You’re getting married. You’re excited. Your friends are excited. You want the world to know that you found the one. I get it. If you can’t contain your elation and you’re the kind of person that’s going to take a selfie at the altar, then I don’t think this post with resonate with you.

On the other hand, if you don’t feel that burning desire to alert the Twitterverse and the Facebookland the very second you have legalized your nuptials, then consider the unplugged alternative. There are many reasons to have an unplugged ceremony—top of list list seems to be encouraging your guests to be present and distraction-free while you and your partner formalize your commitment to each other. From my perspective as a photographer, if you invested in hiring a professional, you want to set them up for success. The pictures should show the smiling faces of your guests—not outstretched arms with that little glowing rectangle blocking their expression. Who knows, unplugging may even spark conversation and new friendships between your guests!

But it’s not just cell phones that impose distractions. An uncle with a new fangled camera gadget or your friend who’s trying to develop his portfolio likely will not have the skillset to get the shots without interfering with your chosen photographer. Avoid any awkwardness by letting those folks know that the pictures are being handle by a pro.

Stephanie Diaz Eldredge wedding planner with Cape Cod Celebrations says that unplugged ceremonies are continuing to grow in popularity, “In our ever-connected world, guests can actually find it refreshing to be reminded to be present for the marriage moment instead of watching it via a handheld device.”

Not everyone thinks unplugged weddings are a great idea. I have seen comments from brides in wedding planning forums declaring the practice “obnoxious” and that since your guests are helping you make the event possible by making travel arrangements, bringing you gifts and giving you their personal time, they should have the freedom to take their own photos.


For sure, this is the couple’s call to make. There’s no blanket approach for every wedding but, in my humble opinion, looking out at a giant sea of iPads and droids, doesn’t strike the right tone for a romantic occasion and your guests should respect your wishes simply because it’s your special day!

Here are a few ways to convey your wishes to your guests in a polite way with a chalkboard or sign describing your requests.

Welcome to our unplugged wedding. We’ve hired a professional photographer to capture this special occasion so we ask that you kindly refrain from using your handheld devices. We want to see your smiling faces in our photos!

We invite you to be fully present at our ceremony, and respectfully request that all cameras and phones be turned off. We look forward to sharing our professional photos with you after the big day.

Oh snap! Thank you for coming! We have just one plea, please help us keep our ceremony cell phone free. Our I-dos are unplugged, but our reception is not. Once we finish the first dance you’re free to take all the shots!

You can also ask your officiant to make an announcement about your unplugged policy and also remind folks to turn off devices.


Even if you are clear about your preferences, you should expect that some of your guests will defy you! I once witnessed another guest obliviously shoot constant cell phone video during a ceremony against the wishes of the bride and groom. Eventually, the bride’s brother went up to the offender and asked her to put down her phone. If you feel strongly about unplugging. have a designated person to remind people to of your request. You don’t need anyone upsetting you on your special day. Take that 25-30 minutes to unplug and connect the old-fashioned way. Your photographer will thank you and you’ll see a more faces in your photos.

Special thanks to Ashley Green Photography and Gretchen Ertl Photography for contributing photos.