23 Photos that Will Make You have an Unplugged Wedding!

Published by Sam, Editor -
23 Photos that Will Make You have an Unplugged Wedding!

Unplugged weddings are talked about a lot, and I am sure a lot of you will have seen the Facebook rant by Thomas Stewart of Thomas Stewart Photography (Header photo image captured by him) in Southern Highlands, Australia.

He laid out all of the reasons why camera phones, iPads and selfie sticks are ruining weddings. At the time of writing his Facebook post has had over 121k likes and 88k shares.

Now a wedding photographer will do their best to avoid those guests that decide to become a photographer for the day, however sometimes it really can become a bit ridiculous and those beautiful wedding photos of you walking down the aisle can be ruined.

23 Reason to have an Unplugged Wedding!

These are real wedding photos captured by real wedding photographers.

What does ‘unplugged wedding’ mean?

An unplugged wedding is where you and your guests unplug from the world, be it your phone, iPad, camera, or any other technology that is around. An unplugged wedding is about enjoying the moment, looking down the aisle to see your friends and family looking back, seeing their emotion, seeing them smile, feeling the love.

On the other side in a world where people are checking their phones, taking photos and uploading to Facebook or Instagram in an instant, do you want to look down the aisle to see your friends and family hiding behind a camera or their phone as they take photos and upload for the world to see before you have even said ‘I Do’?

Why you should have an unplugged wedding?

If the photos above were not enough of a reason, then think about your guests and why you want them to be there. You want them to be there to enjoy the moment, enjoy the moment of you getting married, to forget about everything and just be there.

There is no need for guests to be checking their phone, there is no need for guest to take photos, you have hired a professional wedding photographer.

Social Media

With social media an everyday part of most peoples lives, do you want all these photos taken by guests splashed up on Facebook before you have walked back down the aisle as husband and wife?

Do you want to turn your phone on at the end of the day and have notifications of hundreds of photos you have been tagged in? This is your wedding day and you should be able to choose what is shared and who shares it.

You want your guests to enjoy the day, and be part of it, you haven’t invited your family and friends along to take photos and be a photographer for the day, you have hired a professional for that. You have invited them because you want them there, there in person and not hidden behind a phone.

Should you Ban Guests From Phones and Cameras?

Banning phones and cameras may sound a little strong, but it isn’t about banning them, it is about getting your guest to understand that you have hired a professional wedding photographer and that they can view these photos once ready. You want your guests to understand that you want them to be there and enjoy the moment.

Use signs to advise your guests to not use their phones or camera while the ceremony takes place, add a little message and note to your invite, check out Unplugged Weddings on Pinterest for ideas on signage, wording and creative ways to inform your guests.

Unplugged Weddings. Your Thoughts?

What are your views on uploaded weddings? Do you advise your couples to go unplugged, or are you a bride and groom that have decided to go unplugged?

If you are a photographer drop us a comment below on how often you see this and your views on it, also please do share it too.

What are you thoughts on unplugged weddings? Will you be telling your guests to keep their phones turned off and there is no need to bring your camera?


  1. Matthew Phillips

    couldnt have said it better myself. the unplugged weddings i have captured are so much more full of emotions, you cant replicate that looking through a camera or phone

  2. ReelLifePhotos Elaine

    Of course we want the guest to enjoy themselves, but its sad when the professional photographer respects the couple’s NOT to post photos of them online, yet almost every guest is doing exactly that, with no restrictions whatsoever about their badly framed, and usually very soft focus (blurred!) images.
    However, its easy to upset the bride – and her friends – if the wedding photographer suggests limiting/restricting the guests’ wedding pics, so the subject definitely needs to be broached early on, way before the arrival of the wedding day itself., and ideally made to appear as if the couple themselves had the idea, – not the moaning professional!

  3. ReelLifePhotos Elaine

    Oh and its not just the walking down the aisle shots that potentially get ruined….
    When it comes to the cutting of the cake, I try to choose the direction they stand that will create the best background and lighting, even if it means the guests then have to either wait till I have finished or are unable to get good shots. I don’t want to be mean, but of course the official photographer can be quick to get the natural shots full of happiness, that he or she needs, then leave the couple to pose for everyone else, if they up for that.

  4. eggnostriva

    Nonsense. Absolute nonsense.. Place disposable cameras on each table for your guests to use then leave behind. You will have loads of unusable photos but some gems. You can select which of these if any you make public. I am a photographer and have done weddings. The modern stuff is all very much the latest fad and will age badly. It is lovely to see individual groups at their own tables taking pictures of themselves.

  5. laureloakwood

    I am currently planning my wedding for next year and I hadn’t even considered this until I read the article! Now that I have I will definitely have an “unplugged” ceremony so that all my guests can really be in the room with us. We are considering asking a friend to be our photographer (he is semi-professional/ freelance) and this should be enough, since we will be sharing all the good photos online.

    We will be sharing a website for everyone to upload and share photos to afterwards (including our photographer friend) and I will be happy for everyone to take candids during the reception (especially since there will be lots of children and I’m sure all my cousins will want to take their own photos of them).

    I don’t see the point in disposable cameras, since everyone nowadays has a better quality camera on their phone! Also processing for disposable cameras is prohibitive, especially since most people have forgotten about parallax in this age of digital images!

    Thanks for a thought-provoking article!

  6. ksvoboda

    I brought the issue up to my family and they were HIGHLY offended. I like the idea of having everyone put their phones away, but many stated that as guests they wanted photos on their phones to show family and friends, and that it was unfair to deprive them of that after some had traveled so far, brought gifts, and help pay for the wedding. I know people that say if they hear of an “unplugged” wedding they become so offended that they choose not to go.
    Has anyone had any experience with this?

  7. Gary Stafford

    Totally upto the couple whether to have an unplugged wedding or not. Doesn’t bother me either way. It’s how you as a photographer manage the day and the people around that day. I always have a chat with people who do have cameras in that I will get shots ready get what I need and ask the sitters to stay where they are for the uncle bibs and everyone wins. As for aisle shots cameras and phones in the shot can still make for a great shot and is a document of what happened in the day.

  8. Nina Stavlund

    I think this is completely up to the couple. What I’ve done is to make the coupe aware of the problem during our very first meeting and then if they want to do something about it, they will. As the hired photographer, I find it utterly annoying and distracting, but it’s not my wedding or my photos or memories, so I try to work around it as best as I can if the couple do not mind that the guests takes images during the ceremony.

  9. Ado Colic

    LOL.. I have faced many of these over the last few years. However, I have never let them get in the way of my final shot. Sometimes this means being a little rough around the edges and upsetting one or two wedding guests.

  10. Gareth Newstead

    It’s a great article for couples and guests to realise how much they might be missing out on the actual day rather than being stuck behind a phone, however I do also appreciate that lots of friends and family love photos to and want to be able to have some shots of their own to look back at! Doesn’t effect me either way as I just like to capture the day as it happens!

  11. Rob


    Any experienced professional photographer knows how to work around and respect guests with cameras.

    Photographers suggesting B&G’s go unplugged just feel threatened that the wedding doesn’t revolve around photography.

    Grow up, learn your trade and respect the fact that wedding guests are enjoying and capturing something that is incredibly emotional to them.

  12. inda

    I think that it’s okay to have camera phones, but NOT during the ceremony…UNLESS you like the photos above, of course. to each his own.

  13. Devon

    The first thing that strikes me is that the ‘professional’ took time away from the ceremony, and the moments the bride and groom care most about to shot a bunch of poorly framed photos of zero interest to their clients, demonstrating skill I as an ‘amateur’ photographer would be embarrassed of. There is value in controlling over zealous friends and family from interfering in the ceremony by playing at being wedding photographers when they don’t have the knowledge or the skill, but if these photos are representative of the ‘professional’ photographer’s skill, focus/motivation and style it doesn’t communicate “I bring value to your wedding, you want me in control of recording your memories.” Instead it says “I care more about your friends not showing me up than I do about doing the job you’re paying me for.” The photographers are there to do a professional service to the bride and groom, The guests are there because the bride and groom like them, and they like the bride and groom. Treated with respect guests are going to follow a professional’s guidance, assuming the ‘professional’ acts with professionalism recognizing they are performing a service valued by their abilities and skill not their exclusivity. The idea that guests will enjoy the day more without photography should ring false to every person who enjoys photography which hopefully includes professional photographers (also if it were true professional photographers would be unemployed).

  14. Becky

    I feel like we really have to spell it out for guests these days… People don’t understand what unplugged means… My own mother said “what? I don’t have a cord.” I think we need to clearly ask people to turn off all phones and cameras

  15. Bonnie Marie

    Showing people with actual photos makes the point even clearer (I hope!) Another good point to explain is how guest emotions during the ceremony cannot be captured if the guest has a cell phone in front of their face. Nonetheless, unplugged weddings are still difficult to enforce although in Italy where I work most locations have dodgy wifi so people lose their devices early on ?

  16. Kristen

    I requested the guests at our wedding to be unplugged during the ceremony… one of my bridesmaids wrote a cute poem that I put into the program. I asked that people dont take pictures until after our first kiss. I wanted the focus to be on us… and the real reason we were all gathered… we were getting married! However, I didn’t want guests to feel they couldn’t take pictures. It turned out really well.

  17. Greta

    We asked our guests to keep their phones put away so they could actually BE there as witnesses. It’s a shame to go to an event just to miss it because you’re focused on your phone. Weddings, school plays, graduations – they all apply. Turn the damn phone off and BE in the moment!

  18. Daniel Chris

    Haha ! I have faced many of these over the last few years. Requesting the client to opt for unplugged wedding now a days is getting complicated. However, getting used to these, I have never let them get in the way of my final shot.

  19. Matt

    Let’s be honest-how many of the guests are just taking pictures to take pictures, or have a good Instagram post? Is that worth stepping out into the hired, professional photographer’s shot? Also, as a guest, it’s so frustrating when someone holds their phone up or out and completely obstructs your view.

  20. Dan Thurgood

    I recently posted an example photo of guests attempting to video the first dance (in almost zero light) on their iPhones instead of just enjoying it. The couple were lit by my off-camera flash units and looked amazing. They were surrounded by about 20 phones. I felt the image suffered as a result. The couple barely noticed the phones and just gushed over how they looked. I think it’s important to remember that most couples are of precisely the generation who also record everything on their phones for instant sharing gratification. This may well be an age based thing. I should point out that on seeing my image, most photographers just picked it to bits on technical reasons and said I shouldn’t expect guests to behave in a way that suits me. I think there was something in that too. 🙂

  21. Hamid Minhas

    Great article. The debate really is about if restrictions could be put on guests without offending anyone. Of course technology has come a long way but of course knowledge that a professional photographer has is invaluable.

  22. Uzma Raj

    I think that by having an unplugged wedding one of the biggest benefit would be that guests will actually talk to each other and the obvious that photographers and videographers will get space to do their job.

  23. Vanessa

    I think this is such a great idea. I beeyvividlg remember several important events where I recall lookin around at my family and friends and seeing people’s head down in their phones.. not a good feeling and totally took away from the moment. I’ll absolutely be having an unplugged wedding- just for the rehearsal dinner and actual ceremony. Then people can do whatever they want. I don’t think that’s too much to ask of guests.

  24. Gareth Stott

    If any guests are offended by being asked to put their phones away, they are welcome to not attend our wedding.

  25. Anorda Photography

    I can understand how grandma might not realize that her iPad is going to look silly in her grandchilds wedding photos but other guests should be more aware and shouldn’t have their cell phones out while the bride is walking down the aisle.

  26. Steve Feeney

    So easy to get distracted by technology. We would always advise couples to ‘unplug’ and ask their guests to live in the moment!


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