selfie wedding photo

Should you ban phones from your wedding ceremony? The pros of an unplugged wedding 

We go everywhere with our phones, and there’s hardly a time we are not connected to almost anyone instantly. The fact that we can capture a moment and share it with anyone anywhere in the world is so exciting. However, there is a time when maybe putting our phones away or leaving them at home will help us enjoy the moment even more. 

More and more couples are opting to have an unplugged wedding where they ask their guests not to take any pictures during their ceremony, and sometimes even their reception so that their photographer can capture their moments and their guests can really just enjoy being present for their wedding. 

Bride blocked walking down the aisle by leaning guests

I can easily understand why it is important for your closest family and friends to capture you walking down the aisle or sharing the first kiss. I can visualize my mom taking this kind of picture and sending them to her friends, and just wanting to look at them the next day, and reliving these moments and the wedding.

On the other hand, I understand the frustration of the bride walking down the aisle, and instead of seeing faces and expressions of guests, she sees screens that sometimes are literally in her face when guests are leaning in. 

The other problem that guests don’t realize is that they are blocking my view and, more importantly, the groom’s view! Sometimes, the groom cannot see his bride walking down the aisle because she is obstructed by guests leaning in to take pictures.

And of course, as a photographer, I’m usually not able to take a beautiful, clear shot of the bride. I would love to take wide photos of her walking down the aisle, guests cheering, being present in the moment, and making eye contact with the bride. Wouldn’t that be awesome to make a connection with your guests?! And see your partner?

wedding ceremony photos at Shangri-La Hotel Toronto

So what, exactly, is an unplugged ceremony?

An unplugged ceremony is one where phones, cameras and any other recording/capturing device are not allowed during the ceremony. This means that only the photographer or videographer will be capturing the ceremony for the couple. 

Benefits of having an unplugged ceremony

If you’ve been thinking about having an unplugged ceremony but aren’t really sure if it’s the right option for you there are a few benefits to consider before making your final decision. 

Being present

By trying to get the perfect picture of the bride walking down the aisle or the moment the couple is officially married many people will actually not even be present for the moment to really appreciate it. While capturing the moment in a picture means you have it forever, there’s something to be said for just experiencing it first hand. 

Not blocking the view

Is there anything worse than trying to get around everyone else’s cell phone so you get a shot without other people’s heads, hands or call phones in your shot? Well, imagine the photographer trying to get around that and even the bride or groom trying to see their partner as they are coming down the aisle and they can’t for the cell phones. 

Focusing on the couple

This day, after all, is about the couple. By putting away the phones all the guests at the wedding can focus on the couple and really enjoy the whole vibe of the wedding and all the emotions that come with it. 

Help your wedding photographers get a great shot 

Your photographer may be able to photoshop pictures, but it’s almost impossible to take out people who are holding phones so that the final picture looks natural. By putting the phones away the photographer will be able to get better shots that are unobstructed and look much more natural.

wedding ceremony at The Church of The Virgin Mary and Saint Athanasius, 1245 Eglinton Ave W, Mississauga

People can really celebrate 

It’s very hard to clap or cheer on a couple when you have a phone in your hand. If you put the phone away, you’re able to cheer and clap with both hands when it’s time and truly show your support for the newlyweds. 

Better quality pictures

As mentioned, it’s easier for your photographer to capture the moments of your wedding if your guests don’t have their phones out. In addition to that, pictures will turn out better and look more natural if your guests don’t have cell phones in their hands and their expressions are candid. 

Unplugged wedding ceremony: How to make it happen

Even if you love the idea of having an unplugged wedding, you may not know how to go about it since almost everyone has their phone on them all the time. 

If you want to have an unplugged wedding, here are a few tips for ensuring your guests get the message. 

  • Make sure you repeat it to your guests. Whether this means putting it first on your invitations and then on your wedding programs and any other chance you get (like if you have a wedding website). Telling your guests often and on different occasions can help remind them.

  • You can make a sign to display on the day of your wedding. You can choose to have it at either the reception or the ceremony, or both. Depending on your style and the feel of your wedding, you can decide to have the sign be a little more serious or more fun – either way, make sure it gets the message across.

  • Ask your officiant to remind your guests. Officiants will typically give a little welcome speech before they start the ceremony, so during this time, they can give a friendly reminder for everyone to tuck their phones away. People tend to listen to officiants. 
wedding ceremony and reception at King Valley Golf Club

What if your family and friends don’t like the idea of an unplugged wedding?

Your family and friends want to remember this day too – they love both of you and want these memories too, so they may be upset that you’ve asked them not to take any pictures and put their phones away. 

It is your day, after all, so if this is what you want to do for your big day then it’s really up to you and your partner. 

If you want to have an unplugged wedding, just let me know ahead of time! I will happily make a few sneak peeks available to you the next day in the online gallery so that you can easily download and share them before your entire library is ready to view. 

These pictures will be professional and your guests can have access to them if you choose to share them! Having an unplugged wedding can make your big day feel much more intimate and give your guests an experience they won’t forget.