DeLong Photography Blog

Photographers providing authentic photographs, modern heirloom albums, and more for those who value a comfortable and fun experience 
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Available for travel.

Unplugged Weddings – Why and How-To

Unplugged Weddings

In case you are unfamiliar, unplugged weddings are when the bride and groom request that their guests restrict what they do and use on their cell phones during part or all of the day. This includes taking/posting photos or video, or playing games on their devices.

We couldn’t be more thrilled that this trend is taking off. In today’s social media-driven world, people are more concentrated on having something to share rather than being in the moment – even at weddings.

We support unplugged weddings, and have put together a few reasons you should consider making this request for your big day. We will also share some tips on how to execute your request without seeming too demanding. Let’s jump in!

Better Professional Photographs

With most couples investing a decent portion of their wedding budget into photography nowadays, this is incredibly important. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen guests stepping or leaning into the aisle; cell phone or iPad in hand. These guests end up blocking a clear shot of the some of the most expected images. Such as the bride walking down with her father, and the bride walking back down with her new husband.

As a photographer, it can become quite frustrating. We want to deliver for our couples, but guests sometimes impede on our ability to capture moments. While we understand everyone is just trying to get a picture of the bride and groom, and this day is exceptionally special, they are unfortunately in the way. We obviously try to make the best of every situation, and would never be rude to a guest. We just want to make it known that making this small request for an unplugged wedding can have a major impact on the final images you receive.

You Won’t Say Your “I Do’s” to the Back of Everyone’s Cell Phones

Just imagine standing hand-in-hand with your partner at the altar, and you look out into the crowd. You hope to see your closest friends and family staring back at you with great big smiles. Instead all you see is the back of everyone’s phones because they’re too focused on taking a photo of you. While some guests naturally won’t have their faces glued to their phones (hello Grandma!), many guests will be consumed by getting their angle and lighting perfect.

Guests Will Genuinely Enjoy the Ceremony

Isn’t that what you’re hoping for? You and your spouse-to-be have stressed, planned, and maybe even cried over all the details of this special ceremony. You want your guests to be engaged with the event, listening and witnessing it. Guests shouldn’t have their faces buried in their phones focusing on finding the right filter for the image they just snapped. Leave the photos to the pro you hired. Your guests should be able to give their full attention and love to you during this time.

Control Over Social Media Sharing and the Big Announcement

Most people nowadays also look forward to the big announcements on social media. This includes changing their “relationship status”, changing of last names (if applicable), and the first photos shared of the bride and groom. While some brides like me are a bit more laid back, others understandably want to be the first to show any images to the world. Depending on the restrictions you choose, guests may be requested to not take any photos the entire day, or just to not post any photos until the following day. Put some thought into what matters, or doesn’t matter, to you and decide from there.

If you’ve decided unplugged weddings are up your ally, here are a few tips on how to request this from your guests.

Include your Unplugged Wedding in Your Invites or on Your Wedding Website

Early notice is always a good thing! Giving a polite early warning of your request sets everyone up for success.

Ask your Officiant to Make an Announcement

If someone skimmed your invite, didn’t read your wedding website info, or just simply forgot, have your officiant make an announcement. This is not only a good reminder, but having an authority figure make the request can be quite helpful.

Put it in your Wedding Program

While it might start to feel like overkill, you never know what someone hasn’t read or paid attention to. Having a line about wanting guests to be fully present and relax should do the trick.

Have Wedding Signage

Signage has really taken off recently. It not only adds some personality to your day, but it’s a visually fun way to present information. Placing a sign at the law rows of seating, or on the walkway to the seating area should catch (most) everyone’s attention. If you’re looking for some custom signage, you can always visit Etsy, or check out my good friend Makenzie’s work at Son Flower Created.

Have a Photo Booth

This is a great way for guests to have pictures instantly on the day, and not have to focus on using their phone. Props can add a touch of fun, and guests get to enjoy interacting with each other. This is great no matter if the reception is technology free or not.

I hope you found this post helpful, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out! Happy planning!

Black and white image of Tim and Shannon DeLong of DeLong Photography in Riverfront Park park smiling at the camera

Connect with us!

To see daily updates of our current weddings and images, follow us on Instagram. You can also follow us on Facebook page, Twitter, and find plenty of inspiration on our Pinterest page.

Interested in having us photograph your wedding? Contact us!

comments +


Charlotte, North Carolina Wedding Venues




You'll receive a downloadable PDF on how to plan a wedding in 12 months, our latest insights, and more!