unplugged wedding
Editorial Category: 
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Unplugged Weddings: The Pros and Cons

What is an unplugged wedding?

As wedding planners, we talk about unplugged weddings as a way for guests to put away their electronic devices during the ceremony, reception, or both.

There are many variations on this. Many couples opt to having an unplugged ceremony only, when guests are encouraged to put their phones and cameras away until after the marriage license has been signed. A strict “no photo policy” for the entire wedding celebration, to a complete “social media blackout” until the following day or when the couple have a chance to announce their marriage themselves are also popular options.



Why do you need an unplugged wedding?


Over the last decade, advancements in technology like the development and affordability of DSLR cameras, the quality of built-in cameras in cell phones, and the immediate need to share photos on social media have changed everything. These changes have meant that most people now have the ability to take photos or vide and share them for the world to see in a matter of seconds. For the Bride and Groom, the effect can be more profound and longer lasting.


Benefits of an unplugged wedding:


1. Better pictures

While the technology of taking photos has advanced, the photography skills of most people haven’t. A professional and experienced wedding photographer will make the best of any lighting situation so that you can avoid the unflattering, inappropriate, grainy or dark photos that some guests think are okay to post on social media.



2. Guests are More Present

Guests will be part of the entire wedding that you and your fiancé have spent months planning, without the distraction of their phone and/or camera. They will be more likely to listen to and remember your ceremony better, engage with other guests, and react to your memorable moments rather than experience it through a small screen or lens.



3. Many Photographers insist on Unplugged Weddings in their contracts


Guests having cell phones present during a wedding, not only causes annoyance for you, but it frustrates photographers as well. There are many instances where a photographer has to battle your guests in order to capture the perfect shot of the couple. That is one of the many reasons why many photographers have put in their contract that guests cannot have their phones present during the ceremony. The extra benefit of not having a camera in everyone’s hands means that your photographer won’t need to fight for prime position with your guests, be blocked going down the aisle, or having blinding flashes over the photos they do take.



4. Every guest’s privacy is respected

While some people love posting everything that happens in their life, others do not. When a guest takes a group photo at a wedding, they are presuming that everyone in the shot is okay with it being posted on social media, which may not always be the case.

In addition to your wedding guests’ rights being considered, a couple also needs to think about the people that weren’t invited. A couple often has the difficult task of deciding who will be present at their special day and who will not. Sharing photos and video with those who have not been invited can sometimes lead to uncomfortable social situations and confrontations.



Is there a downside to having an unplugged wedding?

The downside of having an unplugged wedding is that you might not be happy with how few photos are posted. Another disadvantage is that sometimes couples have to deal with how their family and friends are going to be able to view, save, or print the photos.


Here are a few ways to make the unplugged experience a little better for everyone involved:


Have a sharing plan in place and let your guests know about it

Talk with your photographer about sharing a sneak peak of a couple of pictures a few days after the wedding on social media so that guests can have a preview.


Give your guests some photos to take home

Bringing in a photo booth for the reception or having an instant camera and props available for your guests is a great way for them to be able to capture the moment and take some memories home with them. The best part is that photo booths can double as wedding favors.


Limit the ‘unplugged part’ of your wedding

Your whole wedding doesn't have to be unplugged. Many couples opt to limit the unplugged wedding for just the ceremony.


No matter what you decide, make sure that you and the photographer are on the same page when it comes to guests and social media. 


Happy Planning!

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