Unplugged Weddings: Should You Have One?

Unplugged Weddings: Should You Have One?

A man switching off his phone at a wedding

An unplugged wedding is asking guests to turn off any electronic devices for the duration of your ceremony

Yep, that includes iPhones, iPads, all other smartphones, cameras... 


For the same reason, you switch off your phone at the theatre, because technology is awesome but it’s also annoying and distracting. We’ve all sat behind THAT wedding guest: the one filming the ceremony on a screen the size of a small family car.  

Man using a tablet computer

Social media is a big part of this problem.

It encourages EVERYONE to share EVERYTHING, and weddings are fertile ground for that: the outfits, the decor, the emotion, the boozy reception and the romance of it all.   

But yes, telling guests to put their phones and cameras away is stage management: couples wanting their day to be perfect, to be entirely about them, the need to be THE centre of attention), BUT it’s also about putting a ring fence around the most important day of a couple’s life, making it personal. What they’re saying is please, please be present for our vows and enjoy this with us. 

And there's no reason why you can't do the same for your wedding. 

Five reasons to ask guests to unplug at your wedding

1)  Because some people won’t do it unless you ask them to and that’s just the society we live in.  Habit will trump etiquette every time and most people probably won’t realise they’re being rude.  Give guests a heads-up, followed by a friendly reminder on the day, and they should respect your request. 

2)  Because ringtones midway through your vows - Urgh!

3)  For the sake of the photographer, the paid professional who’ll have to jockey for position behind the rent-a-crowd standing in the aisle with their phones up. 

4)  Because it’s the happiest day of your life and you're asking guests to witness vows which mean something to you and your partner.

5)  Because you deserve to control which photographs go up on the internet, and they should be fabulous and you should look gorgeous, and on your wedding day that's not for others to decide.

Bride with floral bouquet

Won’t going unplugged upset the guests? 

Actually, you’d be surprised how popular they’re becoming. 

Smartphones might be the default setting of millennials raised on tech, but device-savvy twenty-somethings are among those most likely to have an unplugged ceremony.  And you know what? A social media detox - even just for an hour or so - is actually pretty liberating. 

How do I tell them ditch the tech?

You can’t force anyone to turn everything off just because you say so, and there may be one or two guests who think the rules don’t apply to them. Unless you’ve signed a six-figure sum with Hello! Magazine, then you’re probably not going to insist on people handing phones over at the door. 

We suggest that you mention it on the invitation or on your personalised wedding website.  Word it carefully or you'll sound too demanding.

“We’d rather look up and see your smiles than your screens”

iPhone on a white table with an open book

On the day put a sign near the entrance to the venue. Make sure it fits the theme, and don't just stick a piece of paper to the door. Ask the celebrant, officiant or vicar to remind everyone before the ceremony begins. What happens at the reception is up to you.  It's worth adding a notice to each table if you don't want photographs shared on social media, and you can also ask the Master of Ceremonies or DJ or a member of the venue staff to pass on your wishes to everyone gathered.

Unplugged weddings are becoming more popular and who knows? The revolution might start at your wedding with people actually talking to one other face-to-face rather than scrolling endlessly on Facebook. 

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