What is an Unplugged Ceremony & Why Have One?

Published by Sam, Editor -
What is an Unplugged Ceremony & Why Have One?

You’ve hired a professional wedding photographer, to well, take photos, so do you really want all your guests snapping away too?

In the day we live in now, we have phones that have 48 mega pixel cameras and the ability to instantly share photos with hundreds of friends via social media, it is no surprise that you constantly see guests snapping away and uploading photos. Even once loaded then they are constantly checking comments, likes, tweets the list goes on.

Unplugged Weddings: Ensure your Guests are ‘there’

Every family also has someone who is a hobbyist / wannabe pro photographer who has got the kit and loves to take a photo, you know who they are… telling you to get together for the group shot. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the dreaded selfie stick yet either!

So perhaps an unplugged wedding is the way to go?!

What does an unplugged wedding mean?

Simply put, an ‘unplugged’ wedding ceremony is one that asks or requires guests to not use their phone or cameras to take pictures during the ceremony. No social media, no phone, no cameras, just enjoy the moment and be present.

Why you should have an unplugged wedding?

For some this may not be an issue, it maybe part of their life and enjoy it,  however you may not realise till after your perfect day till when you see your official wedding photos captured by your photographer why this might be an issue to you.

Photo credit: eau claire photographics – The dreaded Selfie stick still taking over weddings around the world!

Some couples don’t wish to have their special day splashed over social media to people they don’t even know, couples want their guests to enjoy the day, appreciate the effort and planning that has gone into it, and have a good time. You want your guests to switch off from the outside world and enjoy the surroundings, let go and appreciate the day, viewing the day through their eyes and not an LCD screen.

You invited your guests to come and celebrate your love on this day so you want them to be ‘there’. Check out these 23 Photos that Will Make You have an Unplugged Wedding!

From a guests perspective it is almost a habit, almost a need to get a photo because everyone else is, they forget that you have hired a professional wedding photographer, they forget that it is about the people getting married, the people they love and that they can sit back and enjoy and appreciate the moment.

Photo credit: IQvideography – It is not just phones and cameras, it’s iPads too!

So I should Ban Phones?

Phones don’t need to be banned, if there is an emergency with your guests family or something urgent then people will want their phone on, your guests will be more relaxed knowing they can be contacted if their is anything urgent, especially if they have kids. If you were asked to leave your phone at home would you?

You may wish to kindly ask your guests to not take photos and keep their phones in their pockets just for the ceremony and while you walk down the aisle.

Speak with your wedding photographer, ask them if there are a few shots you can share with your guests not long after the wedding, this could be via social media or email, it doesn’t matter, just make sure your guests know they will be able to see some photos and can relive the day.

The Wedding Photographers view…

“I think it’s a great idea, especially when the bride is walking down the aisle.  People spend far to long looking from behind their phones, enjoy the moment for what it is. The bride & groom might also want the first images that go on Facebook to be from the official photographer and not from a guest.  It’s an exciting day but sit back, enjoy it and let the photographer worry about the images.” – Paul Williams, Manchester based Wedding Photographer.

“Nowadays because of the strong influence by media culture everything is online, instant and shared. Often couples who are getting married may wish to have a break from that and opt for the unplugged wedding. This is great if you wish to do your own thing and not follow the crowd. Of course family and friends may want to reach for their iPhone and snap away, however it’s important to respect the couples wishes and the ceremony. Phones, flash, clicks multiplied by the majority of guests who wish to photograph the wedding could be too much for some couples. ” – Charmaine Gittens, Scotland based Wedding Photographer.

3 Ways to kindly ask Your Wedding Guests to Put Away Their Phones…

Wedding Invite & Programme Note
Just a simple note on the invite or the wedding programme asking for all guests to kindly turn off there devices,   phones and cameras, this will prevent any unwanted ringtones going off, distracted guests and phones and cameras from being waved around. You could also follow this up with an announcement before the ceremony to as mentioned in the next point.

‘Clearly communicate with everyone beforehand that you wish to have a unplugged wedding so that there are no surprises. It is your wedding day so simply do what makes you both feel happy. ‘ – Charmaine Gittens, Scotland based Wedding Photographer.

An Announcement
Tying in with the first point the best man or a wedding official could politely ask your guest to not take photos as you have a wedding photographer who is capturing you special day, so sit back and enjoy the ceremony!

If you have a band or DJ you could also ask for them to remind your guests to hold back on photos of the first dance so that your wedding photos are not spoilt by guests holding up there phone or random bright lights from camera flashes.

Of course you can have a little fun when kindly informing them to put their phones away, you could put together a creative message on a sign and leave it outside the church or ceremony for guests to see, I’m sure you will no doubt see someone capturing a snap shot of it too on their phone!

‘I usually recommend a chalk board asking for people’s phones or basket for people’s phones.  Make it themed so it doesn’t appear rude or that you are “seizing” people’s phones.’  – Paul Williams, Manchester based Wedding Photographer.

Plugged or unplugged?

‘We wanted an understated, unplugged wedding that was a celebration of love and our commitment to one another, nothing else. The fundamental elements to our wedding was happiness, laughter and living in the moment. ‘ – Unplugged Bride

This article isn’t about telling you what you should do, but it is about an important consideration that many couples will not consider or even cross their mind, however it is too late when they see photos pop up on Facebook and guests holding up their phone in your photos captured by your wedding photographer.

You may read this and not be fussed and that is fine, however you may read this and you may not have thought about it or considered it, and that is what it is about, ensuring your day is as perfect as you want it to be after spending weeks planning every little detail. Do you need or want hundreds of photos captured by your guests?

Just remember you have decided to hire and pay for a professional wedding photographer to capture the story of your gorgeous wedding day. Make sure you get the best story and the best photos you can get.

So are you having an unplugged wedding? Do you care if your guests take their own photos? Wedding photographers, what are your views on unplugged weddings? 

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  1. louise

    We always advise our couples to opt for an unplugged ceremony. Photographers movements or where they can shoot from can already be quite heavily restricted by registrars or vicars- so when you have guests also trying to get their own photos it can be literally impossible at times.

    If someone steps into the aisle for a shot or has a device sticking out, there’s nothing your photographer can do and photoshop wont fix it. That window of opportunity for a great shot, just a second or two, has gone forever.

    What we always tell our clients is this:
    No one means to be in the way. Everyone thinks that they will “just be quick”, but unfortunately, none of us are mind readers. Often people are in the way and they’re never as quick as they need to be. Better to be safe than sorry and simply ask for no guest photography during your ceremony.

    Some couples choose to allow guest photography during this time and that is absolutely fine. As long as they are given the information, the decision is theirs to make.

  2. GreatPaper

    The problem of mobile phones is really topical. Unfortunately, very many people do not always understand the measures of propriety regarding our little friends. The fact that many are already in the “captivity” of smartphones, probably not for anyone not news. But I think that you are not able to prohibit phones at your wedding, but what about a professional wedding photographer, now there are many different ways to make great photos. Nowadays very many people give out a whole day, only for wedding photos and materials, it’s quite convenient, firstly you can make the best photos in different locations without fuss, and secondly, you completely release your important day from similar troubles, you are more will not worry for the camera’s lenses and for the quality of photos, because you have already solved this question :))


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