-Unplugged wedding or plugged?-

Keeping the focus on you or feed the social media animal?

By Terry James

-What is an unplugged wedding? Please explain-

In a nutshell it is as an opportunity for your wedding guests to embrace your wedding without the need of intrusive cameras and smartphones. A wedding or event where you as the guest have the opportunity to enjoy the special occasion where you are a part of it at the couples request. A chance to enjoy the day as it was intended. It is an opportunity to put down those cameras, phones & tablets and embrace all the emotion of the day. What is better, turning around to see all your guests smiling and emotional that you have embraced love in the ultimate way, or turn around to see an audience of phones and cameras clicking with the purpose of catching the shot, rather than the emotion? In essence what is your wedding guest really there for?

Lets be honest, our smart phones are an integral part of our life. Whether you use them for social purposes, business or pleasure, they are an extension of us all, and we would be lost without them. Our dependency on our devices is unparalleled, never before in our time or generation have we depended on a material object like we do with our iphones or android phones.

As a guest at weddings we have the power to send images globally. Our snaps of the day sent to long distance relatives perhaps? A chance for those who couldn’t make the day to enjoy images almost in realtime!

Years ago before smartphones were around or capable of sending images of good quality around the world, Weddings were a much bigger personal event. No phones to distract us from enjoying the moment of our dearest friends or family sharing their special, once in a lifetime moment with us all. Now though the tables have turned and the altar at our local church is turned into a frenzy of amatuer papparazi confusion, as we all try and get that image of the first kiss. At times, as a professional wedding photographer I have had to fight my way through to get that image that the happy couple have paid me for!

Unplugged weddings are a way of bringing a little bit of dacorum back to the fold. Allowing guests to enjoy your day as it was intended…With them included! Of course there are positives and negatives with either approach, so read on and decide for yourself what floats your boat…

-The pros and cons of a plugged or unplugged wedding-

There are many reasons why you may want a plugged in wedding, given that we live in a connected world, where everything demands instant gratification. Here below are some good and not so good reasons for having everyone on the wire with their devices.

-The pros for a plugged wedding-

  • There is a greater opportunity to catch some meaningful candid moments of the Bride and Groom, wedding guests or that drunken party move on the dance floor.
  • Taking and sharing images is fun & cool - Even better when you can see it posted in an instant on your favourite social media app
  • Guests that were unable to attend will likely appreciate seeing the images from the wedding. Plenty of likes there!!

-The pros for an unplugged wedding-

  • Cameras and phones have a tendency to get in the way of the official photographer (who is being paid to capture those images in a professional capacity)
  • People that were not invited won’t find out, as there will be no images on facebook, instagram, etc.
  • Cameras and phones can be distracting for the Bride and Groom, and remember they invited you there to be a part of their day, and not be stuck on your phone facebooking and making sure that instagram filter is the right one…Just as they say “I do”
  • There in little to no chance of unflattering images being posted up on facebook (Like the bride being snapped on the toilet, and it does happen!!)

-How to have a unplugged wedding-

Now this can get tricky if not dealt with in a correct manner. Some guests may feel a little disgruntled to be told on the day that they can not use any phones or cameras, so it may be wise to include a short note inside the invitation or save the dates that explains the reasons why you want an unplugged wedding. Maybe explain that you want them there to be a part of your wedding and not apart from it. giving them ample time to get used to the idea.

Another way is to have a board up that tells your guests it is an unplugged wedding, or even get your wedding planner or officiant to make everyone aware that it is an unplugged wedding? You could soften the blow and make it only through the ceremony, and let everyone loose with their phones/cameras at the reception?

You could go even further and have a photobooth, this way it gives everyone the chance to take home some fun and cool images from the wedding.

What are your thoughts on an unplugged wedding or plugged wedding? Which way did you decide to go? Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂


-How to have a plugged wedding-

If you do decide on having a plugged in wedding, then the easiest way is to incorporate a custom hashtag. You could have something like #mrandmrsyournamehere. It is not only a good way to add a bit of fun to your wedding for your guests, but also an easy way to find all of your pictures on social media using the custom hashtag.

There are also various mobile apps that allow you to share your photos publicly or privately including wedding party, Capsulecam & wed pics to name but a few.

Remember your wedding photographer though. He/she has been paid by you to provide professional images of your wedding, so make sure they have precedence over your guests in regards to all important images.



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