Creating an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

One of the growing trends I’m noticing as a wedding photographer is the popularity of an unplugged wedding ceremony. Honestly, I am LOVING this. An unplugged wedding ceremony is a ceremony where the couple ask their guests to not use their phones or cameras to take photos during the ceremony. Many couples will create a cute sign, or have their officiant say something before the bride walks down the aisle to get everyone on board with this request.

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I believe an unplugged wedding is incredibly important for a few reasons:

  1. It allows your guests to be fully present. How many times to we sit behind our phone screens or cameras taking photos of a beautiful event, living in that moment through a 3”x6” screen? A wedding is such a beautiful event, and by asking your guests to participate in an unplugged wedding, you are encouraging them to really be in the moment with you and feel the emotions that would otherwise be separated by a phone screen.

  2. It prevents someone from accidentally blocking your wedding photographer’s shot. Whether it’s the bride walking down the aisle and the groom seeing her for the first time, the couple sharing their first kiss, or any of the other important ceremony moments, you’ve hired a professional photographer because you want those moments perfectly captured and preserved until the end of time. And you want those images to actually show your faces/reactions/kiss rather than Uncle Bob’s arm reaching into the aisle with his cell phone and blocking your faces/reactions/kiss. I’m not afraid to step in front of someone or ask them to refrain from taking photos in a certain area because I am committed to the responsibility my couples have given me, which is to flawlessly photograph their incredible day. I also know that even if politely ask someone to step out of my shot…

  3. Your guests will (probably) be able to view all of the professional photos from the wedding after your wedding day. If you’re working with KLEM Studios, I can guarantee that you will receive a link to a full wedding gallery that you’ll be able to share with moms, grandmas, uncles, cousins, and anyone else who wants to relive your wedding day. They will have access to beautiful photos, and they might even come across a few photos of themselves joyously laughing or shedding a happy tear and being fully present, rather than coming across a photo of them staring at a phone screen.

Let me say that I know that guests are taking photos during the ceremony because they are so dang excited for the two of you to be married and they want to remember those beautiful moments. No guest is trying to ruin your wedding ceremony or your images, they simply might not be aware of the items I listed above. I’m committed to you having stunning, authentic images from your wedding day (no matter who you choose as your photographer), and I believe an unplugged ceremony is one way to ensure this. If this doesn’t resonate with you, no worries. There’s no right or wrong answer here, I simply wanted to share some insider knowledge and you’re able to do with it what you please!

There are a few ways to create an unplugged ceremony:

  1. Mention it on your wedding website or invite if room allows. On our wedding website, I put something along the lines of, “We are creating an unplugged ceremony; please stow your phones, cameras, and other technological devices for the duration of the ceremony and be fully present with us during this amazing day. We promise you'll be able to view all of the professional photos within a few weeks of the wedding! Kate will come and tackle you if needed, but she really doesn't want to get her dress dirty…” That keeps it fun, but also gets the point across that I mean business.

  2. Buy/make an unplugged wedding  sign positioned clearly at the beginning of aisle. You can work with a local calligrapher (like Jenna Kast Studio), reach out to a friend with a Cricut, or paint one yourself!

  3. Have your officiant say something BEFORE you walk down the aisle. It’s important that your officiant mentions this before your grand entrance to ensure that the phones and cameras are tucked away and not in the photos when you walk down the aisle.

As a final note, I would also suggest having unplugged family photo time as well, or coordinate this with your photographer. I want to make sure that I’m delivering images where all the family members are looking right at my camera, rather than over my shoulder or off to the side. A lot of times, I will ask that anyone who would like to take photos stand behind me or next to me and wait until I’ve snapped the shot, and then they can have the family’s full attention. I’m totally cool with Uncle Bob taking some family photos over my shoulder as long as I have the family’s complete attention during the photos since, hey, I’ve been hired to deliver incredible photos!

If you’d like further assistance on creating an unplugged ceremony, I would be happy to help you. Email me directly at kate@klemstudios.com for more ideas. Happy wedding planning!

Much love and appreciation,

Kate