Pros and cons of an unplugged wedding

From #hashtags to camera phones, here's what our pro at the wedding collective knows about disconnecting, and being fully present, during weddings.


Article written by local photographer, Josh O.

There is no doubt that social media is an incredible tool. We're constantly connected with our favorite friends and brands. In your case, you may have even found some of your incredible wedding vendors through the wonders of social media. There's certainly a time for browsing through trending tags and posts, your wedding however, may not be the place.

Consider how you & your photographer feel

If you are unsure about having an unplugged wedding, ask your photographer for some input. Depending on your wedding photographers style of shooting, they may or may not mind if guests have their phones out while documenting your ceremony. The biggest concern, and this does happen, is that a guest might overstep their bounds with their camera. This can result in the photographers shot being blocked, or ruined by something like an ill-timed camera flash from a guests phone. Your decision might also depend on whether or not you are bothered by your guests being on their phones during your ceremony. While they might be connected in one way, their disconnecting themselves from the present moment, i.e. your wedding.

What about your quirky #Hashtags?

While you may have a #hashtag for your wedding day, resist putting it on your invite or ceremony program. This will help prevent any guests or family from sharing photos of things like the bride's dress, or those incredible details that are going to WOW your guests. People are likely still going to be taking photos with their phones, as everyone loves documenting life, but those who hadn't thought of it won't be encouraged by seeing a hashtag. 

You can take this a step further by putting a decorated sign at the front of your ceremony stating your having an unplugged ceremony. If you need help with wording, try one of these phrases: 

-       "Welcome to our Unplugged Ceremony, We invite you to be fully present with us during our Ceremony. Please turn off all cell phones and cameras until after the ceremony. Thank You!"

-       "There's a photographer here with a BIG IMPRESSIVE CAMERA. We invited them here to capture our Special Day. So, we ask that you please keep yours tucked safely away. With love, the bride & groom. 

-       "Please, the bride & groom request the joyful sight of your smiles, without the distraction of any electronic devices or cameras.

Get snapping! Time for selfies. 

The reception is one of the most enjoyable parts of your wedding day. Celebrate it! This is the perfect time to greet your guest, snap selfies, or let the guests photograph your amazing reception site in all its glory. Another time I love to see guests taking photos is during the first dance. As a photographer myself, having guests around the dance floor makes the first dance photos look even more awesome. I sometimes even catch a video light or camera flash as a backlight and it adds some extra sparkle to the images.

Pros of Connected Wedding Ceremonies. 

While it may be obvious at this point that I would really encourage you to do an unplugged ceremony, there are some advantages to having those phones out during the vows. Having a hashtag earlier on means more guests may use it, resulting in more pictures being uploaded with the tag. Also, letting guests have their phones and cameras out during the ceremony means you may be able to relieve the day from more then the angles your photographer covers. This is however, dependent on if aunt Becky ever sends you those pictures she took with her Kodak. 

Final Tip: Trust the Pro

You hired a photographer, and a good one at that, for a reason. Don't force them to compete with your guests cameras. The snapshots are an awesome way to quickly relieve some aspects of your wedding day, but the immersive and intimate images you get back from your photographer will last a lifetime, and beyond.

To browse local wedding pros, like Josh, from over ten services, click here.