Considering An Unplugged Ceremony


Sometimes it feels like the “pics or it didn’t happen” mentality has gotten out of control. Everywhere you look, people are documenting every minute of their day, and wedding ceremonies are no exception.

For couples who value their guests’ full attention during their ceremony, it’s beneficial to have an “unplugged ceremony”, meaning that guests are politely asked not to take pictures or use devices during their ceremony.

You may love the idea of having their guests capture your wedding in a way that can instantly be shared to social media, but while it’s fun scrolling through Facebook pictures of your guests having a blast on the dance floor, a wedding ceremony usually has a different vibe.

First and foremost, a wedding is about the ceremony. This is the part of the day where you become husband and wife! It’s kinda the main event, and it’s filled with lots of firsts. It’s probably the first time you’ve seen all of their friends and family in one place together. It’s the first unveiling of your in her wedding dress, your first kiss as husband and wife, and your first introduction as a married couple.

Between all of those firsts, the prayers, traditions and heartfelt vows, a wedding ceremony is filled with lots of important moments! During these special moments, there’s nothing worse than being distracted by a room full of phone camera flashes and ring tones.

Of course, it’s your ceremony and it should be exactly how you imagine it! I didn’t write this blog post to convince you to have an unplugged ceremony. I just want to make sure you consider the options, have the best possible experience, and LOVE every aspect of your ceremony!

The Mood Killer

The doors open. You see your groom at the end of the room. You look side-to-side expecting to see your friends and family smiling back at you. Instead, you see 50 colorful phone cases and 10 giant iPads pointed in your direction. Not what you imagined, huh?

You can’t exactly blame your guests for wanting pictures of you walking down the aisle, but the reality is…their dark and blurry phone pictures weren’t worth it. And when a guest dives out into the center aisle to take a great shot on their phone, not only does it make it tough for your photographer to do their job, but for most couples, looking out onto a sea of cell phones is just not the experience they had in mind.

Think about it…

If 90% of your guests take a picture at some point during your ceremony, and 20% take several pictures or long videos, that’s A LOT of screens in the air.

unplugged ceremony

Letting Your Guests Know

There are two popular ways to tell your guests about your unplugged ceremony:

  1. Have your officiant announce this before your ceremony begins
  2. Place a sign at the entrance of the ceremony space

In addition to this, you could also…

  • Include a message on your wedding website. Some people may miss it, but it will set the expectation early for those who notice.
  • Make a note in your program

Remember that there’s a lot going on, and you may need to place the message in more than one place for it be noticed. After reading it several times, it will start to sink in that this whole “living in the moment” thing is really important to you today!

Unplugged weddings are becoming increasingly popular, so chances are, your guests have seen this before and won’t be offended. Be sure to remind them that after the ceremony, their devices are welcome during the rest of the wedding.

unplugged wedding

Be Gentle With Wording

It can be tricky to come up with the words to explain exactly why you’re taking away your guests’ digital life line, but don’t overthink it. Be gentle and positive. Use words that make it sound like a suggestion instead of a requirement. Kindly suggesting it’s importance to you will be enough for most guests to respect your wish.

Don’t be afraid to lighten the mood with humor. Poke fun at the fact that we’re all addicted to our phones or would go to extreme measures to get the perfect Instagram picture.

  • “As a curtesy, please turn off all cameras and phones during the ceremony. Resist temptation. Stay strong. We believe in you.”
  • “Please no camera phones, iPads or drones.”

Focus on explaining why you want them to be fully present during your ceremony, and that their cameras and phones are welcome at the reception.

  • “Welcome to our unplugged ceremony. We invite you to be fully present with us during our ceremony. Thank you for being here!”
  • “Thanks for joining us for our unplugged ceremony. Please turn off your phones as we share this moment together. Photos are welcome at our “plugged-in” reception!”
unplugged ceremony

Trust Your Photographer

Remember that the reason your guests want to take pictures on their own cameras and phones is because they want the ability to re-live your ceremony. While you trust your photographer and have hired them to capture your memories, your guests may be unsure that they’ll get to see your professional photos.

Talk to your photographer about how you can easily share your photos with your friends and family. I always deliver a few previews photos from a wedding day just a few days after the wedding. Guests love this fast turn around time almost as much as my couples do! It may be helpful to tell your guests ahead of time (on your wedding website for example) that they’ll get to see many of your professional photos and that you’d be happy to share them personally or on social media later on.

Assuring your guests that you’ve hired someone to save the wedding ceremony memories will ease their fear of forgetting what you looked like coming down the aisle, or standing at the end of it, or having your first married kiss.

  • “Kindly turn off your cameras and cell phones during the ceremony. We promise to share with you the many beautiful photos captured here today!”

Added Benefits of Going Unplugged

Going out of your way to mention that having an uninterrupted ceremony is important to you will make guests more likely to leave the room when a baby starts crying or kids are acting up. They’ll enter your ceremony will respect and a recognition of the day’s importance. Because after all, it’s your wedding day, and everyone there loves you. If you present the idea simply and with kind words, it’s a win-win for everyone!


Don’t overthink it!

Focus the wording on why you want them to be fully present during your ceremony

Tell your guests that they’ll soon have access to professional photos from your ceremony


Related Blogs

5 Tasks NOT To Save For The Week Of Your Wedding

3 Tips for the Morning of Your Wedding Day

My Biggest Wedding Day Tip!


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