bride and groom wedding ceremony exit with guest iPad blocking view of the aisle

Why You Should Have an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

Picture this: You’re walking down the aisle, your fiancé is standing at the end looking back at you and you take a step towards them… Only for half of your guests to jump up with their phones out to snap a picture. The photographer is trying to get shots of the two of you, but instead must compete with everyone’s iPhones and, yes, iPads. Sounds horrendous, right? If it does, you need an unplugged wedding ceremony! In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about having an unplugged wedding. Keep reading for tips on how to politely ask your guests to put away their devices, and for some examples of those important but interrupted moments that will make you want an unplugged wedding too! 

What is an “unplugged wedding”?

An unplugged wedding is where guests are asked to put away their phones/cameras for the duration of the ceremony. This means no photos, no videos, and no social media posts! Why would you want to do this? There are a few reasons: 

Firstly, it allows your professional photographer to do their job (that you’ve paid them to do!) without being hindered by the various models of Apple and Android devices clogging up the view of the aisle. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve had guests holding out their full-size, subtle-as-a-brick iPads to try and snap their shot. And let’s face it, their’s is going to be far inferior to the one that I would be getting anyway! 

Turns out it’s not just for ceremonies!

Secondly, it allows your guests to be fully present for your wedding. They can actually watch and listen to the ceremony instead of trying to capture it through a lens. This is especially important if you’ve asked close friends or family members to participate in readings or other aspects of the ceremony. (Note: it seems that this trend needs to extend into confetti time too, over and over again I’m seeing guests more interested in trying to get a quick video or picture on their phones instead of actually being in the moment and part of the confetti toss!)

Unplugged weddings are becoming more popular with couples who have invited additional evening guests, as they don’t want pictures from their day being plastered all over Facebook before the evening guests have had a chance to see for themselves.

It’s all about the wedding merch.

A quick online search will bring up lots of ideas for cute little signs you can have up at the entrance to your ceremony, to let your guests know that these are your wishes. If this isn’t enough for the snap-happy Uncle Bobs of the family, you can ask your registrar or celebrant to make the announcement when they do their housekeeping speech before the wedding takes place (when they announce what will happen during the ceremony, the fire exit strategy, etc.)

If you’re on the fence about whether to have an unplugged ceremony, I hope this blog post, along with the photographic examples, has helped sway you in the right direction! It’s not being difficult to ask your guests to pocket their devices, and it will be so worth it when you look back at your wedding photos and see everyone’s happy smiling faces.

Need a photographer for your unplugged wedding? I would love to chat with you. Contact me here!

For more wedding tips & advice from an experienced photographer who has captured 130+ weddings, have a look at my blog.