How to Have an 'Unplugged' Wedding No One Will Ever Forget

bride being photographedWeddings everywhere are being disrupted by the scourge: well-wishers snapping away with their phone cameras and iPads. So, many couples are planning what's called an "unplugged" wedding -- an event during which electrical devices are banned. 


Here's why you might want to try it yourself -- and how to make it happen.

"It's a nightmare," says wedding photographer Cendino Temé of photographing in the age of smartphones and tablets. "Instead of getting emotions, you get photos of people taking pictures with their phones!" He recommends the unplugged wedding to his clients. 

Temé notes that it's especially noticeable during the bride's march down the aisle, just when he's trying to capture that look of joy and surprise on attendees' faces. For that reason, he'd prefer everyone just "stay in the moment of the wedding."

But how do you, as the bride, communicate your wishes to guests without hurting people's feelings -- and how do you make sure they take your wishes seriously?

1. Ask your photographer to make a few photos available. While you're negotiating with your photographer, ask if they can make a few (five or so) shots available to your guests as shareable electronic files soon after the wedding. 

2. Make the request in your invitations. Keep your wording brief and to the point, but gracious. Include an icon of a camera if you can so it catches the eye. Here's some possible wording:

We are excited to share this special occasion with you. In that spirit, we ask that you refrain from taking any photographs or using your cell phones during the wedding ceremony. Our photographer will make photos available to you free of charge soon afterwards. Thank you so much for respecting our wishes!

Ideally, this would be a separate note you include with the invitation. Offbeat Bride has loads of examples of wording you could use to request an unplugged wedding.

3. Include a note in your program. If you do distribute programs for your wedding, repeat your request near the bottom. Again, a visual will help your guests notice your note better.

More from The Stir: 15 Essential Wedding Photos Every Bride Needs to Request

4. Post a sign that's too adorable to disregard. Search in Pinterest under "unplugged wedding," and you'll see loads of charming signs that remind guests to turn off their phones and/or refrain from taking photos. I think getting a child to hold the sign is extra effective, provided that child does not drop it and run off.

5. Assign a photo bouncer. Before the wedding, ask the pages or someone else outside the wedding party (not the photographer) to look out for shutterbugs and politely, ever so politely, remind them to put their phones away. 

unplugged wedding how to

6. Make a verbal announcement. Once guests are seated, but before the ceremony begins, have the officiant make a polite request to turn cell phones off, put them away, and enjoy the wedding.

7. Thank everyone. Sometime after the wedding, and toward the beginning of the reception, thank everyone for respecting your wishes for an unplugged wedding -- and be sure to let them know how they can get those professional photos you promised.

How do you feel about the growing trend of weddings being disrupted by photographs?


Image via Cendino Temé Photography 

Read More >