Are You Considering an Unplugged Ceremony on Your Wedding Day?

Jun 19, 2019 | Inspiration | 0 comments

One of the most popular signs I am getting requests for at the moment is my ‘unplugged ceremonies’ sign, and as a growing trend in the wedding industry this year, it seems that more and more couples want to encourage guests to put down their phones and be more engaged in their special day.

So, what is an ‘unplugged wedding’ or ‘unplugged ceremony’?

An unplugged ceremony or unplugged wedding is one where only the professional photographer is allowed to take photos.

There are a few reasons for this:

  • The couple don’t wish to have their big day shared on social media with guests’ photos before they announce it themselves
  • The bride and groom don’t want guests to be distracted from the day
  • Avoiding technical problems that can arise for the professional photographer.

Let’s take a look in a bit more detail…

Social Media Sharing

With the rise of smartphones over the last few years, a lot of wedding guests have easy access to a built-in cameras, as well as the ability to share photos online in an instant. It has become the norm in society, particularly amongst younger age groups, to document several moments each day in their ‘stories’. But for just one day, perhaps the bride and groom would rather guests didn’t share it all…at least not before they’ve had a chance to go public on social media themselves?


Another downside to mobile phones are the distraction they cause. Too often now, we see people at events concentrating on videoing or photographing the goings-on, rather than enjoying it in the moment and immersing themselves in the atmosphere.

At a wedding, you want guests to listen, remember, engage and react…not through a phone screen. You want them to interact with other guests and dance the night away (with no dodgy video reminders!)

The Effect on Professional Photos

Now this is one thing that most people don’t even realise, but with the importance, not to mention the cost, of hiring a professional photographer for your big day, you don’t want to risk anything ruining those once in a lifetime photo opportunities.

Moments that happen in a wedding, are just that…moments. If the photographer misses them for any reason, the moment has gone. If a guest takes a photo at that moment, the flash from their camera or phone can ruin the professional photo. If a guest stands up to take a photo, or holds up a camera/iPad, they may block the photographer’s view. The worst photo bomb you can experience.

No bride and groom want their wedding pictures to feature their guests looking down at their phones or with phones in their hands. Or group shots with everyone looking in different directions, at different cameras.

Tip: Providing a photobooth for the reception is a great way for guests to capture the moment in a way you are happy for them to share!

What will the guests think?

One concern for couples choosing an unplugged ceremony or wedding day, is how their guests will react. Some might feel offended or upset at not being able to document the day in their way.

But there are a few helpful tips to make it all run smoothly…

Be specific – be clear with your guests about what your ‘unplugged’ rules mean. No photos at all, no photos during the ceremony, or no social media posts on the day or no posts at all?

Let guests know in advance – pop a note in with the invitation letting them know of your intentions.

Signage – on the day, display a sign explaining your ‘unplugged’ rules.

Announcement – have the person officiating the ceremony to remind guests before the ceremony begins.

Reception cameras/photo booth – Providing instant cameras or a photobooth for the reception is a great way for guests to capture the moment.


Will you be having an unplugged ceremony? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Jenni x

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