The Pros and Cons of an Unplugged Wedding

See the benefits and downsides to the modern custom.

Some aspects of wedding planning are timeless, but in other instances, modern life winds up having an effect on decisions.

Photo: Mallory Dawn Photography

Some aspects of wedding planning are timeless, but in other instances, modern life winds up having an effect on decisions. Take the concept of unplugged weddings, for instance. Twenty years ago, the phrase would have seemed nonsensical. Cell phones may have existed, but they were not necessarily commonplace, and while silencing it might have been requested, there would be no real reason for someone to take out their phone. After all, they did not yet have cameras or social media attached. Nowadays, however, it’s a genuine debate that couples have to have – should they embrace the smartphone age or request that their wedding (or at least the ceremony) remain “unplugged”? 

pros and cons of an unplugged wedding, should you have an unplugged wedding

Photo by Marissa Maharaj; Planning & Design by Geller Events; From Real Wedding: A Destination Wedding in Maui with Both Classic and Tropical Touches

Here are some pros and cons of an unplugged wedding: 

Pros of an Unplugged Wedding:

Clear professional shots.

We’ve all seen wedding photos featuring guests leaning into the aisle with their phone out, or seeing a sea of phones instead of smiling faces during the recessional. The main reason unplugged weddings have become popular is because brides and grooms have seen what happens when there is no rule in place. Your professional photographer will get better shots when there aren’t dozens of phones in the air. 

Everyone will be present.

Just as with many moments in life, if someone is more worried about updating their Instagram story than living in the moment, they might not fully absorb the experience. Asking for guests to keep their phones put away will ensure that they are truly present during your big day. 

No unexpected social media posts.

It’s perfectly reasonable if you want the first photo shared from your wedding day to be a sneak peek from your professional photographer, rather than an out of focus, or even unflattering, snapshot that a cousin posts to Facebook. 

Cons of an Unplugged Wedding: 

Longer wait for photos.

It can take at least a month to receive your professional wedding photos. Getting to see what your friends and family captured can help make that time pass more quickly. Speak with your photographer to understand the timeline they have in mind.

Smaller moments might be missed.

While pros may capture candids as well, there is no way for them to get a picture of everything at your wedding – even if there is a second shooter. Because guests are more focused on their own social circle, they are more likely to get a photo of a subtle, fun moment that might have slipped through the cracks. 

Some guests might be irritated.

This is less of an issue as unplugged weddings become more common, but there will almost always be attendees who feel entitled to post about everything and will either grumble about not being able to take pictures or will simply ignore the rule.