Dear wedding guests: No, it's not "rude" for us to ask you to put your phone away

Photographer: Heather Beard Photography

Photographer: Heather Beard Photography

Unplugged weddings haven’t been around long. In fact it wasn’t until just a few years ago that we started seeing these signs surface our Pinterest boards. I imagine it became a popular thing when we as humans started relying so heavily on our phones for everything and when we started using our social media’s as a way of “showing off” to our friends of all the fun we have (oh yes, I went there).

Most people will tell you that the point of an unplugged wedding is to keep people from being on their phones blocking the photographer trying to get pictures. I totally agree, but I also feel like it’s even more than that. Putting away your device and focusing your energy and attention on the wedding in front of you is more about being actually present in the moment. You may think that you can be present and be on your phone but you are kidding yourself. Quite frankly, it isn’t that much to ask of you, as a wedding guest to put your phone away for half an hour and truly focus your attention on the bride and groom (or bride & bride or groom & groom). Let’s be real, the couple is providing you a free meal, free cake, and most likely free booze so don’t act like the world is ending when you find out it is an unplugged wedding. And don’t you dare call the bride’s mom and complain (why do people do that??). You can snap your duck lips selfies on the dance floor later Aunt Barbara.

Don’t you dare say it’s rude of the couple to have an unplugged ceremony. What’s rude is Aunt Sally standing at the back with her “professional” camera trying to take pictures and blocking the photographer. What’s rude is cousin Joe standing up in the middle of the vows to snap a picture and blocking those behind him. What’s rude is little cousin Asher playing on his iPad because mom and dad haven’t taught him how to go 20 minutes without video games.

Sit there, be present, smile at the little flower girl skipping down the aisle, cry at the beautiful vows, and cheer for the first kiss. You might just find out that leaving your phone alone for a few minutes is quite enjoyable.

Now, onto how to get this message across some more:

If you are reading this and you are the one getting married, you might be wondering how you can make it clear that the wedding is unplugged without coming off rude. Of course, there is the sign, but I personally don’t think that is the only thing you should do. I have seen my couples put it in their programs, have the unplugged sign, and have their attendant kindly tell each guest, but the most successful I have seen is having the pastor make an announcement. It doesn’t have to be mean, but it needs to be clear.

Photographer: Yasmin Leonard Photography

Photographer: Yasmin Leonard Photography

Let’s take a dive into an announcement idea:

Pastor: “Friends and Family of ____________ & ___________, thank you for joining for this special day. The couple has asked that you please put away your phones and cameras for the ceremony, but before you do that, let me get a quick selfie.”

(pastor pulls out cell phone and snaps a selfie with wedding guests in the background and everyone cracks up)

“Now that we have that out of our system, please put away your devices and let’s all be present in this moment as two become one.”

(A little bit of shuffling happens while people put away devices- processional begins)

There are tons of other ways to approach this idea. You should do whatever feels right for YOU and your soon to be spouse! And if I haven’t made it clear enough, don’t you dare feel guilty about having an unplugged ceremony.