The "unplugged" wedding trend skyrocketed to popularity in 2013 after one too many couples had their wedding photos ruined by guests blocking the photographer during the first kiss and other important moments. Not only can smartphone-wielding guests get in the way of must-have photos, a sea of smartphones during the ceremony often makes it feel like guests are less interested in your vows and more interested in documenting the day on their social media accounts. If you want to ban smartphone photography and social media sharing at your wedding, read on to find out how to do it without kicking up too much dust among your guests.
Strategize with your photographer. Guests take photos at weddings because they want to remember the special day, not because they're trying to be rude. With that in mind, announcing your intention to have a device-free wedding will go over much smoother with your friends if you talk to your photographer beforehand and ask him or her to provide a link to a small selection of photos that your guests can share on social media the day after the wedding. He or she may also provide guests with a link to the online album to purchase their favorite images from the day once all of the photos are ready. Pass that info along to any guests who are grumbling that they can't take their own photos.
Decide on the level of "unplugged." Would you prefer to to see your guests' faces -- instead of their phones -- as you say your "I dos" but don't care if they're snapping candids during the reception? Do you want to have a celebrity-style no-phones-allowed policy from start to finish? Are you OK with photos being taken but not going on Facebook? Talk it over with your spouse-to-be and choose a level of unplugged that suits you.
Tell your guests. There are several ways to do this: you can announce it in your wedding program, make a note on your wedding website, put up a sign at your ceremony location, or ask your bridal party to spread the word. Even if you post the announcement elsewhere, we still recommend that you have your officiant make an announcement reminding guests before the ceremony begins.
Appoint someone to enforce the rules. Don't underestimate the sneakiness of a guest with an Instagram addiction! Ask a member of the bridal party with good people skills to keep watch at your wedding and enforce the unplugged rules (politely, of course).