5 reasons why you need to have an unplugged wedding (and how to do it without annoying your guests)

Anne JohnstonWedding tips and inspirationLeave a Comment

Guest photographing Bride and Groom with a mobile phone


With modern technology almost everyone has a camera in their pocket and the ability to take fairly decent quality shots and share them online in an instant. But do you want to feel like you’re being papped at your own wedding with a sea of mobile phones as you walk down the aisle or is it possible to get the photos you really want that makes your guests feel included too? It’s not for me to tell you what to do at your wedding but over the years as a wedding photographer in Angus, Dundee and Perth I’ve seen it all and I think there is a way to strike a happy balance. Let’s talk unplugged weddings.


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What is an unplugged wedding?

An unplugged wedding is where you ask your guests to turn off their mobiles, iPads, cameras and any other techy gadgets they might have with them so they can relax and enjoy their time with you, leaving the professional wedding photographer free to do her job. This could be for the whole day or the wedding ceremony and you might want to ask your guests not to share any photos on social media. Whether or not you want to have an unplugged wedding and how strict you want to be is completely up to you.

What are the benefits of having an unplugged wedding?

1. Your guests can be in the moment with you

When you’re walking down the aisle arm in arm with your Dad, what would you rather see? All your loved ones beaming from ear to ear and shedding a few tears or all their faces blocked by a sea of mobile phones and iPads? My guess is you want your guests to be free to be in that moment with you.

2. You’ll get the best photos (and your photographer will love you)

Your wedding is not a trial-run, it’s the real deal and your photographer only gets one shot to capture your day. Professional photographers know their gear inside out and set their cameras up to deal best with the lighting that’s available. But if you’re walking down the aisle and a guest suddenly decides to use the flash on their mobile then that’s extra light that we weren’t expecting that could ruin that beautiful once-in-a-lifetime moment. That could mean that you can’t see the stunning lace detail on your dress because the extra light blows out the details.

Let’s not also forget that guests, meaning well and in their quest to get their perfect photo of you, could step out into the aisle and worse than block your photographer’s view, could block your husband to-be’s first look at you. Who takes priority here?

3. There will be less noisy distractions

Do you want to be in the middle of trying to say your vows but all you can hear is the click click clicking of your guests’ mobile phones or how about, even worse, a mobile going off in the middle of your ceremony? You might see the funny side of it but it will make for a few red faces in the room.

I always put my cameras on a silent shooting mode to minimise the noise my cameras make when I’m taking photos.

4. Your evening guests will thank you for it

You might be having some guests joining you for the evening only. They’ll be excited to see you looking absolutely amazing in all your finery and to get to see you in the flesh for the first time with your husband. Eeek! But if someone has already shared photos of you on Facebook, it’s just not the same.

5. An unplugged wedding protects privacy all round

I’m not talking about high-end glossy mags with exclusivity contracts here. I’m talking about you and who you choose to have at your wedding and who you don’t.

I take the privacy of my clients very seriously. Some of my clients love to have their photos shared on social media while some prefer to keep their weddings private and others may be happy for the photos of adults to be shared but not of children. As a photographer I have a responsibility to protect my clients’ privacy and I don’t ever assume that it’s ok to share photos. My clients are always the first people to see their wedding photos too. No sneak peaks on Facebook before they’ve seen them first. Got it? Right!

The point is I have these conversations because it’s important to my couples and there may be all manner of reasons why some people are invited to your wedding and others aren’t. Could you be sure that your guests will know which photos it’s ok to share and which ones are to be kept for your eyes only?

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How to tell guests that you’re having an unplugged wedding

Once you’ve decided that an unplugged wedding is the way to go and how you’re going to do it you have to think about how you’re going to tell everyone. Here are a few options.

You could include a wee note with your wedding invitations to ask people to respect your wishes.

Or you could ask your celebrant to announce it to your guests before you walk down the aisle.

Or what about using a chalk board or a pretty sign?

Check out my Pinterest board for lots of ideas

My thoughts on how to have an unplugged wedding without annoying your guests

As I said before it’s completely up to you whether or not you have an unplugged wedding. I totally appreciate that guests love to take photos too.

If it was up to me I’d say make your wedding ceremony unplugged, let your guests take photos once the ceremony is over so they have their own photos too and ask your guests not to post any photos on social media until the following day. I know I wouldn’t want my guests posting photos on Facebook, staring at their phones and doing Instagram stories all night. You want them up on the dance floor all night long. Let them take a few snaps once you’re married and enjoy their time with you.

Speak to your photographer to make sure there is a way for your wedding guests to be able to see your wedding photos online. I use password protected client galleries and email the link out to my couples once the photos have been added. Then you can pass the link and password to your photos onto your friends and family when it suits you. And because there’s a password on your gallery you’ve got control over who sees your photos.

This way you get your day captured naturally the way you’ve always wanted it and your guests get to relax and enjoy your day with you too.


Are you thinking about having an unplugged wedding? Jump into the comments and let me know. I’d love to hear from you and always reply.

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