Why Putting Phones Away Can Totally Transform Your Big Day

What is an Unplugged Wedding?

Basically, an unplugged wedding is one where guests are asked to keep all their cell phones, devices, and cameras switched off and put away. It’s a growing trend and, as explained in an article by Brides, ‘When guests aren’t fixated on texting or capturing the money shot of the bride walking down the aisle, the event immediately grows in intimacy.’

Does it sound like a pretty daring concept in our hyper-connected world? Maybe, but here are some really good reasons to consider it:

Bride and groom sitting on a bench in a rustic courtyard on their wedding day

5 Reasons to Have an Unplugged Wedding 

You’ll have fewer noise distractions

While most people have the common sense to keep their phones on silent these days, there’s always that one person who forgets. And that’s usually exactly the same person who has the ironic Ricky Martin ringtone (why do the two always correlate?). So if the last thing you want is ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ blasting through the ceremony while you’re tearfully swapping rings, plan for an unplugged wedding pronto.

Guests will be more present and focused

You’ve both planned every single detail of your dress, suit, shoes, bouquets, and jewelry. You’ve written personal vows. The ceremony is arranged to perfection. And right behind you, at the most important moment of your life, your guests are fiddling with their cameras. They’re accidentally elbowing the person next to them to get a good shot. They’re wandering into the aisle. And your tiny, 4′9″ great aunt Rosa is desperately craning her neck to see you from behind a sea of flashing cameras.

Sure, it’s nice that people want to film and photograph your big day. But given that you’re probably hiring an official photographer and videographer, is it really necessary for every other guest to take their own snapshots too? Wouldn’t you rather that your family and friends were giving you their full, rapt attention, instead of worrying about camera angles and zooms? And maybe, deep down, that would be a huge relief to them as well.

You can create traditional or vintage vibes

You can create traditional or vintage vibes
Planning a vintage-themed wedding? Or just want a classic or traditional feel? Nothing is going to kill that timeless vibe quicker than people posing for Instagram shots in front of the dessert table. Because back in the ‘misty past’ (see pre-2000), people just weren’t tied to their phones or even cameras at weddings. Sleek cell phones don’t fit with any kind of retro vibe and look kind of absurd combined with whimsical or fairytale aesthetics. So whether your theme is the roaring ‘20s or swinging ‘60s, phones are the ultimate mood killer.


Your guests will connect with each other more

A wedding isn’t just the joining of two people—it’s also the joining of two families—which is why it’s important to get people chatting and mixing as much as possible. But no matter how much effort you make with table arrangements, if people are hiding behind their cell phones scrolling Facebook awkwardly, then they won’t be connecting. With an unplugged wedding, there’s nowhere to hide—people have to say ‘hi’ and brave the small talk. And once the ice is broken, they’ll all have a lot more fun twirling to ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ together.

It keeps your special day private

More and more, people are getting disillusioned with our oversharing social media era and craving a little privacy again. Meaning that not everyone wants that intimate first kiss, emotional wedding speech, or romantic first waltz blasted across Facebook or Instagram. With an unplugged wedding, you can feel confident that your private moments will stay private.

You’ll get better wedding photos

These days, wedding photographers are basically juggling two jobs—the first is taking beautiful shots of your dream day. The second is trying to get the best shots while competing with your guests, who might be constantly standing in front of them waving cameras. What’s more, harsh flashes from other people’s phones can ruin your official wedding pictures, as they are hard to remove in the editing process.
Another issue is the growing popularity of ‘editorial style’ wedding photography (think a photographer mingling among your guests taking candid and interesting shots). Ideally, these images should be capturing memorable moments of your loved ones glancing at each other, laughing, and having deep conversations. But you’ve guessed it—cell phones tend to ruin that. Because nothing makes for duller wedding pictures than guest after guest staring in glazed silence at their phones.

How to Ask Your Guests to Stay Unplugged

By now, you might have been convinced to give phones the heave-ho at your wedding and go for an unplugged event. But how do you convince your guests to get on board?

1. Communicate it clearly in the invites
A wedding invitation is more than just an invitation. It’s also a space for politely communicating your boundaries and expectations around your big day to your guests. So if you want your wedding to be unplugged, mention that at this early stage.

2. Be crystal-clear on what you mean by ‘unplugged’
Will it just be an unplugged ceremony or will the reception be phone-free too? Can guests put their phones away but keep them on vibrate, or should they switch them off completely? Will exceptions be made for certain people and under what circumstances?

3. Put notices up
It’s super easy in the excitement of a wedding day for people to forget the instructions on your invitation. So make sure that both your ceremony and reception spaces have large, clear signs politely reminding guests that your wedding is unplugged—and what that means exactly.

4. Have pre-arranged photo moments
If you want to meet people halfway, then one good option is to have specific time periods when people can take pictures. This could be right after the ceremony when everyone is gathering outside, or during cocktails, or during the later hours of the reception. This way, people can scratch the snapshot itch, while still keeping your wedding mainly unplugged. If you have a master of ceremonies, then they can make sure that these time slots are communicated to guests.

Ready For Your Big Day?

An unplugged wedding isn’t for everyone—it’s really about what works for you. But if you’d like a more present, connected, timeless vibe for your big day, then it could be the way to go. 

Whatever kind of big day you’re planning, Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove is the New Jersey wedding venue for you. Our iconic space has just recently had a makeover and has also been praised by New Jersey Bride, The Knot, and Wedding Wire. The Il Tulipano team will treat you like family, so get in touch with us today and let’s plan your dream wedding.


Want more wedding tips? Head over to our blog.