An Unplugged Ceremony

Like Mrs. Mink, I pondered some time ago the unplugged ceremony. After reading Mrs. Mink’s post again, I went and visited the article she mentions on Offbeat Bride about the unplugged wedding ceremony. Once again, I saw this gem of a photo:


Image via Offbeat Bride / Photo by Aurora-Photography

 Now. As someone who works as a social media manager, I totally understand capturing moments and sharing them. Even from a guest perspective, I can see why they would want to capture their own photos of the day. Heck, as a bride, I know I’m going to be really impatient to get my photos back, so I’m actually looking forward to seeing some guest photos…of the reception.


(Image via Instagram user fletcherdonivon of the lovely Savannah‘s wedding)

That’s right—of the reception. I know, I know—some people (including some of our guests) will see it as rude that we request them to put away their cameras and phones during the ceremony. I’m sure there may be some disappointment that they’re being asked not to Instagram, tweet, and etc. throughout our ceremony. But as someone who spends so much time on social media, I can very easily attest to the fact that when I post a photo, I’ll take a quick scroll down my feed. Sure—I’ll send that tweet quickly, but then I’ll see another tweet and want to respond. Or maybe I’ll get a text when I go to take that photo, and respond to that after I get my photo. While I’m sure not everyone gets sucked in like me, I know a lot of people do.

So instead of getting photos back with guests looking at their laps, we’re going to ask guests to disconnect during the ceremony. The recessional? Throughout the reception? Please snap away, discreetly. (That’s my nice way of saying don’t get in Stacy’s way.)


(Image via Instagram user jacirenea, again of the lovely Savannah‘s wedding)

Now the question becomes, since we’re skipping programs, how will we communicate this request to our guests? I feel very strongly about this, so it’s important to me that it’s communicated very clearly. Well, first, it will be on our chalkboard program. We’re also going to ask our DJ to announce our request just as the ceremony begins. Hopefully these two reminders will allow our guests to be present with us as we enjoy what the whole day is really about—the ceremony.

If you had an unplugged ceremony, how did it turn out?


Mrs. Otter

Indianapolis, IN
Wedding Date:
April 2013

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  1. Guest
    39bride, Guest @ 5:01 pm

    We did an unplugged ceremony, and were thrilled with the results. The pictures of our guests being “present” in the ceremony were just fantastic–from the little flower girl enraptured with it all, to the rows of our respective families with heads up and eyes forward, they are gorgeous records of how we ALL felt that day.

    What made me really want to do it though, was the idea that viewing an event through a visual recording device of ANY sort changes how the viewer sees/experiences it. We wanted our guests to be “present” in every moment of our service, which we saw as the most important minutes of the day. And that’s exactly what the unplugged request accomplished.

    We didn’t hear any complaints. And in fact, a pastor who was our guest said he’d recommend it to his future couples. We asked the officiant to read aloud before the service the paragraph we wrote in our program (based on the A Practical Wedding text):

    Welcome to our “Unplugged Wedding!” We’re so glad you’re here. We invite you to be fully present with us during our ceremony, instead of focusing on taking pictures or video. We have hired an amazing photographer who will capture the way the wedding looks; we invite you to sit back, relax, and just enjoy how the wedding FEELS.

    So, we respectfully ask that everyone leave cameras and cell phones off during the ceremony to ensure we can see your faces and you can see ours, both now as well as forever in the photos the photographer will capture. We will receive a DVD of the photos and of course we will be happy to share them with you!

  2. Guest
    39bride, Guest @ 5:11 pm

    I should’ve explained better that the motivation for wanting everyone to be/feel present that day (and not distanced by viewing things through a camera/phone) was the deep conviction that the ceremony was a spiritual experience for ALL involved (we had a ring blessing and a congregational vow). In that light, we wanted them to be focused on the meaning of the activities and words of the ceremony, and the significance of what we were ALL doing. If not for them, we would’ve run off somewhere and gotten married all by ourselves.

  3. Member
    Mrs. Rubber Stamps 791 posts, Busy bee @ 7:09 pm

    I am SO glad that we had others taking photos at the ceremony. There were some key photos that my BIL took that we didn’t find on our cd from the photog.

    I think there are pros/cons to both sides…just be sure of your decision so you don’t regret not having some pictures if your photog can’t capture every.single.moment that you were hoping they could.

  4. Member
    ChicagoDreamer 509 posts, Busy bee @ 8:50 pm

    I think this is the perfect compromise. I must admit I’m a scrapbooker and do love taking photos at events. Weddings are definitely a time to reconnect and see old friends, which is why I love photographing those moments. I hope this is a good balance for you!

  5. Guest
    TMK, Guest @ 11:21 pm

    I recently attended a wedding where the Episcopalian minister reminded guests not just to turn off cell phones, but announced something to the effect of the importance of their presence at this wedding. She asked the bride and her father who had just walked down the aisle, to turn and pose so everyone could get a shot. It took a good minute for everyone to capture a photo from their vantage points, but it was pretty funny. Then, the minister asked that we all focus on the ceremony – “Now that you’ve gotten your shot, put away your cameras.” Her directive was delivered in a really humorous tone – I don’t think anyone objected. However, guests did continue to take photos, but perhaps not as many?

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