Unplugged Weddings: Yes or No?

With the many platforms of social media and trends such as wedding hashtags, it is easy for guests to be on their phones throughout your entire wedding. While some couples encourage this, and want their guests to have fun snapping photos of you and your partner, others are now partaking in unplugged weddings. What is an unplugged wedding you might ask? An unplugged wedding is when the couple asks their guests to refrain from using their phones, cameras or other personal electronic devices during the ceremony and sometimes even during the reception. There are strong arguments for both sides. While it can be special to see your wedding day from your guest’s perspective, there is also something to be said about unplugging and being more invested in the moment. Furthermore, wedding photographers have noted that ‘guest photographers’ can get in the way, use a flash at unideal times and therefore compromise professional pictures.

There are many variations of an unplugged wedding so if you are considering this idea it’s important to pick one that is right for you and communicate this to your guests. Some couples prefer an unplugged ceremony but allow guests to have their phones after for the reception. This allows the guests to focus on the couple during their vows and lets the professional photographer to get the big shots such as the first kiss, but then allows them to let loose on social media and document their experience at the reception. A “social media blackout” wedding is when the couple has a strict no phones or photos until the bride or groom have a chance to announce the marriage themselves. Some couples prefer to announce their wedding over Facebook or other social media with a professional photo of them as a couple and if guests have already been posting it can take away from their moment.

If you decide that a social media free wedding is the way you want to go, it’s important that you communicate this to your guests in a way so they understand it. People love to take photos, so some might be upset that this opportunity is being taken away from them. First of all, explain why you are choosing to have a social media free wedding. Is it because you want your guests to interact more? Or is it because you have a beautiful ceremony you’ve spent months planning and you want them to be present for it? Or even if it is because you want your wedding to be private and not blasted all over everyone’s social media. Even if guests comment or complain at the time, phone free time is good for all and guests will definitely remember more details from your wedding since they will be distraction free. If you are a planner and very organized, slip a card into their invitations telling them it is an unplugged ceremony so people can prepare ahead of time and leave their phones at home. If invitations have already been sent out, no stress, just make sure you have a sign (or multiple signs) explaining to your guests about your decision to be phone free.

One last tip if you decide to have a blackout wedding, consider having something such as a photo booth or Polaroid cameras on the tables. This way guests can still leave with a photo souvenir of the wedding without the interruption of phones. Unplugged weddings are a beautiful way to bring people together, without distraction, to celebrate you and your partner.