How to Have an Unplugged Wedding

Bride and groom kissing on stairs of entrance to Harriet Himmel Theater for an article on how to have an unplugged wedding

Why is it that people feel the need to make every moment an Instagram memory? Surely guests understand that a professional photographer has been employed to do the heavy lifting.  I will never understand the cell phone photo phenomenon, as I am not a social media junkie. If you feel the same way I do and want to make sure that your guests stay focused on the task at hand (i.e., your wedding), then may I suggest a few tips for how to have an unplugged wedding.

How to Have an Unplugged Wedding – Wording

An unplugged wedding is one in which you kindly suggest to your guests that they keep their cell phones turned off for the event. Most couples include a simple wording to the effect on their wedding invitation or website, as well as posting a large sign at the front of the ceremony or reception. If you are worried that guests will take offense at being chided for potential bad behavior, think of this as a gentle way to make sure that all of your guests are able to concentrate without distractions on the meaning behind your ceremony. Of course not everyone will adhere to the request, but putting this statement out there will cut down significantly on the number of amateur photographers getting in the way of your fantastic wedding photos.

In case you are wondering what to say, here is what Rachelle included on her wedding website:

Please note, in order for you to enjoy our wedding to the fullest and for our photographer and videographer to have plenty of space to capture ours and your moments, this will be an unplugged ceremony. We kindly ask that you resist the urge to take photos during the ceremony and specific times during the reception. The wedding will be heavily photographed and we promise to share all of our pictures with you.

If you are looking for inspiration for what to say, check out the ubiquitous Pinterest, as well as these signs for sale on Etsy. The Huffington Post recently ran a photo essay of these signs, and one of the cutest options is to have little ‘cell phone girls’ walk down the aisle with a reminder to guests.

As a photographer, I have been witness to some horrible cell phone abuse at weddings, including guests who are pouring into the aisles during the ceremony, trying to take that perfect shot. These same guests are, of course, in the way of my perfect shot, and thus ruining the couple’s wedding photos. And while it seems normal to include a meta shot of the couple in the crosshairs of someone’s cell phone camera, enough is enough and I can’t be more in favor of the unplugged wedding.

 

Details of an Unplugged West Palm Beach Wedding

Bride and groom walking down staircase at Harriet Himmel Theater surrounded by guests with sparklersSo let me get off my soapbox long enough to tell you some details of Rachelle and Brice’s wedding. The ceremony (and reception) was held at the Harriet Himmel Theatre in West Palm Beach. The couple – whose engagement shoot you can see here – met a few years ago through mutual friends in the magical social media realm of MySpace:

After talking on MySpace (yes, MySpace) for a week or so a group of us all met up at Dr. Feelgoods, a club on Clematis Street.  (Ironically, we were ALL underage, so not sure how we managed this.) I had just moved to Jupiter and didn’t know anyone, but Brice and I have several friends in common so I figured that this was a good place to start. He bought me and my friend Jessie drinks all night long, so I wanted to do something nice, and I offered to buy a round of Patron tequila shots.  Note that I am used to paying about $3, tops, per shot, but big city equals big difference in drink prices. Brice tried to argue, but I insisted. After paying a month’s salary for ten shots, the rest is pretty much history. We went on our first date less than a week later. He took me to Saito’s restaurant and I drove because his truck was in the shop. After dinner, when we were walking to my car and he held out his hand. I was thinking, ‘Oh, this is going well.  He wants to hold my hand.’  When I reached out to grab his hand, he just looked at me puzzled and said, ‘I just want your keys, you are NOT driving again.  Sorry, but you are a terrible driver.’ God, he was romantic. Things got better though, and Brice actually does have a romantic side to him, thankfully, and eight years later, here we are.

That romantic nature of Brice definitely came to the surface when he asked Rachelle to marry him after a romantic dinner at one of their favorite restaurants:

We both get home from work on a Monday night (December 10th, 2011), and Brice asked if I wanted to grab dinner.  I suggested take out so I didn’t have to put on real clothes. Brice instead insisted he was craving steak and didn’t feel like cooking, so let’s go to Jetty’s (a restaurant on the Jupiter Inlet overlooking the Jupiter Lighthouse). This is actually not out of the normal for him, so I didn’t think twice about it.  While at dinner everything was going pretty normal: we ordered some wine, ate our steak, and then Brice ordered a bottle of champagne, which was a red flag. Then he said he had to use the men’s room, and when he came back he was next to me on his knee and asked me to marry him. I obviously said yes. While at the time I was dreading having to get ready for dinner on a Monday night, I always loved how he made a typical Monday night so special.

The wedding was lovely.  Rachelle and Brice did not see each other before walking down the aisle, and the ceremony included a knot-tying ritual as a nod to their mutual love of boating. After all, this was a wedding in Florida!  Enjoy the photos below, and make sure you check out by second blog post with images from the reception: How DJ Lighting Affects Your Wedding Photos.

Vendors

Ceremony venue: Harriet Himmel Theatre in West Palm Beach, Florida

Officiant: Nick Miller, friend of the bride and groom

Wedding dress: Blush by Hayley Paige, ‘River’ gown, purchased at the White Magnolia Bridal Collection

Bride’s shoes: bow ankle strap leather pump in navy by Saks Fifth Avenue and found at Saks Off Fifth

Accessories: Hayley Paige ‘Aurora’ Bolero, purchased at the White Magnolia Bridal Collection

Bride’s hair stylist: Lindsay Erneston, StyLinz Hair Boutique

Bride’s makeup: K.D. Parrish

If you would like to see more images from my wedding photojournalism portfolio, then please visit my website – KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com

Exterior of Harriet Himmel Theater with a Christmas tree for an article on how to have an unplugged wedding Wedding invitations for an article on how to have an unplugged weddingWhite rose boutonniere with engagement ring for an article on how to have an unplugged wedding Groomsmen adjusting groom's bow tie for an article on how to have an unplugged wedding Portrait of groom wearing green tie for an article on how to have an unplugged wedding Light brown dog with engagement ring on its now nose for an article on how to have an unplugged wedding Black and white photo of wedding dress hanging in a window for an article on how to have an unplugged wedding

Father of the bride steaming the bride's wedding dress in a window
Put the father of the bride to work!

Bride getting makeup done with wedding dress in the background Bridesmaid opening a bottle of champagne on bed surrounded by bride and other bridesmaids Bride turned around with father about to approach and see her dress Father seeing bride in wedding dress for the first time for an article on how to have an unplugged weddingBridesmaid holding bouquets surrounded by bridesmaid and bride Groom waiting for bride in ceremony for an article on how to have an unplugged wedding Bride escorted by both parents at a West Palm Beach wedding Speaker during ceremony at a West Palm Beach wedding Bride looking at groom during ceremony at a West Palm Beach weddingFamily watching ceremony at a West Palm Beach wedding Wide shot of Harriet Himmel Theater wedding ceremony Bride and groom tying knot during ceremony at a West Palm Beach wedding Black and white photo of groom kissing bride at a West Palm Beach wedding Bride and groom leaving from ceremony with hands held high at a West Palm Beach weddingBride and groom kissing with bridal party cheering at a West Palm Beach wedding Portrait of bride with veil and mermaid-style dress View of wedding cake through table setting Table setting with Patron tequila bottle vase Table setting with Capone tequila shot glassBride and groom entering reception at a West Palm Beach wedding Best man making toast at a West Palm Beach wedding Maid of honor making toast at a West Palm Beach wedding Guest escort card at a West Palm Beach wedding Round 'Please don't take my drink' sign with guest table informationBlack and white photo of bride and groom dancing head to head at a West Palm Beach wedding Close up on small desserts at a West Palm Beach wedding Bride and groom walking down staircase at Harriet Himmel Theater surrounded by guests with sparklers Bride and groom kissing through carriage with 'Happy Holidays' sign

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