What is an Unplugged Ceremony and Why Should You have One?

April 4, 2019

For Brides and Grooms

We’ve all been to a wedding that has an Uncle Bob – you know, that one great uncle or long distance relative or friend who brings along their fancy camera and feels the need to take some photos throughout the day.

Sometimes it’s several guests who have their iPhones out during moments like the bride coming down the aisle or when the bride and groom are pronounced as husband and wife.

We’ve all seen a thing or two like that, right?

We know how fun it is to take photos, but it also seems so sad that we live in a world where taking a photo of a moment is more important than being present in a moment.

From a wedding photographer’s perspective, it can become challenging when guests show up and sometimes get in the way. And most the time, we have little control over what they do.

In our eyes, you (the bride and groom) have invited these special people to quite possibly the most special day in your life, don’t you want them to enjoy the goodness of the day and be fully present to celebrate the occasion?

Well, an unplugged ceremony can help solve all of the above problems.

So, What is an Unplugged Ceremony?

An unplugged ceremony happens when the bride and groom ask all their guests to be fully present and put away their devices so that there are no distractions during the ceremony.

We recommend having a sign somewhere near the ceremony site that says, “We want to see your sweet faces, not your devices, so please refrain from taking photos and videos during our ceremony. Our photographer’s love to share!”

In addition to the sign, your officiant could make an announcement right before the ceremony begins.

Both these worked tremendously for our own wedding, and we’ve seen it done really well over the years at others’ weddings too.

And..Why Should I Have an Unplugged Ceremony?

Well, if I haven’t convinced you yet, let me start by saying your photographer will love you.

Photographer’s don’t like competing with a guest with an iPhone. If you have an unplugged ceremony, your photographer has the freedom to do their very best job.

The second biggest reason that I wish I could scream from the mountain tops… Who wants professional photos (that you paid for) of people taking photos? Didn’t think ya did.

Unfortunately, during a moment like the bride and groom walking down the aisle, the first dances, or toasts, more than often we have more photos of people on their phones than we do of people smiling, laughing, and enjoying the moment. That’s sad to us. And to you. I’d really hate for you to have a wedding album full of photos of all your guests on their phones.

The biggest motive for us to encourage all our couples to have an unplugged ceremony is so that their guests and the bride and groom can enjoy their day to the fullest, be present, and truly celebrate.

Here’s a little disclaimer for those wanting to have an unplugged ceremony: You’re not asking your guests to not take any photos during the day. You’re simply asking them to put their devices away during the ceremony. Taking cell phone photos at the reception is perfectly fine, and in fact, that’s the most appropriate time to do so. 

Questions about What is an Unplugged Ceremony and Why Should You have One? Suggestions for other brides and grooms? Send us an email at hello@erinfoxphoto.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Erin Fox Photo is a husband and wife photography team based in Nashville, Tennessee photographing weddings and families. Available for travel in Middle Tennessee and beyond. At the heart of our work is people – the couples, the families, their stories. We are passionate about storytelling and exist to leave you memories that bring back moments and feelings through timeless and organic imagery. Get in touch!





Erin Fox Photo is a wedding photographer serving clients from coast to coast