Unplugged Weddings. The Lowdown.

Unplugged Wedding Planning Ideas Help Advice http://www.taylorparkerphotography.com/

Image Taylor Parker Photography via Bohemian & Whimsical Garden Wedding in North Carolina


What is an unplugged wedding?


We all love seeing the myriad of pictures from weddings on social media, allowing us to relive a really special day or feel like we were there if we couldn’t attend, but as more and more and people are snapping away on smart phones and tablets, some couples are asking their loved ones to put away the devices and enjoy the moment rather than concentrating on getting the perfect image.


Why have an unplugged wedding?


If you’re a likely to be a bit overwhelmed during the ceremony, looking out to a see of guests snapping away might feel like a bit too much. Even if you’re not, surely seeing the faces of your loved ones is better than lots of screens! So many of the wonderful couples who share the story of their wedding day on WWW say that you really don’t believe how fast the day goes by. The “I dos” are surely a moment to savour, and feeling like your guests are all with you can only be a good thing right? Most people just have an unplugged ceremony but of course you could ask your guests to refrain from taking photos all day if you wish.

How do we make an unplugged ceremony happen?


There are a number of great ways to let your guests know that you want them to put their cameras away and be truly present.

Some couples ask whoever is leading their ceremony, whether his is a registrar, vicar or celebrant to make an announcement at the beginning of proceedings asking people to put away their devices and enjoy the moment. They might like to say something along the lines of;


“X and X would love you to be completely present during the ceremony and have therefore asked that you leave the photography to the professionals and put away all cameras and mobiles.”



“The ceremony is going to begin shortly. X and X would much rather see your joyful faces than a sea of screens and therefore ask that you wait until after the ceremony to take pictures.”


Unplugged Wedding Planning Ideas Help Advice http://margheritacalatiphotography.com/

Image Margherita Calati Photography via Botanical Copper & Greenery Lake Como Wedding


Alternatively, you might like to put your wishes in print, either with the order of service or on a sign. This lovely message on guests’ seats is clear but friendly.


Unplugged Wedding Planning Ideas Help Advice http://epiclovestory.co.uk/

Image Epic Love Story via Fresh Relaxed & Romantic Pink & Green Pub Wedding


“Welcome!! Family & friends to our unplugged ceremony! We invite you to be truly present with us at this special time. Please turn off your mobile phones and put away your cameras during the ceremony. We have hired an amazing photographer who we trust to capture how the moment looks – we want you to capture how it feels with your hearts – without the distraction of technology – Thank you!”


Unplugged Wedding Planning Ideas Help Advice http://esmemai.com/

Image Esme Mai via Bohemian Festival Tipi Wedding


“As we tie the knot, please be our guest, the photographer here will handle the rest, these moments go fast, as I’m sure you well know, so put your phones & cameras down, as we’ve hired a pro!”


Maybe you’re happy for guests to take photos but you want to be the first to share the pics of your happiest day on social media, in which case you could also let everyone know with a sign.


Unplugged Wedding Planning Ideas Help Advice http://aniaames.co.uk/

Image Ania Ames via Simple Rustic & Cosy Winter Wedding


“A polite request. Please refrain from posting of our special day on social media until we have. Thank you!”


Of course, unfortunately, it is possible that some of your guests may not be totally on board with not being able to take their own snaps of your nuptials, but there are ways of making everyone feel a bit more comfortable with your decision.

Do make sure you speak to your photographer in advance about making their images available to your guests after the big day (it’s worth checking your contract for details first depending on the package you’ve booked), if you let your nearest and dearest know that they will have access to your professional shots, they will feel better about not being able to capture the ceremony themselves.

You also might like to think about setting up a posed shot at the end of the ceremony and allowing photos only at this point, lots of couples do this just after the signing of the register.

If you’re having an unplugged ceremony only, it might also be worth reminding guests that they have the rest of the day to take pictures and in fact, you might want to positively encourage amateur photographers who can capture bits of the reception, especially if your photographer isn’t going to be there into the early hours. What wedding would be the same without those blurry dance floor shots after all!

Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget that it’s your day and most people will be happy to follow your wishes. The other advantage of being the happy couple is that you can break your own rules and take a ceremony selfie if that’s what you want!


Unplugged Wedding Planning Ideas Help Advice https://karibellamy.com/

Image Kari Bellamy via English Rose Great British Countryside Floral Filled Wedding


Getting Social


For some couples, however, it’s the more the merrier when it comes to photos. Some people simply want to see every moment happening in every corner of their wedding and there a few different great ways to see all of the images created by your guests. Gone are the days when you would need to ask them to get an extra set of prints done at the chemist!

There is a wealth of photo sharing apps that you can download and get your guests to add images to on or after the day, some do cost a bit of money though. If you want a simple and free option, Instagram is great way to collect pictures together. All you need to do is come up with an appropriate hashtag like #smithwedding or #alexandjesstietheknot, ask your guests to use the hashtag when they post their pictures to Instagram and they will all be collected together in one place. You might even want to create a sign which lets everyone know which hashtag to use.


Unplugged Wedding Planning Ideas Help Advice http://katherineashdown.co.uk/

Image Katherine Ashdown via Pretty Meets Relaxed Countryside Wedding


If you want people to take pictures all in one place, a photo booth could be the way forward for you. Whether you hire in the professionals like one of our fabulous sponsors or just set up an area yourself, you can really run wild with creating a fun set up for you and your guests. You might like to choose a backdrop and props,  which are relevant to you as a couple, or deck the corner out with a theme.


Unplugged Wedding Planning Ideas Help Advice http://eleanorjaneweddings.co.uk/

Image Eleanor Jane Weddings via Chilled Country Boho White & Green Wedding

Unplugged Wedding Planning Ideas Help Advice http://happilyevercaptured.com/

Image Happily Ever Captured via Pretty Quirky & Pastel Wedding

Unplugged Wedding Planning Ideas Help Advice http://katherineashdown.co.uk/

Image Katherine Ashdown via Pretty Meets Relaxed Countryside Wedding


Are you planning an unplugged ceremony? Have you already successfully pulled one off? How did you let your family and friends know? Or are you hoping that your loved ones will take loads of pictures? I’d love to hear all about it. Rachel x


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  • Fab wedding, love the photo booth idea!

  • Awesome idea of Unplugged Weddings, We can add some more ideas to photo booth. We can request our guest to keep there phones & camera aside in different different ways.

  • Great read !

    I have written a blog on this subject from a documentary photographers perspective here https://www.emisweddings.com/wedding-photographer-blog/unplugged-wedding-review

    I think it all depends on the couple but I would never (as a photographer) encourage an unplugged wedding. In the blog I show some examples of how an you can get great photos that would not be possible to achieve if you went for an unplugged wedding.

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