Should I have an unplugged wedding, or not?

In the past couple of years, there has been a lot of push in the wedding industry for unplugged weddings – weddings where guests are requested to turn off their phones and cameras for the ceremony or entire wedding.

Although it is entirely up to you, I would just like to provide you with my opinion as a photographer.

At times, it is tricky to get the best shots when guests stand in the way during the highlights of a wedding. For example, when the bride is walking down the aisle, or when the couple is cutting the wedding cake. It is an uncomfortable situation to be in – preparing for the shot and politely asking friends and family members to move out of the way – because I want to provide my clients with the most beautiful and memorable images.

Nevertheless, I am a fan of guests taking pictures at a wedding! Yes, it is true! I think that it is fun to enjoy the wedding from different perspectives – because, I can’t be everywhere at once. And guests are able to capture moments which are unique to them. It doesn’t matter if the pictures are taken with a phone or any other type of camera – I believe that the memories are what count the most.

Brides, if you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to me. Fellow photographers, I would love to hear your opinions on about this topic!

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I totally agree with you about this! If guests are respectful and can make sure they aren’t impacting the professional photos, it is so fun to see pics from your friends and family the night of or morning after your wedding! It wonderful that you are so understanding about this!


Thanks, Jennifer. That is how I felt at my sister’s wedding – I enjoyed looking at pictures from different people.

Oh gosh I love your perspective! I think it’s so sweet when guests take pictures too. It’s great when everyone feels involved and able to celebrate.


That’s right. People can feel more involved in capturing the day and share it.

It’s interesting to get the perspective of a photographer with regards to an “unplugged wedding.” I could definitely see where others get in your way. I love the idea of having an “unplugged ceremony” and then let others use their phones during the reception.


Totally – unplugged ceremony. OR just pics from where they are sitting.


Ohhhhhh how I wish that every bride planned for her wedding to be unplugged. In this age of so much technology, when I am shooting a wedding all I see are devices, it takes away from a gorgeous wedding day, and your guests actually enjoying the moment with you. I don’t mind them here and there at the reception, but at the ceremony I am capturing just about everything since its a seated moment, with not much movement, especially with the risk of someone and their ipad getting in front of me during a very important moment.


I can relate to that, Sarah. Having a ton of pics with people with either phones or ipads in their faces is not the best. Everything in moderation.

This is such a hard one! I love seeing images from the guests at weddings, but at the same time, it’s hard when there are smart phone (or ipads) in the photographer’s images. I think I would choose to have my wedding unplugged, I want to see my guests enjoying themselves, not on their phones!


Sometimes I just integrate people being on the phones as part of the wedding story. For example, capturing them when they take a selfie…because, at the end of the day, I like documenting the wedding like it happened. But I totally can relate to other opinions.


I think unplugged weddings are a plus. Leave the photo taking to the professionals!


I agree with this statement when it comes to those really important shots. Thanks, Minh.

I completely agree that this topic needs to be touched on with the wedding party and guest. Nothing is worse than seeing a beautiful moment of the bride and groom and family and several guests have their phones held up high taking cell pictures. Ugh!!


It is true that it is more special to enjoy special moments without being hindered by a screen.


This is something to really think about! As much of a social media person as I am, it would be hard to make people put it up. But it would probably allow for a much more engaged wedding overall! Great insight!


Yes, we need to take into account that weddings these days (with social media) are different to how they used to be a few years ago.


Its true! I love it that guests snap their own bazillion pictures during prep and reception. Just not during the ceremony and family formals (because its distracting, and people look the wrong way).


YES! A big NO during family formals – it is already hard enough to get everyone to look in one direction and smile. Thanks for bringing that up!

Sarah Holladay

I like the way you handle this! Being unplugged in our society is harder and harder. I totally agree that guests should be free to take pictures here and there… I just wish they were more thoughtful of when and how to do so.


Yes, being more thoughtful is the key…because, sometimes some guests do just stand in front of me.

Emily Moore

This is so true! I had an unplugged ceremony, and I don’t regret doing it at all! I can’t stand when all you see leading up to the bride or groom is a bunch of cell phones in a picture. But my guests thought they couldn’t take many pictures throughout the night because I didn’t see very many posted afterwards. I think balance is key!! Thanks for sharing this!


I agree – a good balance and communication upfront! Thanks for sharing your experience, Emily!


Personally i prefer it when they are not showing their phones and camera in every shot.. You are hired to be there to shoot their special day, they are just supposed to enjoy it. Kudos to you!


I do agree that more guests can enjoy the moment and the wedding without always being on their phones.

Agree! It’s funny that it is so black and white. People don’t realize there is a third option of just asking people to be respectful!


Yes, a compromise can always be made – happy middle.


I absolutely LOVE unplugged weddings! I highly recommend it as a photographer! Ipads are the WORST! But not an issue when you unplug it! DO IT DO IT DO IT


Hahaha…yes, I know plenty of photographers who really are 100% for unplugged weddings!

I’m so with you on this one! I love for people to be able to use their phones and get their own photos and totally don’t mind working around them. I feel like either way is great and it doesn’t bother me one bit as a wedding photographer. I hadn’t met many others who agree, so I was excited to read this!!


Oh Kaytlin, I know what you mean…

I totally understand. It’s so offputting when all the guests are getting all up in everyone’s space to take pics. Then they get in the way of the photographer. But then on the other side you miss all the beautiful candid shots the guests could take without you knowing


That is exactly the case.