Pros and Cons: Having an Unplugged Wedding

The perks and drawbacks of asking your guests to go "off the grid" for the duration of your event.

Many brides and grooms are choosing to have “unplugged” wedding ceremony – and some choose to keep their guests offline for the duration of the entire event – by requesting friends and family to silence their devices and put them away.

Photo: EDLT Photo

It’s a fairly modern problem: you’re reveling in a friend’s wedding service when suddenly a relative armed with an iPhone leans directly into your line of vision to snap a bunch of pictures. No matter which way you crane your neck, someone with a camera is in your way, obstructing your view of the vows. This is just one of the reasons many brides and grooms are choosing to have “unplugged” wedding ceremony – and some choose to keep their guests offline for the duration of the entire event – by requesting friends and family to silence their devices and put them away. 

Asking this of your attendees has the potential to stir up quite a controversy – as our research has shown. So, we complied a list of the pros and cons of this popular anti-tech trend, and here is what we discovered:


No iPhones – and guests – blocking the view or the photographer. Many newlyweds have horror stories wherein they finally receive their wedding video, pop it in the DVD player, and are promptly heartbroken by the presence of numerous “paparazzi” lingering directly in front of the videographer for which they paid so handsomely. There have even been accounts of revelers getting out of their seats during a portion of the ceremony to take snapshots of the couple up close. Employing this policy would send a staunch message to everyone that you’d like all in attendance to be able to watch your nuptials – and save your wedding photos.

Friends and family will be completely present. There are arguments against this theory – stating that it’s entirely possible for a person to live in the moment whilst taking photos – however, with the tendency to want to share on social media, technology can really take guests’ focus away from the event and onto their devices. While their intentions may be positive, the reason they were invited was to bear witness to this milestone of life. It may be disheartening for the couple to gaze out onto their friends and family and see a portion of them busy crafting the perfect filter or caption.

No unauthorized pictures will go up on social media. You shelled out a large portion of your spending limit for your photographer, no doubt, and they’re paid to make you and your love look great – your attendees: not so much. With smartphones, guests can post any pictures they’d like, no matter how unflattering they may be. Additionally, maybe you’d prefer to be the first to share a photo of your first kiss as a married couple – not your grand aunt’s stepson who believes having a phone with filters essentially makes him a professional photographer.


You won’t get to see the entire affair from a guest’s perspective. On the opposite side of the argument, not having access to amateur photos of your big day might prove disappointing. Some pairs very much enjoy viewing candid shots of various moments they may not have been able to see otherwise – let’s face the facts, even if they have a team of people, a photographer is not going to be able to capture every intimate, special moment. You may get some quick instances captured on film that you’ll cherish forever from a friend or relative – you never can tell with today’s quick-draw devices.

Not everyone will comply. You can put up signs, include it in the program – even the invitation suite – and have the officiant make an announcement prior to the service, but there will always be someone who believes they live above the rules. If enough people disregard your request, you may end up spending extra time and money on signage for absolutely nothing. 

Some attendees may even be angry. If and when you get actual complaints, you’ll wish these naysayers had simply disobeyed. Brides have noted that they’ve received criticisms regarding their decision for weeks, even months, after tying the knot. What is worse: attendees that choose the reception to gripe about the restriction – to you. Some cannot be made to part with their phones – or social media accounts, emails, texts, etc. – for any extended period of time. These are the protestors that may upset your bridal glow.

Making the decision to have an unplugged wedding is ultimately up to you and your future spouse: you know your friends and family, and you should have a good idea about how comfortable everyone would be with this stipulation.