Does a bride have the right to ban all photos at her wedding?

How many times have you opened you Facebook and seen:

“Congratulations to Mr and Mrs. XX, what a great wedding!!!”

Captioned above a photograph of a smiling couple, not looking at the camera, at an awkward angle, a bit fuzzy, brides mouth open really wide, taken from the user’s iPhone?

First reaction; wow she got married! 

Second reaction; where are more photos? How can I see her dress properly? Why can’t I find any other photos!? Ooh, she’s not going to like that shot.

Some couples will have none of this.

Brides and grooms are banning guests from taking photos at their wedding (in some cases, going so far as to confiscate phones at the door) in the name of having an ‘unplugged’ celebration.

What’s your biggest wedding regret? Find out the regrets of the Mamamia team below (post continues after video).

We want to know; is this the happy couple just owning their day or is it OTT Bridezilla territory? 

“The priest told us at the start of the ceremony ‘the couple requests no posts to social media and no photos taken from phones during the ceremony and reception’,” an anonymous ‘unplugged’ wedding-goer told Mamamia. “He didn’t give a reason, and the couple didn’t explain why.”

There are several possible reasons. Maybe it’s because the couple hope guests will experience the wedding ‘in the moment’, and not by watching the whole thing through an iPhone screen.

Maybe it’s got something to do with the professional photographer, who doesn’t want guests-who-think-they’re-Annie Leibovitz to get in the way of their professional work.


Maybe it’s because the bride and groom don’t want any photos of the wedding released on social media before the professional shots are made available therefore losing their big reveal.

But do these reasons make it right?

Professional wedding photographer Thomas Stewart wants all weddings to be phone-free. Image via Thomas Stewart Photography.

"I did feel that restricting the photos we could take – particularly when we were all dressed up and enjoying the day as well – a bit rude. It made me feel subversive, and my husband just wanted to post on Instagram the whole time," our anonymous wedding goer explained. "It felt like they were dictating our enjoyment of the day."

The idea of an unplugged wedding might seem romantic and all-inclusive to the couple themselves. To the guests however, it doesn't always appear that way.

"There were a lot of raised eyebrows – like, ‘oh really?’ – I think all the under 30s in the room just expected to be able to document the wedding on social media," the wedding guest explained. "We were made to feel like we were at a red carpet event with celebrities worried about their photo being taken. What’s wrong with casual fun photos from guests?"

But, initial shock aside, did the tough call pay off in a fun, in-the-moment, 'unplugged' event?

"It did mean I didn't keep my phone on me all the time. I left my handbag at the reception and didn’t think about it all night, which was a good thing and everyone enjoyed themselves. One thing I did miss was jumping on the social hashtag the next day and seeing what everyone else captured in the night."


"At my wedding, I did the opposite and used a specific hashtag to encourage people to take social media photographs," she added. "It turned out that some of my favourite photos of the day were taken by random people and not the professional photographer. It’s always great to see how other people saw the day, and the moments they captured without us."

Is the happy couple actually missing out on the best shots with an unplugged wedding? Image via iStock.

All this this begs the question: Has our digital culture changed the way we celebrate, share our happiness, and congratulate people? And is this necessarily a bad thing?

Taking photos at a wedding is hardly done out of spite, or negativity. It's considered a way to participate, show appreciation, join in and create memories.

On the other hand, couples spend a dear sum of money hiring a professional photographer to capture the best, most precious moments of the day. They also arrange drinks, a meal, a party for guests, etc. Does this make it their prerogative to also dictate the way guests enjoy these moments?

Whatever your position on the wedding-unplugged etiquette. I, for one, hope it doesn't become too much of a trend – otherwise, how am I meant to find out which Facebook friends have been married recently; in exactly what dress; if there was any gossip from the night; and who was invited (when I clearly wasn't!).