share them on Facebook, Dropbox, etc., communicate this to your guests so they know they won't miss any of the images taken by your photographer.

4. Enlist your DJ and wedding planner’s help. If you want guests to have free reign with their devices during the reception but want the special moments to be unplugged (for the professional photog to capture), ask your DJ and planner to help you.

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