What is an unplugged wedding ceremony? It’s when you politely ask your guests to refrain from snapping any photographs on their cell phones, tablets, or personal cameras over the course of your wedding day.
Why should you consider having an unplugged ceremony? You’re probably paying a photographer and videographer thousands of dollars to capture your wedding shots. You want those photos to capture your family and friends watching you walk down the aisle. You don’t want their phones to be blocking their faces, ruining your once-in-a-lifetime photos. And you don’t want their attention on social media when they should be listening to you recite your vows.
How should you enforce the rules of an unplugged ceremony? You can ask your officiant to make an announcement at the start of the ceremony, before your groom even steps toward the alter. You can also place signs around the venue, announcing you’re having an unplugged ceremony and asking guests to please refrain from snapping photos. If you’re worried some guests aren’t going to listen, you can throw even more warnings on your invitations and on your wedding programs to really drill the idea into their heads.
How long should the unplugged portion last? This is entirely up to you. You can let everyone take out their phones as soon as the reception starts. Or, if you don’t want phones covering faces in your first dance or cake cutting photos, you can ask them to put away their phones during main events. If they need to snap a photo before leaving, ask them to do it when you’re finished with your wedding duties and walking around, mingling.
What are the downsides to an unplugged ceremony? Professional photographers are going to take a few weeks (or even months) to return your pictures to you. If you need to have a photo of yourself walking down the aisle the day after your wedding to post on social media, then having an unplugged ceremony is going to take that opportunity away. However, you should keep in mind the photos your friends are going to take on their phones are probably going to be blurry and shot from a bad angle, unlike the ones you’re paying a professional to take for you.
What if my guests are upset they can’t take photos? If you think an unplugged ceremony is going to cause unnecessary drama at your wedding, you don’t have to have one. However, you can always remind your guests you’re going to be uploading every single one of your photographer’s photos into an album online so they don’t feel like they’re missing out on anything. They’ll still have plenty of pictures to show their friends and post on social media.
Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to have an unplugged ceremony is up to you and your spouse because it’s your wedding day. Some guests might not be happy with their table assignment or meal or the concept of an unplugged ceremony — but if they love you, they’ll understand. They’ll be okay as long as you’re happy.