THE PHOTOGSPECTIVE | Unplugged vs non-unplugged weddings

Yet another new blog feature - “The Photogspective” - and I bring it out with probably one of my personal favorite topics: Unplugged vs. non-unplugged weddings.


If you’ve followed me for some time, you might remember that back in 2017 I wrote a blog about this very subject. However, rather than just sharing the blog post and calling it a day - I wanted to truly revisit the topic and attempt to go more into depth from my perspective - as the photographer.

There is a small chance you’re reading this and wondering, “okay, what the heck is an unplugged wedding?” Simply, an unplugged wedding is one that is without devices. Typically, the couple will have made the decision to ask all of their guests - family included - to please not bring out their cell phones, cameras, iPads, and simply just be present with them at their wedding ceremony. Truth be told, I tried to do a Google search to see when the idea of an unplugged wedding came to be and it wasn’t super clear. So, my educated guess is that sometime in the early 2010’s is when the “fad”, for lack of a better word, started to really take off.

So, why did it actually become a thing? If you look back at how our technology has really taken off in the last 10-15 years, it should be pretty easy to narrow down. Usually, Aunt Betty isn’t carrying her trusty film camera anymore - she’s got her iPad Pro or her Apple iPhone out and is trying to finagle the camera and video. While she’s dealing with that and bugging Cousin Stu to get help, the bride and groom are exchanging the rings and preparing to be named Mr. and Mrs. for the very first time… and guess what? Aunt Betty missed it, when she could’ve just been present and trusted the hired photographer to get the shot.

From my perspective as the photographer… well I could go on for some time about this. I’ll narrow it down to my top five reasons why I believe an unplugged wedding is the way to go.

1) You’ve likely paid me, or another talented photographer, a lot of money to capture your day. This one should be pretty clear. We all know that weddings in general can be expensive as it is. As a photographer, I take my job very seriously and my “one job” (even though I have many) is to make sure to capture your day and tell your wedding story. It gets to be quite the challenge when I have to fight with family friends and relatives for the prime spots for photos during the ceremony. And this even goes into the reception. I totally understand - your family wants to have pictures too so they can go up on social media and be shared for the “world” to see. However - their images are not going to have the same quality and care as a professionals.


2) Your family and friends can actually be present in your wedding day story. This sounds cheesy but it’s so true. Remember the Aunt Betty story? One of the parts of life we have really gotten away from as a society is being present in life’s moments. We are so focused on showing it off to social media friends, who I’m just being really honest probably don’t care for the reasons that you care, instead of just taking it all in. Again - the photographer will get the shot, if you let them!

3) There will be far less distraction during the ceremony & reception. I’m totally serious on this. You won't be hear so many clicks and seeing the room light up with crazy amounts of flash. You won’t get distracted mid-vows by a whispered “excuse me, I’m sorry!” because, again, Aunt Betty needs a better angle.

4) Keeping it a surprise! Again, I said that most people just want to share pictures to social media, right? Well, on occasion there are some instances where family or friends don’t go to or aren’t invited to the ceremony and only attend the reception. If everyone is posting images to social media, it’s very likely the “reception” guests will lose the element of awe and surprise because of those posts. Going unplugged keeps the element of mystery and surprise!

5) Respecting privacy. This is kind of a big one that we all take for granted. There are more often than not a couple handfuls of people who are in attendance on your wedding day who aren’t super fond of having their photo taken. Rather than risking upsetting someone by snapping an accidental shot, let the professionals handle it and YOU, the bride & groom, can decide what makes its way to the inter webs and spare your wedding guests.


At the end of the day, the decision is up to you whether you have an unplugged wedding or not. If you chose to, I promise that your photographer will LOVE you for it, and you in return will be ever so grateful.

Not sure how to advertise to your guests that your ceremony and/or reception are unplugged? Simply ask your officiant or pastor to ask that all guests put away their devices and cameras on your behalf. At weddings I have personally been in attendance at, this has always been well received and the officiant is happy to do that for the couple. Also, there are so many places you can order a sign from! Locally to Decatur, IL, I highly recommend Jones & Co, Petals Gift Shop and East In A Day.

Did you have an unplugged wedding? Or no? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on it!

Amber Pond