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  • Writer's pictureAmy Bennett

Why you should consider having an 'unplugged ceremony'!

We now live in a world where most people own a phone or device with a camera on, and for most of us, using social media sites has become a part of everyday life. We have the ability to take a photo and share it with the world in just a matter of seconds. Now, I'm a photographer, so of course, I fully understand the importance of taking photos and documenting memories, but sadly I see so many people focusing too much on getting the perfect shot for their 'insta grid' etc. and I fear that this is at a cost of not being truly present in the moment. Have you ever been to a gig/festival/show etc. where everyone around you has had their phones out taking photos every two seconds, recording it all and sending snapchats to their mates throughout... meaning you practically end up watching the whole thing through their screens! Annoying right? My husband and I went to a Foals gig last weekend! It was amazing and I loved seeing them live again (they're my favourite band!) But one thing that annoyed me... so many people spent most of the gig on their phones! One guy stood close by to us literally spent the whole evening recording it all on his phone. It got me thinking, why would you pay over 40 quid for tickets to one of the best live bands and then watch it all through a screen? Put away that phone and soak up the atmosphere, dance and sing your heart out! Be in the moment! Disclaimer: don't get me wrong, I did take a couple of phone snaps and a short video clip of my favourite songs (My Number and Sunday FYI Foals fans!) but I put my phone away pretty quickly to enjoy the rest of the gig - after a few pink gins I was defiantly ready dance!

How does this link to weddings I hear you ask? Well, chances are, most of your guests will probably have some sort of camera with them on your wedding day! Generally, I don't really mind guests taking photos on the day and most of the time they don't get in my way or affect my ability to document the day! It is during the wedding ceremony when guests taking photos can sometimes cause a problem though. I've had times in the past where guests have literally stood in the middle of the aisle taking photos, completely blocking my view as the bride was coming down the aisle. That's a fairly extreme case, but normally it will be guests peering out from their seats with their phones trying to get a good view. Sometimes I think guests forget that a couple have paid a lot of money for a professional photographer to be there to document this very moment! Generally, I can work around this and still capture beautiful memories, but it does mean there can be lots of devices and screens in the photos!

Wouldn't it be so great to see lots of smiling faces and happy tears, rather than a sea of devices? With this in mind, have you considered having an unplugged ceremony?

An 'unplugged ceremony' is where you ask your guests to turn off their phones, put down their cameras and not to take any photos during the ceremony. The wedding ceremony is a hugely important part of your day - it's the reason you're doing this... to get married! You have picked your vows, found a perfect reading and you've chosen these guests to witness this moment because they are the most important people in your life right? By asking guests to keep their phones and cameras away during the ceremony, it means they are able to engage, listen to, enjoy and be fully present in the moment, without the distraction of a phone and/or camera. Plus if phones are switched off, it eliminates the chance of any awful ringtones going off as you say your I do's! It is also worth noting that some officiants won’t allow guests to take photos during the ceremony anyway and they normally announce this before the ceremony begins.

You've invested in a professional wedding photographer who you trust to do a fabulous job, right? You and your guests should relax and enjoy the day, being reassured that your photographer is going take lots of beautiful photos and document all of the best moments from your ceremony anyway!

Some couples even go as far as having an 'unplugged wedding' where guests are asked to keep their phones switched off and put away for the whole day! A 'no posting to social media' request is also something to consider. People can be so quick to share photos online, some before the evening guests have even arrived... meaning it can spoil the surprise of outfits and decor etc. for evening guests. I see more and more couples now asking for photos not to be shared online until at least the next day or until they have shared some photos themselves. I know you'll be excited to see photos of your day and relive it all over again, which is why I send some sneak previews a couple of days after the wedding! All of my wedding packages include unlimited digital downloads for you and all of your guests too! So they can still have lots of photo memories from the day!

Unplugged ceremony wedding sign

If you decide that you would like an unplugged ceremony/wedding and/or a no social media rule, it's important that you give a clear request to the guests of your wishes. One of the best ways is to let the officiant know beforehand and they should be able to make an announcement to your guests before the ceremony begins. Some couples also put a note on the order of service or display pretty signs asking guests not to take photos. You can find poems and things online, but here are some of my favourites: 

'There is a lady here taking photos... we asked her to come!

So please rest your cameras until the ceremony is done.'

'We really want to see your faces, not your devices... Please put

away your phones and cameras until after the ceremony.'

'We invite you to be truly present during our ceremony. Please kindly turn off all phones and cameras and enjoy this special moment with us.'

Some venues, particularly churches, also have strict rules on what your photographer can photo too - it is rare, but some don't allow photography at all! Find out what photo restrictions may be in place during your ceremony here.


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