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So this isn't necessarily about saving money but it's something that has been abundant in the bridal world lately and I wanted to share my personal take on it and my little DIY that I did to address our request at our ceremony.

I have found that with this wedding, we’ve come across a few tough decisions. I may not have experienced the “letting go” of a bridesmaid but I did have to ask a guest/once-upon-a-time-friend that it was best she not attend in light of some behavior that started the day we got engaged. But that’s not what this post is about. This one is about photography.

You’ve probably seen a few things out there on pinterest by now about photography and brides and grooms choosing to have an unplugged wedding. My initial reaction was *gasp* NO! As a guest I want to be snapping away …

The wedding photographer in me slapped the guest in me and said “Listen to yourself! That’s all you’ll be doing! You’ll be snapping pictures, not paying attention ‘fully’ to the ceremony, and you’ll be hiding behind a camera or phone the entire time. You won’t be ‘present’ and in the photos, you’re face will be covered by your own phone/camera and if you get antsy to get ‘that shot’ of your own, you’re going to get in the way of the professional photographer and possibly ruin the shot of the first kiss …let alone what their FLASH does to the pro's photos!!! GAH!!!”

A perfect example of how a guests' flash at your wedding (phone or camera) can and WILL ruin the shot ... there is NO amount of editing to fix this.  Read the article here:
A perfect example of how a guests' flash at your wedding (phone or camera) can and WILL ruin the shot … there is NO amount of editing to fix this.
Read the article here:

After said conversation with myself, I brought it up to my fiancé to see what his feelings on this were. I was surprised when he was totally on board to be “unplugged” at our ceremony. We both agreed – we don’t want everyone to be busy on their phones or even have them out for that matter. This is a BIG moment and we want them present and a part of this. Sure we’re doing this for us, but if we didn’t want them involved, we’d have gone to the courthouse. We invited you – we want you to put down the phones and cameras, stay in your seat, and listen. Let the guys who we hired be in charge of taking the photos.

I CRINGE!! I don't wat to see THIS when I walk down the aisle!! I want to see your FACES!!! Source:
I CRINGE!! I don't wat to see THIS when I walk down the aisle!! I want to see your FACES!!!

Part two: going viral. We did NOT want photos of our ceremony posted all over Facebook before we even had a chance to see them, for one. Secondly, there are people who we did not invite to our wedding who I do not, I repeat DO NOT, want to see photos from our day. We are okay with photos from the reception posted online but the ceremony – it’s intimate, it’s private and it’s a part of our lives we are inviting only 80 people to be a part of. We will have photos to share with family who can’t make it and that’s why we have a videographer (a friend who works with me in my photography business who is working at a low rate for us). Point being, this is our wedding day – and it’s not a public affair to be broadcast over the internet and Facebook. On this, we both feel very VERY strongly.

Sure, Aunt D’s photos on her camera could get an angle the photographer didn’t grab … and I’ve had people say that their cousin’s wedding photographer didn’t get the first kiss and the only photo they have of that is from her camera she caught sitting in the front row. Kudos. Photography isn’t perfect, things go fast and yes, sometimes a photographer misses the kiss (so I tell my couples to always give me a nice long kiss, so I make sure I have it!). But this is a personal choice. One that we are not budging on.

There are TONS of apps out there to have people from your wedding upload photos and that’s awesome – I’d have no problem with that for the reception. There are signs at receptions that say “If you Instagram, use the hashtag #BLABLAWEDDING”. The thing is, as much as the internet and social networking is a part of our world, for our “middle of nowhere” wedding in the middle of the woods, I honestly want nothing more than to be completely unplugged and disconnected from social media for that day. And that includes my guests.

I even made a sign on a chalkboard that will be posted at the ceremony entrance …. I think it is a nice way of saying “put it away”.

My DIY chalkboard (it was a mirror but I painted it with chalkboard paint) and wrote on it with liquid chalk (which does NOT come off, BTW)
My DIY chalkboard (it was a mirror but I painted it with chalkboard paint) and wrote on it with liquid chalk (which does NOT come off, BTW)

How about you? What are your feelings on being “unplugged” at your wedding?

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About Jennifer

Jennifer is a 30-year old Professional Photographer & Federal Employee living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Aside from planning a wedding, she spends time with her fiance racing autocross and running her own business and traveling. Jennifer is engaged to John, the "boy from church youth group" who, after 13 years apart, found one another again and are now planning their intimate and budget savvy wedding for 8/31/13 at her mother's log home in the woods.

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  • Becki

    This thought had never crossed my mind until reading this, and now I can say I will definitely be having an unplugged ceremony. I’m paying good money for a photographer and I won’t have her photos ruined by guests getting in the way.

  • Sandy

    Oof, your sign reads as downright rude and demanding. I’ve see much more kind ways of wording the unplugged reception. Also, if you’re going to put a whole paragraph on that sign (that most people won’t read all of), why not print it on the programs and have those on guests’ seats? This site has some eloquent ideas:

    • This post really made me think about the whole concept of an unplugged wedding. I can’t imagine seeing the kind of scenario in that second photo – just terrible. But I wouldn’t want to come off too strong in enforcing this type of policy. I think we’ll go with one of the suggestions in the link you posted:

      At my best friend’s wedding, the rabbi asked the bride to turn around and face the audience after her parents walked her to the alter. At this time he said, “Everyone, get the photo you really want now, because we ask that your cameras remain off for the remainder of the ceremony.”

      To me this sounds like a great compromise and allows everyone to get that shot they would like!

  • Diana

    Have you seen the new Photo Etiquette Cards? They are a really clever and nice way to get the point across. I think the website is

  • Pingback: 5 Inspirational Links on Being Unplugged — the thinking closet()

  • Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    Jennifer, I loved this post! In fact, I loved it so much, I had to feature it in my weekly Friday Five post today. The theme of course was on “unplugging,” and I thought a post on an unplugged wedding day was super fitting considering I’m also doing a retroactive series right now on Our DIY Wedding. Worlds majorly colliding, too, because one of the few blogs I followed 4 years ago when planning my wedding was this one! The Budget Savvy Bride! The blog world just gets smaller and smaller every day, doesn’t it?

    Here’s a link to the post if you want to check it out:


    The Thinking Closet

  • Jasmin

    I hope this isn’t too late to fix, but “professional” is spelled wrong.

  • Rayanna

    Hi, Thanks for the post, and for the pic of the sign you made. I’m saving the picture to use for my inspiration board (I won’t put it on pinterest as it doesn’t have your info on it), hope that’s OK. I wanted to let you know though that there’s a geotag on the pic of the sign. You might want to remove it. And, you can delete this comment.


  • David Roddy

    I used Photo Etiquette Cards for my wedding, and guests actually listened. My photographer suggested that I buy them. She made more money, and my guests simply enjoyed the event.

  • Pingback: Why you should have an 'unplugged' wedding.. part 2 - Richard Olpin Photography()

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