Unplugged weddings: easy tips for 2023 from a wedding photographer

Omg, you’re engaged – yay! So, how’s your wedding planning going? Oh, your mate has asked if you’ve considered having an unplugged wedding, and you’re like, “haha yeah,” but really, you have no idea what they’re on about…

Good job you’ve found your way here, because I’m gonna help you out with that. I’ve been a wedding photographer for 14 years, and in that time I’ve seen weddings and the behaviour of guests change a lot – especially when it comes to taking their own pics.

We’re well into the roaring 2020s and we’re all kinda tech obsessed, with many of us feeling the need to capture and share moments constantly, with Insta stories, Tiktok and now BeReal demanding you to share more and more and right now.

But as a wedding photographer, I’m pleading with you to pop your phone down and consider an unplugged wedding.

 

What is an unplugged wedding?

First up, let me explain what an unplugged wedding actually is. It’s a gadget-free wedding, where your guests do not get their own cameras, phones and ipads (yes, sometimes people actually bring ipads to weddings) out to take photos. Instead, the only person capturing those special moments on film (or SD card) is your professional wedding photographer.

Most of the time, wedding couples only enforce this unplugged rule for the ceremony, leaving guests free to do as they like for the rest of their wedding day. You can ask guests to adhere to this throughout the reception too, but it’s a bit trickier to put into effect, and it’s also way less of an issue for your wedding photographer anyway.

 

 

6 reasons to consider planning an unplugged wedding for 2023

 

1. Your professional wedding photos will be heaps better

There are soooo many reasons to choose an unplugged wedding, but the main one for me is that it will make the photos that your wedding photographer takes so much better.

You’ve paid a photographer to be there to perfectly and professionally capture your most special day, so let them. Guests taking photos get in the way of the actual wedding photographers’ carefully thought out shots, not to mention flashes going off and ruining the lighting and camera settings.

Of course, your guests mean well when they take photos at your wedding – they’re excited and want everyone to share that joy with them – but having phones out in wedding photos just looks bad.

 

2. Your wedding guests will be more present

You’ve gathered your loved ones so that they can witness you getting married with their own eyes, experience the shared emotion and really be present. It’s not so they can take a photo and pop it straight on social media or text it to their mate from work.

Being present is so much easier without a phone; taking it all in instead of watching through a screen or thinking about social media; concentrating on you and your commitment to one another.

 

3. You can see your wedding guests’ lovely smiling faces

Your favourite people are in this room celebrating your love, and it’s lovely for you as the happy couple to look back at your loved ones and see their lovely faces, instead of them being hidden behind phones.

Not only is it a special occasion where you want to connect to your guests and share the love, but it can also be really reassuring to look over at your best mate and have them give a little smile and nod, especially if you’re feeling a little nervous.

 

 

4. If you want to keep your wedding more private

Some couples like to keep their wedding off social media until they decide if or when to post about it – shocking I know, but some people are private and don’t like their lives being splashed across social media platforms.

Plus, if you’ve got kids at your wedding, it’s worth bearing in mind that some people don’t want photos of their children on the internet.

 

5. To keep unflattering wedding photos at bay

You just know that auntie Ange would be posting that blurry, unflattering angle of you and your partner on Facebook as soon as she gets a chance. By having an unplugged wedding, you limit that risk, and instead you get to choose from your professional wedding photographer’s super flattering and perfectly in-focus pics instead.

 

6. No awkward interruptions

Lastly, a pretty basic one – it’s just so rude when someone’s phone rings during the ceremony. Ask guests to turn their phones off or at the very least, put them on silent.

 

How to tell your guests you’re having an unplugged wedding in 2023

Alright, now it’s time to break it to your Insta-obsessed mates that your wedding is going to be unplugged. How do you say it in a nice way and make sure they don’t forget and sneak their phone out for that mid ceremony selfie?

Start by adding a note on your save the dates that the wedding will be unplugged, and then definitely make it mega obvious on your wedding invitations, as well as your wedding website if you have one.

On the day of your wedding, make sure it’s written on your order of service (if you have one) and make some signs to put around the venue – you can make these look cute and have a nice little rhyme on, to make it less demanding and rule-y.

If you have ushers, get them to mention to guests as they come in that they are not to be taking snaps during the ceremony, and ask your registrar or celebrant to mention it just before the ceremony too.

 

So there we have it, unplugged weddings aren’t that complicated after all, and you can defo convince all your guests to refrain from snapping away – I believe in you.

If you’re after a little more wedding planning help, check out my recent blog post – The ultimate 11-step wedding day timeline from a wedding photographer of 14 years.

 

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