The Top 5 Reasons To Have An Unplugged Ceremony (And How To Explain The Concept To Your Guests)


Celebrity wedding planner David Connolly from Rich Bride, Poor Bride has joined Weddingbells as a guest blogger answering all of your burning wedding-related   questions. Need some help with the planning process? Have a question   about etiquette, organization or budgeting? Post your question in the   comment field below and we’ll forward it directly to David.

Here is this week’s reader question:

Q: “I am getting married in 18 months and I would like to “ban” cameras from the wedding and reception. I do NOT want photos of my wedding posted on Facebook without my consent and to be honest, I am paying a very large sum of money to a professional photographer so it should be ME that gets to share photos of my wedding, not other people. We are happy to provide professional photos to anyone who wishes to have them for their own personal use.  How should I deal with this situation?” – Jen Gibson

A: Jen, congratulations to you and your fiance on your engagement.

Out of the billions of people in the world, you found each other and decided life would be better if you spent it as husband and wife.  Out of the billions of people in the world, you will invite a trusted community of friends and family to become the ‘public’ legally required to witness you proclamation. Gather them with one common goal:  to clearly remember the moment you proclaim to love one another forever.  You see, forever lasts quite a while, so there is a possibility one of you might forget how you felt in that moment, for a moment, but fear not, someone from your carefully nurtured, chosen public will be able to remind you because they were fully present, in the moment.

I have a feeling Jen, you’re wondering, “What the heck does that have to do with ME and my private event that we PAID for?”  Well, the crux of your issue is a fear of guests acting contrary to your wishes and without your consent. Can you identify those people on your guest list?  If so, change your guest list.  If not, change your perception. Imagine every single person in attendance is on your side. They  believe in your union enough to prioritize their plans for that day in order to support you. They got their hair done, shelved their grudges, and blamed the cleaner for shrinking their ‘good suit’ that buttoned last summer just fine. “Be our guest” means “You are welcome to do as you wish, without condition.”  The more love, respect and credit you give them, the more you are likely to receive.

Also, if it is potential social media activity that is causing you such anxiety, delete, click.  Pretty simple.  Too cold turkey?  Do you spend more than the average 19 minutes per day on facebook?  No worries, you have time to ease off it for a few months and still have a whole year before the wedding to allow the acts of sabotage and betrayal you mention to dissolve as concerns. Just think of the extra planning time you’ll gain!  Perhaps over time, you’ll wonder what gave you reason to believe strangers cared enough about your candid pictures to form an opinion.  And if they did, why you would care?  Most importantly, cyber abstinence will allow you, without hint of hypocrisy to include a message in the program similar to, “As your full presence is our present, this ceremony will be ‘unplugged.’”

If you choose to remain ‘friends’ with the 500 million Facebook users worldwide who have uploaded over 4.1 billion photos to the site, then do so — for better or for worse.  Meaning, with the exception of your unplugged ceremony, people may take as many pictures as they want.   In the blink of an eye those images become memories of the people in them and you are going to want proof when you tell your kids about Aunt Charlotte’s reversible gold lame / leopard-print bolero jacket, Darlene’s dress that was too high, too low, too tight and OMG white, and Viv’s hat — so big she needed two ceremony chairs reserved.  It’s your family’s legacy. Be flattered. Be grateful.  And for heaven’s sake, do not turn anyone away from your ceremony if they have made an effort to be there.

Best of Luck, David Find me on Facebook at

Top 5 Reasons To Have An “Unplugged Ceremony” 1. Pro photographers’ pics are compromised by competing camera flashes  and the domino effect of shooters trying to shoot around shooters. 2. Not being able to identify guests in the pro shots because their faces are obscured by phones and cameras. 3. The audible distraction of whirl, click, snap crackle pop as guests  power up and down and occasionally push “ringtone” instead of “mute.” 4. Most agree that only well-honed professionals can experience what they  are shooting fully through a lens.  The rest of us detach ourselves  from the present as we try to chronicle the past for use in the future. 5. This is a once in a life time event and you have not been invited as  paparazzi.  You have been invited to SHARE the ceremony with the COUPLE,  not the world wide web.

There is never an appropriate time during a wedding ceremony to have anything in your hands but someone else’s or a hankie. – David Connolly