Wedding Wednesday: The Unplugged Wedding

I can't remember the source! If you know, please tell me so I can give credit!

I came across an interesting picture on a wedding blog a few weeks ago.  It showed a sign that asked guests to turn off their phones at a wedding.  The sign wasn't especially cute, but I wondered if a nicer version was necessary at weddings these days.  

A quick google search led me to an article on Offbeat Bride about "unplugged weddings."  It seems some brides are walking down the aisle to a crowd of people hunched over their devices or people staring at their screens as they snap photos to be posted on Twitter and Facebook.  I also read an excerpt from a photographer's memoir in which she complained that guests who think their job is to take photos and video get in the way of the shots that the professional photographers are there to take.

Photo by Nora & Troy at, via Offbeat Bride

I originally hoped that our wedding venue wouldn't have cellular reception.  Our first visit confirmed that the signal is strong and a Facebook update announced that they have WiFi as well.  The social media addict in me was a little happy, but I know I'm going to turn off my phone and leave the ipad at home on our big day.

I'm curious about whether anyone has been to a wedding where guests on phones or taking photos/video have gotten in the way.  Do you think signs or notes in programs announcing that a wedding is "unplugged" are really necessary?

Along those lines, what do you think of this?!?


  1. Thank you for bringing this up!  I hadn't even thought of this before, but obviously it is going to be something I consider for my wedding.  Not to be a bridezilla or anything, but I want to make it very clear to my guests that when I'm announced as Mrs. Milligan and I look out to the crowd, I want to see their smiling faces - not their phones!!  I think having someone say at the beginning to put all phones away, turned off, is a good idea.  In fact, I don't think I'd want anyone taking pictures with their camera, either, besides the photographer.  With the technology and printing services we have these days, I can just send everyone the pictures!  I'd be lenient at the reception though and give guests free range over phones, cameras, etc.

  2. i was thrilled that no one had reception at our wedding - best thing ever! No one was updating facebook, or twitter - everyone was enjoying the end of summer mountain air, and gettin' down!


  3. Almost every wedding we photograph guest are photographing
    and sometimes have a better position or shooting spot then we do. In our market
    area of Lynchburg, VA most churches will not allow the photographer past the first pew, but a guest
    that is sitting in the front row has a better vantage point. Now with everyone
    having a smart phone or Iphone photographers in some way are competing with the
    guest. We have it in our contract that we are the main photographer, but found
    the guest will still shoot  if they want to. It is up to
    the bride or venue to control the space. Signs do not work, the best way to take care of this is by having a person stand up before the wedding starts and announce to the guest that cell
    phones have to be turned off, no photograph during the ceremony. 

  4. I'm married to a photographer - only occasionally does he encounter a guest who truly interferes with his job. A guest may have a better vantage point in some scenarios, but they don't have the eye/technical expertise/equipment/post-processing skill to provide the same images a professional does.

    We actually tend to have few pictures of our own family stuff - vacations, events, etc - because mostly we'd rather enjoy what we're experiencing than be trying to capture it. I'd rather have the memories than the pictures!

    I do think that everyone can use a reminder that they need to be in the moment - documenting is fine, but so often devices/cameras become the focus of the event, rather than the event itself, and the intent behind it. It's worth a reminder to your guests that your photographer will provide an online gallery where they can view/download/order pictures from the day so that they don't need to concern themselves with trying to capture anything.

  5. Sadly, I think it may be necessary, especially if there is a large younger crowd at the wedding.

    I personally would rather have guests watching and taking in the ceremony than snapping away like a crazy amateur photographer.  Especially if they're using flash.  I'm considering offering to send anyone who wants them photos from the ceremony if they will please not be snapping shots all through the ceremony!

    (Sidenote: Totally stoked that I can now chime in as an official bride to be :)

  6. Oh and as far as iPad Bridesmaid goes...tasteless and creepy.  Sorry if that offends anyone.

  7. No cell phones at my wedding, as they were not commonly owned then. However, one of my husband's aunts ruined a number of photos with her own photography -- one time even elbowing our professional photographer out of the way. So, yes, I think it's appropriate to ask guests to defer to the professional. All that said, some of our best photos were taken by family and friends, so those have an importance too.

  8. I don't think I've ever been at a wedding where someone's cell went off, but it did happen to my mom once. She totally forgot she even had it with her and someone called her during the ceremony. (She's not a cell phone addict at all, either!) I think a small announcement or sign couldn't hurt, just so people are reminded that they need to go to silent.

  9. This post made me think of the one time that I went to a wedding, and when the bride and groom had their first kiss, the groom's Blackberry belt clip was clearly visible.  It made me laugh and I wanted to say "who are you going to call?  All of your friends and loved ones are here!"

  10. Thanks for the iPad bridesmaid video. It's a bit over the top for actually participating as a bridesmaid walking down the aisle, etc., but it's perfect for bringing in family members or friends that couldn't be there otherwise. The large screen is better for knowing where one is pointing the camera and for viewing easily on the other end. (Sit anywhere with a glass of champagne and enjoy!) I have an iPad, but I don't actually video chat ever, so this will be good to remember.

  11. Apologies if this has already been posted. I think this is the wedding that had the sign in your post:

    The iPad bridesmaid was cheesy. Nothing wrong with having a beloved friend watch via a webcam (or facetime), but having the grooms man carry that iPad around was just silly.


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