Growing trend to have wedding guests come 'unplugged'

Brides, grooms asking for no smart phones, other technology

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When Spring Smith-McKenney tied the knot, she focused on having an intimate affair.

"I wanted it to be personal. I wanted it to be about my husband and I," she said.

So guests found a message tucked into their invitations.

It read, "We respectfully ask that everyone consider leaving all cameras and cellphones off."

And not just off for the nuptials, but for the reception, too. It's known as an unplugged wedding, and couples nationwide are requesting, or even requiring, that guests turn off their tech. 

Abby Larson, creator of wedding website, says cutting out digital distractions, like texting, pictures and social media, is a growing trend.

"We have become a world that is so hyper-connected to everyone and everything, so an unplugged wedding allows you to sit and really listen and be a part of the festivities," explained Larson.

Powering down can start with pre-wedding prep, so photos of the bride don't spoil the big reveal.

"They still want their groom to see them in their gown for the very first time when the doors open," said Larson.

Anja Winnika with says some guests have even been asked to "check" their tech at the door, just like you would your coat.

"The reason being because at that point your guests certainly have no opportunity to be posting anything online," said Winnika.

Or, getting in the way of the photographer.

"If you don't capture that perfect moment, or if you do but somebody else's flash ruins the picture, there's nothing you can do to fix that afterwards," said Smith-McKenney.

Brides and grooms are also spreading the word on save the dates, wedding web sites, and ceremony programs.  Even a tasteful sign at the event is considered appropriate.

"A big no-no is, for example, you don't want to have an actual bouncer there, you know, controlling the scene," said Winnika.

The decision to go tech-free could offend some guests who prefer to stay plugged in.

"The best you can do is really explain to them the reason why you're having this unplugged wedding, explain to them the benefits, and hope that they understand," advised Winnika.

Smith-McKenney says her guests were happy to disconnect for the day.

"To be able to see their faces during the ceremony was, was really special," she said.

Wedding etiquette experts say if you do request that your guests "unplug", and someone needs to make a call for personal reasons, like to check on the kids, be sure to give them your blessing. 

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