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Why Should You Have an Unplugged Wedding?

Are you planning your wedding, a unique moment in your lifetime? If so, you are probably hiring a professional photographer to immortalize your special day.

However, with digital cameras and smartphones now ubiquitous, many of your guests may also consider themselves photographers. They will all be snapping hundreds of pictures instead of enjoying the event you have painstakingly put together.

Which is when you may start considering the possibility of having an unplugged wedding. Your guests will be asked to leave their cameras home. Instead, your photographer will be asked to take spontaneous—yet professional—photos of them.

But should you have an unplugged wedding? And how do you ask guests not to take pictures at a wedding?

What is an unplugged wedding?

As much as you love and respect your guests, you don’t want them to take more pictures than your photographer, or worse, ruin her shots. You also don’t want your wedding pictures to be on Instagram before you post them.

Hence the need for an unplugged wedding—a cool idea that is becoming increasingly trendy nowadays. A couple getting married will ask their wedding guests not to take photos and upload them to social media. Instead, they are simply to enjoy the moment and witness the event through their eyes and not through the screen of their camera or smartphone.

No matter how irresistible wedding hashtags may be and how instagrammable your wedding will be, the goal is to create a more intimate, genuine experience.

Why should you have an unplugged wedding

So, what are the advantages of having an unplugged wedding?

First, when it comes to taking photos at a wedding, there is an unspoken rule. Guests should cede capturing the important moments of the ceremony to the hired professional. Unfortunately, not everyone does that.

Guests will have the same attitude during the reception. The photographer should be the only person directing the couple in order to obtain the best result. However, guests will often get in your photographer’s way and will make her job harder. Even worse, they may ruin many of her pictures by antagonizing her for the best angles.

In wedding photography, details matter

You’re paying a photographer for her time, so you want great photos. But how can your photographer do that with people getting in her way and raising tablets and phones to capture each moment?

During a wedding, timing is everything. It’s the small things that make the difference in wedding photography. The photographer should not miss a single moment of the event. But what if one (or more) of your guests jump right in front of the photographer as you get out of the car, or when you’re having your first kiss or your first dance?

Do you really want to risk the photographer missing the most important moments of your wedding day because a guest is holding a tablet or a phone in front of her camera?

Sharing your wedding photos on social media

People love posting everything that happens in their lives online. When they take a photo, they assume that everyone in the shot is okay with that. But is that always the case?

In addition to your wedding guests’ wishes being considered, a couple also needs to think about the people they didn’t invite.  Sharing photos and videos online with those who have not been invited (even inadvertently) can sometimes lead to uncomfortable situations.

And do you really want to risk having a cake or dancing mishap being the only thing people remember because someone posted it online with the viral hashtag #weddingdisaster?

Sharing the moment with your loved ones

Picture the scene: you’re in the middle of your wedding ceremony. Overcome with emotion, you glance toward your guests to share the beauty of the moment. You expect your glance to be met with loving smiles and tearful eyes. Instead, you see a sea of raised tablets and phones.

Is this what you want to remember from your wedding ceremony? And is this how your guests really want to experience the wedding?

Without the distraction of their phone or camera, your guests will enjoy to the fullest the event that you’ve spent months planning. They will be more likely to remember the ceremony, react to your vows, and cheer your first kiss and your first dance.

As a bonus, your family and friends will be much more open to interacting with other guests without the constant distraction of checking their phones.

How do you announce a wedding with no phone?

If you have decided to hold an unplugged ceremony, how can you tell your guests? Will they take it wrong? 

First, make sure that your guests are informed that you are having an unplugged wedding ceremony.

Don’t put it on the invitation because it may not look good. Instead, put it on your wedding website or on a separate card

Your unplugged wedding wording can include something simple like:


“We invite you to be truly present at our ceremony, and respectfully request that all cameras and phones be turned off. We look forward to sharing our professional photos with you after the big day.”


An alternative unplugged wedding ceremony script may include something like this:


“Please, turn off your mobile phones and put down your cameras. While the photographer captures how this moment looks with her camera, I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts.”

This is your first opportunity to make it clear what your expectations are. On your wedding day you can also write it on a chalkboard where guests can see as they arrive. You can also ask the minister to remind it at the beginning of the ceremony.

As long as you’re polite about it, your guests will respect and honor your decision.

An unplugged ceremony and a plugged-in reception

If you feel uncomfortable about having an entirely unplugged wedding from start to finish, you may prefer to have an unplugged ceremony and a plugged-in reception.

Alternatively, you can tell your guests to bring out their devices once the party gets going and after the professional photographer has done his job.

Another idea is to create a few specific photo opportunities when guests are encouraged to take pictures. For example, invite your guests to take their own photos after the signing of the register. At the reception, you could create a photo moment after you cut the cake or after the first dance.

Finally, your guests may love having a photo booth and props available at the table for them. Ask them to take photos with them during the reception, when the photographer has finished doing her job.

How do you share photos with wedding guests?

Impatience is one of the reasons why people take photographs. They don’t want to have to wait before they can re-experience the event. Even worse, they don’t know if you will share the photos with them.

To address these concerns, talk with your photographer about sharing a sneak peek of a few photos a couple of days after the wedding on social media until she has a chance to properly edit them.

Also, be sure to discuss the timeline. When will your photographer have your photos ready? Arrange to have a file-sharing process for your guests, so that they can download their own photos.

Notify your guests well in advance of this process, so they don’t get impatient. Reassure them that they will have their photos taken. Encourage them to think of this as a great opportunity to have their photo taken by a professional instead of a friend: after all, this will ensure they look their best!

Take a break from the plugged-in world

An unplugged wedding is a great opportunity for your guests to take a break from the plugged-in world and to truly live in the moment and enjoy your wedding.

While some guests may first feel a bit uncomfortable if they can’t use their phones during the ceremony, they’ll probably end up loving it.

Who knows, maybe they will even choose to have an unplugged wedding themselves!

Are you considering having an unplugged wedding? Contact BLVD Wedding Photography and take the wedding photographs you want to have!