When I first began photographing weddings, I had no idea what it meant to have an unplugged wedding ceremony. It seemed normal for at least half of the wedding guests to be holding up their phones, cameras, or even iPads to snap some photos during the ceremony. However, I soon realized what a distraction that is, not only for me as the photographer, but for the bride, groom, and every friend and family member. The flash from a guest’s camera can sometimes ruin a photo that the photographer is taking. Sometimes guests will even block a wedding photographer from getting the shot they need because they want to get a photo with their iPhone. A solution to this problem is having what is called an “unplugged ceremony.” This means that the bride and groom have asked all guests to keep their electronic devices either turned off or put away during the ceremony.
A wedding ceremony, whether religious or not, is a very meaningful moment in time. It is the bonding of two people. It deserves respect, and shouldn’t be tainted with the distraction of cell phones and cameras held in the air to take photos of the bride and groom. An unplugged ceremony may not be for everyone. However, if you think it may be for you, here are a few tips for having a successful unplugged ceremony.
#1. Announce it in your wedding invitation.
When you send out your wedding invitations, make sure to include a few short sentences letting your guests know that you will be having an unplugged ceremony and what that means. Assure them that they may take as many photos as they want at the reception, but that you would really appreciate it if they would refrain from doing so during the ceremony. Letting them know ahead of time reduces the chance of them being upset by the announcement the day of the wedding.
#2. Have your officiant announce it at the start of the ceremony.
Before anyone has made their way down the aisle, have your officiant ask all guests to please refrain from taking photos during the ceremony. Make sure that they make it clear that it is at the request of the bride and groom. Your guests are here because they love you. They are more likely to honor the request if they know that it came from you.
#3. Don’t be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings.
Your wedding is all about YOU. Most of your guests will want to respect your wishes. However, if someone complains that they were unable to take a photo of you during the ceremony, gently explain to them that you simply wanted them and everyone around them to be able to enjoy the moment without being distracted by technology. Remind them that your wedding photographer will be capturing every moment of your ceremony, and there is no need for guests to try to do the same thing. They should be able to relax and enjoy the day with you!
#4. Share your wedding photos with your guests.
If you have an unplugged ceremony, make sure to let your guests know how they can view the photos taken by your wedding photographer. Once you receive all of your wedding day photos, share them on social media or via email. This way they will be able to experience your ceremony without the distraction of their cell phones, but still have images that they can look at later.
I hope these tips help you decide whether or not to have an unplugged ceremony at your wedding. Remember that this is simply my opinion! If you have any questions that this blog post does not answer, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!