No Phones Allowed: The Ins and Outs of Unplugged Weddings

Published by Claire Gould on

Beautiful images by Ellie Cooper on Unsplash

In the age of technology and social media, it is difficult to imagine a snap-free ceremony or special event where devices are not allowed.

However, ‘unplugged weddings’ have long been a popular trend, with 75% of Brit couples admitting they are having – or considering – a ceremony without phones or cameras. The only ‘invitee’ that’s allowed to document the big day with a device is the professional photographer.

As with all things, unplugged weddings come with their fair share of positives and drawbacks.

Lake District Country Hotels, owners of luxurious Lake District and Cumbria wedding venues, touch on the pros and cons of a device-free ceremony while offering tips on how to inform your guests you’re opting for unplugged celebrations.

The benefits of an unplugged wedding

Bear in mind that there are many variations on this relatively recent concept.

Whether it’s a ‘no photo policy’ for the vow-exchange moment only or a ‘social media ban’ for the entire celebration, unplugged weddings exist in different shapes and forms.

Whatever your take on this trend, the decision to forbid phones and Instagram from your ceremony has a number of advantages.

Groom and bride at a colourful vibrant wedding

Keeps people’s attention on the event

Without phones and cameras at hand, your guests will have the chance to truly immerse themselves in the big day that you’ve spent months to perfect.

Sarah Bryning, Wedding Coordinator at Briery Wood Country House Hotel, said: “You have put a lot of effort into organising your special event, so you don’t want your invitees to be checking their Facebook feed as you make your way down the aisle.

“By asking your guests to put their devices away during pivotal stages of the ceremony – or even for the full day – you can create a more intimate, unique atmosphere. This is because you’ll all be able to focus and enjoy those once-in-a-lifetime moments.

“As soon as the phones are out, cameras flashing, and social media updated with posts and pics, you might lose that element of genuineness.”

Allows for a private wedding

It is important to remember that it’s you and your better half tying the knot. So, ultimately, it is up to you as a couple to decide how and when memories are shared.

Opting for an unplugged wedding will allow you to kiss your partner and slice the cake without it being live-streamed or shared all over the internet.

In short, it means that your privacy is respected, and it allows you to pick your favourite snaps after the wedding and choose what to disclose to the rest of the world.

Better professional photos

Yes, phones and cameras have evolved over time. But this doesn’t mean your auntie’s photographic skills will have improved too.

Banning devices on your wedding day and relying on a professional photographer will help you capture unforgettable moments that aren’t grainy, dark, or unflattering.

What’s more, by asking your friends and family to be unplugged during the celebrations, your photographer won’t have to worry about invitees obstructing their shots or camera flashes glaring in the background.

Prevents noises and distractions

If you don’t feel comfortable asking your guests to ditch their phones for the entirety of the day, you may still want to encourage them to silence their devices.

In theatres and cinemas, audiences are asked to turn down the volume on their phones to avoid interruptions during the show. So why shouldn’t you do the same?

This will minimise the risk of phones ringing as you recite your vows or disrupting crucial moments throughout the day.


The downsides of an unplugged wedding

Even though unplugged weddings have a wide range of advantages, they may not be every couple’s cup of tea.

Here are some of the reasons why a device-free ceremony may not work for everyone:

Guest disappointment – There is a chance that many of your guests will have been looking forward to your special day for a long time. So, they might feel upset or frustrated about not being able to use their phones or cameras to capture moments of the wedding they would like to hold onto for years to come.

Limited engagement – Some invitees might want to take pictures and share updates of the ceremony with loved ones who – for whatever reason – are not able to attend the wedding. If the event is unplugged, out-of-town friends and relatives might miss out completely on the unfolding celebrations.

Reduced flexibility – Did you have to leave your pooch with a dogsitter? Have your friends taken their toddler to their parents’ home and want regular updates? An unplugged wedding might limit people’s flexibility to handle personal matters, whether it’s monitoring childcare or staying connected with other impelling commitments.

How to keep everyone smiling at a phone-free wedding

If you are keen on the idea of an unplugged wedding but want to keep your guests happy, make sure to inform them about your plans in advance.

For example, you could mention it in your wedding invitations, display tongue-in-cheek signs throughout the venue, or ask one of your trusted invitees to make an announcement before the celebrations begin.

A couple of days after the event, as your guests wait for all the official wedding photographs to be ready, think about forwarding them a handful to whet their appetite.

Alternatively, you could bring in a photo booth for the reception where your friends and family can snap some instant photos to take home that same evening.

Whatever you choose, make sure it is what you and your better half truly want. If you would love an unplugged wedding where devices are forbidden for a few hours, so be it – if you’re happy, your guests are bound to be delighted too!

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.


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