An unplugged wedding encourages your guests to capture the joy and emotion of the day without the distraction of technology. Find out if an unplugged wedding is the right option for you - and how to ask your guests to go tech-free.
What exactly is an unplugged wedding?
An unplugged wedding results when couples ask their snap-happy families and guests to turn off their phones, iPads, cameras and other digital gadgets so they can be fully engaged when witnessing the bride and groom exchange vows on this very special day.
Couples would rather people simply watch, smile, shed a tear, listen and remember, not from the photos they download to their computers, but from their own memories.
The tech-savvy couple
While some couples are asking their guests to switch off for the day, others encourage their friends and family to snap as many photos as possible. There are strong arguments on both sides. A fully plugged-in, hyper-documented wedding makes perfect sense for couples who won't feel complete unless they have digitally documented every second of the day. Couples who are on a tight budget may want to ‘crowd-source’ photos and are happy for guests to take as many pictures as possible, and thereby can dispense with a professional photographer altogether.
Be nice, turn off your device
For the couples who prefer to keep their wedding low-key, instead of banning cameras and iPhones all together, they might request that they simply refrain from taking pictures during the ceremony. Remember, if you have 150 guests there could be 150 iPhones snapping away! Another reason for couples wanting an unplugged wedding is the unauthorised images that may circulate on social media sites thereby spoiling the big reveal for the groom and guests. Also, what bride wants unflattering images posted on Facebook or Instagram of the bridal party getting ready, or inappropriate images of tipsy relatives behaving badly?
If you have gone to the expense of hiring a professional wedding photographer it is quite possible they will miss key shots because of photo-bombing guests getting in the way and compromising the professional pictures. This is another reason for an unplugged wedding.
Asking guests to keep mobile phones and social media usage to a minimum is not an unreasonable request especially at the ceremony and big reception moments, like cutting the cake and the bride and groom's first dance.
Here are some ways to get your message across:
- Warn guests in advance: Send a note requesting “no photos please” together with the invitation.
- Put a note in the wedding program: "We ask you to kindly turn off your phone during the wedding ceremony and refrain from taking photos. We have a professional photographer on hand to capture all the special moments”.
- Ask the celebrant to make an announcement: "The bride and groom have asked that you put your phone and camera away. Sit back and enjoy the ceremony!"
- Put a sign on the reception tables: "We encourage you to share your selfies with #dotanddavewedding but please refrain from posting photos of the bride and groom on social media."
In the end, this is your day and the decision is up to you. To ban all photographs is unrealistic but it is reasonable to ask guests not to post them until after the ceremony. However, if you and your partner are looking for more face-to-face connection with your guests, an unplugged wedding could be good for you.