Having an unplugged wedding ceremony
Now that just about everyone carries around a cell phone or device with a camera attached to it, many couples are opting to have an “unplugged wedding ceremony.” What exactly is an unplugged wedding ceremony you ask? Basically, it’s where your family and friends are fully present for your ceremony instead of viewing it from behind the screen of their smartphone, device, or camera. It means walking down the isle and actually SEEING the happy and supportive faces of your loved ones, instead of being met with distracting and impersonal cameras, flashes, and mobile devices. After being part of hundreds of weddings, I can honestly say that unplugged wedding ceremonies have a completely different feel from ceremonies where everyone, including grandma is holding up an electronic device. When Andy and I planned our own wedding last summer this was a non-negotiable point for us. We have some very well intentioned family members whom if allowed, would have spent the entire ceremony snapping away photos from behind their cameras. These are family members who we love and wanted to witness our ceremony, not worry about photo-ops. Because we were highly invested in having great wedding photography, we knew that our wedding day would be fully documented in a beautiful and artistic way, allowing our families to relax and enjoy themselves. This made it easier for us to kindly request that our guests leave the cameras and cell phones at home.
6 ways to request an unplugged wedding ceremony from your guests:
One question we get a lot is “how do we politely ask our guests to refrain from photography during our ceremony?” There are many different ways to go about this. Here are some of the most common we’ve seen:
- Leave it to the minister. Many couples opt to have the minister make an announcement prior to starting the ceremony. Normally the minister will give a welcome, then say something like “The bride and groom are so excited to share this day with you. They want to be sure you can be fully present for their ceremony, so they ask that there be no photos taken during the ceremony. They have professional photographers who will be documenting the ceremony for them.”
- Write it on your invite. We have some couples who don’t want cell phones or devices at their wedding at all. Yes, we were one of these couples. Why? Well, we just wanted to fully experience our day, and loved ones without distraction. And to be honest, I didn’t want to be tagged in an unflattering, or poorly lit iPhone photos, when I know that we were going to have gorgeous professional images from our wedding photographer. For couples like us, they typically add a note on the invitation or wedding website requesting no cameras at the wedding.
- Make a sign. If you only want an unplugged ceremony, then an easy option is to create a sign. One of our fabulous couples created the sign seen above and placed it at the seating entrance. By letting your family and guests know that they’ll have access to your wedding images, it’s more likely that they’ll worry less about snapping their own images.
- Put it on the wedding program. If you’re having a wedding program designed, you can add a little note to the front page of the program.
- Event Cards. Some couple ask us to make up little event cards to place on each seat at the ceremony. These are perfect for couples who are social and want to share their wedding photos with their friends and guests. The cards are customized with a photo of the bride and groom, then on the back they say “Please refrain from using cameras and phones during the ceremony. Our wedding photos will be available online at www.ourwebsite.com.
- Get personal. If you have someone in your family who will have a hard time respecting your wishes, don’t be afraid to have a personal conversation with them a week or so before your ceremony. This is something that we had to do for our own wedding. I tried to convey to our family members how important it was for us to see their faces and support during the ceremony, and assured them that we’d share professional photos. We did still have some push back, but in the end our wishes were mostly respected and I was able to walk down the isle to see my the faces of my family and friends.
Melanie Soleil Mishler
Andrew & Melanie Photography
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