The Unplugged Ceremony

 
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Wedding Wednesday with Em | Virginia Wedding Photographer


Today’s Wedding Wednesday with Em post is a touchy subject. So I want to start by saying that I have seen a lot of things at weddings and I say all of this with love and respect for my couple’s wedding day. I feel that it is my job to educate my clients so that I can provide them with the best photography experience for their wedding. I know that this can be a touchy subject because you may not realize how it can affect your ceremony or you may want your guests to take “extra” photos of your day.

You are also probably wondering why your vendors recommend an “unplugged” ceremony and what it is. An unplugged ceremony is requesting that your guests put away their tablets, phones, and other devices that could cause a distraction during your ceremony.

That may sound a bit strict, especially coming from a photographer, but I have some reasons you may consider this approach for your ceremony. I could keep you here all day with the wildest stories from previous weddings but instead I will tell you my top reasons, benefits, and tips on how to have an unplugged ceremony.

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Preserves the Emotion

Having an unplugged ceremony helps with preserving the raw emotion of what the ceremony represents. You want the focus to be you two pledging your life to one another and not “who can get the best photo of the happy couple for Facebook and Instagram”. Sometimes guests are more focused watching the ceremony through their phone screen and it can strip away the romantic feel of your ceremony.

Often times alarms and calls go off while guests are videoing and taking photos, taking away from the emotion of the ceremony. We have witnessed many calls and alarms going off during the bride processional, prayers, and other parts of the ceremony. Having an unplugged ceremony keeps the intimate emotions and feel for the ceremony that you imagined for your day!

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Removes Distractions

This is a big reason to have an unplugged wedding day. James and I have had SEVERAL guests get up all at once from their seats and walk in the isle just to get shots of the couple about to kiss. I’m not making that up… We have almost missed ceremony moments because of guests holding up tablets, phones, their personal cameras and jumping in our way!

Unfortunately, if this happens there is nothing we can do. I’m sure you don’t want me to interrupt the ceremony to say “Hey Aunt Bee needed her phone photo right as you kissed, can you kiss again so I can grab that shot for your gallery?”. You may laugh and think oh that could never happen!! Its happened to me…

I can also promise you that I will not push or shove your family or friends if they do jump in the isle with their devices! However, if a guest jumps in front of us for shots you will miss those in your final gallery. These distractions are not only affecting the other guests and wedding vendors (that you invested good money hiring), its a distraction for your bridal party, pastor, and you two!

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Leave It To The Professionals

You have invested your time and money on a photographer and maybe a videographer too for your day. Having an unplugged ceremony allows your wedding vendors to do their job well. If we can focus on getting the shots without worrying about guests and other distractions it really helps! I know that your guests are so excited to be there and witness such an exciting time in your life.

Having an unplugged ceremony takes the pressure off of them and helps your guests be fully present and enjoy the moment with you. When your wedding professionals are able to do their job properly, you and your guests will be able to relive those ceremony moments through your final gallery and video.

Instead, encourage your guests and family to capture cocktail hour and the reception with their devices and make sure they use your hashtag! That way you can see the reception through their eyes!

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How To Have An Unplugged Ceremony

So hopefully I have given you some things to consider and think about for your ceremony! If you have decided you want an unplugged ceremony I want to share the best way to implement this approach. Many of our past couples have had an “unplugged” sign made for their ceremony entrance but some guests may not pay attention to the sign or even see it!

So I always recommend having your pastor announce at the beginning of the ceremony for all your guests to be mindful of your request. This makes your request to have an unplugged ceremony very clear for your guests to understand and respect your wishes. Your planner can help with coordinating this with guests and pastor as well so that you can relax and your enjoy your day!


I hope this is helpful and I hope that you consider having an unplugged ceremony! James and I highly recommend this so to our couples. We have seen so many wedding guests go “above and beyond” to get their photos. We have actually had to change our typical ceremony set up and deliver some images that we feel doesn’t do the ceremony justice.

We absolutely will not make a scene if guests do step in front of us but it makes our job much harder. We are all so used to being attached to our phones (James and I included) that it seems normal to capture every moment of every day.

You have invested so much time in planning and hard earned money on your wedding day. So put the pressure of capturing everything and all the moments on your wedding photographer and videographer. Sharing an unplugged ceremony with your guests allows them to be fully present and respectful of your investment. After all, this day is about the life long commitment you two are making, not your guests’ posts on social media.

Until next time,

Emily