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Ask the Expert: Can I really ask for an unplugged wedding?

20 Jul 2017

Don't want your wedding shared on social media for all to see? Marie Haverly of Isabella Weddings Planning and Consultancy details how to request this of your guests

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Marie Haverly is our wedding planner-turned-agony-aunt and is back this month to answer another bride's burning question.

Q. I’ve seen a lot of hype on social media about people getting fed up with their wedding guests sharing images online and some getting in the photographer's way during the ceremony. I want to request an unplugged wedding, but is this OK to do so?

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I remember visiting a church with a bride once and the vicar told us that he always asked every guest to place their mobile devices in a small bowl at the entrance to the church to ensure the ceremony is enjoyed without any mobile phone interruption. His justification for this was the growing number of people taking pictures on phones and texting during the ceremony that he decided to take action.

A little drastic maybe, but I think he had a good point. We have all seen that image where the photographer is aiming to capture the ‘money shot’ - the newlywed couple walking down the aisle for the first time together - and half the guests step out into the aisle to take a picture with their phones and iPads so that the couple can no longer be seen by the (paid) photographer. This is such a shame and the photographer always feels responsible if they miss a shot due to a guest getting in the way with their phone when he or she is trying to capture the images requested by his or her client.

Our advice would be that if you really want to enjoy your guests and your day to the full then yes, definitely request an unplugged wedding. You can make this decision fun and lighthearted by leaving signs saying things like ‘We would rather see your faces than your phones when we walk down the aisle, so please respect our unplugged wedding’. You should manage where your images are posted too as well or you may see all sorts of bizzare shots or angles on your friends' Facebook pages before you’ve even cut the cake. Explain to your guests that you really want them to enjoy the day to the full, to live for the moment and enjoy the time with you both rather than become distracted by social media. After all, it’s nice to be able to enjoy some time away from those mobile devices.

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Some of my top tips are:

1. Let your guests know in advance and allow them to ask questions so they understand your motives better.

2. Perhaps share some of those terrible images on social media that show the devastation that guests wielding iPads and phones during an intimate ceremony cause, to allow your guests to see the reasoning behind your decision.

3. Allow a safe space for images after the wedding where guests can upload their own photos for you to enjoy and share, rather than just posting them online anywhere. A good site for this is Wed Pics, a place for you to share and upload images.

Lastly, my advice would be to ensure that you have the day you want. You have decided to pay a decent fee to a very good photographer and you want to get the most of their expertise, therefore it is down to you to make your intentions clear to your guests so that they can relax on the day as much as you.

Images: Mia Photography

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