How to Have an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

Client Education, Weddings

May 16, 2019

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How to Have an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

I’m going to be super vulnerable and write about something that’s been bugging me for YEARS. You may have heard of unplugged wedding ceremonies. Maybe you’ve even been to a wedding recently and noticed a sign asking you to put away your cell phone during the ceremony. I could write a thousand words about why unplugged ceremonies are a good idea, but I’ll let this image speak for me:

bride and groom kissing after their wedding ceremony surrounded by cell phones

I’m not singling anyone out here. This has literally been an issue at every single wedding I’ve EVER photographed. It’s totally human nature in 2019 to take out your phone and take a picture of something pretty! I’ll also say that if cell phones in your images don’t bother you one bit, that’s okay too!

However, according to my very scientific Instagram poll, the majority of brides DON’T want to see cell phones in their wedding ceremony photographs. The key is to approach this gently and remember that your guests aren’t out to “ruin” your images, they’re just excited for you! So, if that’s you, keep on reading for a few tips and tricks to avoid them!

Share your wishes with your guests ahead of time. You know your family better than anyone. If you know that your dad loves to take pictures with his phone (again, totally normal!), gently talk to him BEFORE the wedding about keeping his phone away during the ceremony. We want to avoid images where it looks like your dad is looking at his phone instead of watching his baby girl get married! He could even hand his phone off to a family friend to take those cell phone pictures!

Use signs and announcements. Another great tip is to remind your guests at the wedding to keep phones away. This can be accomplished with a sign, a note in your programs, or even a brief announcement from your officiant prior to the ceremony.

candid wedding guests live streaming a wedding ceremony

Establish a “paparazzi” section. I’ve photographed many weddings where a loved one wasn’t able to physically attend the wedding. A beautiful way to include them is by arranging for someone to live stream or FaceTime the ceremony. And we are TOTALLY on board for that! I just adore the image above of Michelle’s sweet brother and sister-in-law recording the ceremony for her other brother, who couldn’t attend due to a medical emergency. This worked beautifully because we were able to communicate ahead of time and place these VIPs strategically in the second row, so that they could still get a clear shot without distracting from the professional imagery. The key here is communication, so that we’re able to honor your wishes!

Empower your photographer to speak up. If all else fails and we’ve still got cell phones in the aisles during your ceremony, I’m totally okay with gently asking your guests to tuck them away! Is this something I want to do? No. I hate confrontation and never want to disappoint anyone! But at the end of the day, my couples’ wishes are THE most important thing to me. If my bride wants me to, I’m happy to discreetly step in if needed! I’d much rather Uncle Bob be annoyed with me for a few minutes than for you to have regrets about your wedding photos! This is now something that gets discussed with all my AWP couples before the wedding day, so that we’re on the same page about their preferences!

I hope this helps as you plan your wedding! If you have any questions at all or would like to inquire about my wedding collections, simply click here to contact me!

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