There are two types of wedding couples in this world—one encourages guests to snap as many photos as they like then share them on social media using custom hashtags; the other wishes nothing more than to confiscate their guests’ digital distractions, from mobile phones to tablets, in order to have a well and truly unplugged wedding.
Suffice it to say, if you belong to the latter category, you risk ruffling many a feather.
The trend of unplugged weddings, which putatively started with the rise of social media platforms, doesn’t involve the confiscation of any gadgets, of course. Rather, it requests that guests keep their digital devices away during the wedding ceremony and reception.
In fact, there are people who take this trend a little too seriously, even between couples. Case in point: In October 2016, a Saudi Arabian man divorced his wife just two hours after their wedding because she had violated a clause in their prenuptial agreement—she posted pictures of the wedding on Snapchat.
(Related: 3 Sensitive Wedding Conundrums Answered)
How can you tactfully tell your guests to unplug without pissing them off? Let the wedding experts—Hellen Lie, creative director of Rosette Designs & Co, and Vivian Ngiam, wedding planner at Chere Weddings—show you how.
1. Decide early on if you wish to have an unplugged wedding. That way, should you opt for it, you can include the announcement on your invitation cards so as to give your guests a heads-up.
2. Ngiam suggests considering phone-related cocktail “activities”, such as a charging booth for guests to deposit their phones, or even a screen protector decorative booth.
3. Incorporate a reminder for guests to unplug in places where they have to read—the menu, table number cards, signages, etc. The tone should be light, fun, and even bordering on silly.
4. Offer to share the professionally taken photographs with your guests a few days after the wedding, via file hosting sites such as Dropbox. They will be more willing to stow their subpar selfie skills that way.
5. Ask your emcee to give friendly reminders to unplug before and during the wedding reception and ceremony. However, Lie cautions not to overdo it as it might reflect negatively on the couple. “No matter how much the couple tries, it is ultimately the guests’ right to do what they wish with their devices.”
6. Consider getting a roving wedding photographer. LiveStudios Photography’s team of roving photographers are well equipped to not only engage with guests but also capture picture-perfect moments, which can be displayed on the projection screen and printed out instantly.
7. Nobody likes a hypocrite. The worst thing you can do is demand that your guests stay device-free, while you sneakily check your Instagram feed!