What is an Unplugged Wedding?

An unplugged wedding is when the wedding couple requests that their guests put away cell phones, cameras and any other devices for the ceremony or the entirety of the wedding day.

Are you going to try and convince us to have one?

I would never and I’m shocked that you’d assume so (why yes, yes I am). At the least, you should give heavy consideration to compromising and having an unplugged ceremony but opt for a plugged-in reception. It’s the best of both worlds, really.

You’re paying your photographer a lot of money to preserve the day, and that photographer has gear and years of experience behind the lens. Those phones will only create a barrier between the photographer and the authentic emotion displayed from your guests. Instead of capturing a genuine reaction from your loved ones, the photographer is forced to capture the back of their new iPhone and half their face lit up white.

Your guests will pay more attention to their phone than the actual moment that’s happening. Obviously this is dramatic and I would just shoot a different subject, but what if all the guests are staring into their phone screens? Is that how you want them to remember your special day, or worse – is that what you want to see when you revisit your professional pictures?

As for ‘guest photographers‘, Aunt Karen may take great pics of her garden with that new DSLR – but that won’t exactly translate to great wedding pictures. Her flash could get in the way and ruin your photographer’s shot, or she might even feel brave enough to squat in the middle of the isle when the photographer is trying to get that once in a lifetime moment. Unfortunately, I speak from a place of sadness and experience on that last one.  Photographers are very restricted in the wedding space when it comes to movement (especially in churches) and electronic devices further limit the creative reign you’ve entrusted them with.

chicago unplugged wedding

Is it the end of the world if we keep it plugged-in?

This will always be dependent upon the photographer and their skill level, but people have been successfully running plugged-in weddings for years now. While I have never had a couple regret their decision for an unplugged wedding, I respect the wishes of my clients and will operate smoothly regardless of scenario.

How do we inform our guests?

An early way to let guests know about an unplugged wedding would be the invite. Add a line to the invite or website saying ‘This is an unplugged wedding. Please no photos during the ceremony.‘ Having signs upon the ceremony entrance is a friendly way to remind guests to keep their devices away as well. If you have an order of service, add a line to the front to again remind your guests. If you decide to have an unplugged reception as well, the guest speaker can make a brief announcement asking all guests to put away their phones and cameras.