Should You Have an Unplugged Wedding?

The newest trend in weddings is not some sparkling bridal accessory or the color of the moment, but rather the unplugged wedding.

In this, the age of ubiquitous iPhone, it’s not unusual to have your view of the bride and groom blocked by some taller guest taking hundreds of snapshots with a tablet. Most of us have gotten used to the fact that at least one guest per wedding will be live-tweeting the ceremony and reception. But a growing number of couples are now asking guests to disconnect for a few hours – and the hope is that everyone will have a more meaningful, more enjoyable time in the process.

Wedding photographers in particular are advocating for the unplugged wedding. While a majority of wedding guests fancy themselves photogs, snapping away during the ceremony kiss and the first dance, there’s the question of whether they (or the couple) will ever even look at those Instagram pics. The professional photographer who is at the wedding to work, on the other hand, has a vested interest in getting the best shots – and isn’t there to enjoy himself or herself. Wedding guests, the notion goes, should put their gadgets away and just enjoy the wedding. They can always check out the “real” photog’s online gallery later.

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Other arguments for the unplugged wedding: Turning off phones means no chance of a ringtone interrupting the ‘I do’s. No chance of someone with their head down in a pew texting instead of listening to the couple’s original wedding vows. If guests aren’t taking pics, there’s no chance of unflattering cake smashing shots ending up on Facebook or Tumblr. The bride won’t have to deal with guests lining the aisle with iPhones held high.

But is it etiquette-appropriate to request that your wedding guests turn off (or even turn over) their digital devices for the duration of the event? I’ve heard stories of guests being asked to leave for violating no phone rules, but I’ve never actually been to a wedding where the couple requested that phones stay in pockets.

I don’t think I’d be particularly offended to see a politely worded request on the ceremony program, a la “The Bride and Groom request that guests turn off their phones for the duration of the ceremony and reception. The photographer will be posting photos online. Please just enjoy yourself.” But I also recognize I might be alone in that opinion!

Have you been to an unplugged wedding? Or are you planning one yourself?