Unplugged Weddings...What You Need To Know


Amongst all the wedding terminology and jargon from tablescape to MOH and STDs, one phrase that has come to the fore as of late is “Unplugged.”  What exactly is an unplugged wedding?

Much like going unplugged from technology and social media while on vacation or at a conference or important meeting, an unplugged wedding follows similar rules.  Couples that elect for an “unplugged wedding” request their guests refrain from taking photos and/or uploading images to social media during the wedding.  Others may even request that guests abstain from the use of cell phones altogether.  This prohibition can be enacted during the ceremony, reception or the entire duration of the big day. 

That's right.  That means no Snap filters or unique Insta-hashtags—save  #HappilyEverAfter #ParkerPartyof2 or #KeepingUpWithTheJones for someone else.

In today’s social media crazy and technology addicted world just about anyone can post or live stream your wedding or any other event at the touch of a screen.  For those that can't wait to share their special day and claim their 15 minutes of bridal fame, this is a plus.  However, there are definitive downsides to your guests snapping away during every syllable of your vows.



A wedding is a special day and not because of the color scheme or the flowers or the dress.  The couple at the alter vow to spend the rest of their lives forever together before family, friends and whatever higher power they recognize.

FOREVER—basically the definition of a big deal. 

Guests should feel honored to witness such a moment—struck in awe and amazement  rather than concerning themselves with which filter to use on their Boomerang (please, PLEASE don't use "New York"). 

Everyone in attendance should feel compelled to be present not just physically but mentally, respecting the sanctity of the moment.  Without the distraction of their phone and/or camera, guests will be free to not only actively engage but immerse themselves in the experience that required spent months planning with them in mind.



Couples pay upwards of thousands of dollars for a professional to capture the special moments of their wedding day.  At times guests acting as amateur paparazzi may inadvertently find themselves obstructing the view or path of the hired photographer (or videographer).  It would be a shame if the photographer tripped over Aunt Susan because she stepped out into the aisle just as the couple leaned in for theIR first kiss. 

Another factor to consider is that the flash from others' cell phones can carelessly affect the lighting of your professional shots causing over-exposure.  And of course, a couple would likely rather see photos of their guests on either side of the aisle with their smiles lit up rather than their cell phones.



Most tag-happy social media users rarely remember to ask permission to post and publicize images of others before they click “Send”.  While some people are more than happy to post their every movement online, others avoid it at all costs.  Guests who would prefer to maintain their privacy may find themselves uncomfortable attempting to duck and dodge flashing cell phone cameras all night.


So what is a couple to do?

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to an unplugged wedding.  It is up to each couple to decide what is right for them.  Some may choose an embargo on all non-professional photos until after the vows.  Others may censure the use of cameras during the entire ceremony but OK them for the reception.  Another option is to encourage guests to snap away at their hearts desire as long as they don't block the aisle, use flash or post anything to social media until the next day.  The options are limitless.

The important thing to remember is that weddings should be about couple and what they are comfortable with.  And, if the desire of the couple is for guests to actually put their phones down and talk to one another, converse and actively participate in the celebration; then who is going to argue with that?

Check back soon for an article on how to seamlessly implement an Unplugged Wedding.

Ryan Abron