Benefits of an unplugged ceremony

As a wedding photographer, there is only so much that I have control over throughout the day. The ceremony is the big one. Picture it with me, Sicily, 1922…er um…I mean, picture yourself in my shoes as the wedding photographer during the ceremony. I only get one shot at everything that is about to happen from start to finish. This is the moment when it becomes real for the couple. There are no do-overs. 

You have triple checked your camera settings, you’ve practiced your shots for lighting, and you are ready to capture the person coming down the aisle to marry their best friend. You’ve got to capture different angles and every moment throughout this one-time event. 

Just as the music starts and everyone stands and turns their attention to the back of the aisle, your guests get excited and step out with their own cameras, phones, and iPads (yes, I said iPads, and I’ve seen it more than once) to get their own photo or video of the ceremony.

Now I am scrambling because the couple is depending on me to capture every moment of this amazing day. Meanwhile, Uncle Ted, Cousin Martha, and your friend Veronica are trying to get a good Instastory when in reality, their arms, phone screens, and heads are obscuring my ability to capture you (and your dad) coming down the aisle. 

It’s one of the most nerve-wracking things that wedding photographers can experience. The worst part is, this can all be avoided. It’s a growing issue in today’s world. There is a solution that I highly recommend. Have an unplugged ceremony so that guests know that the photographers you paid for are the only ones you want to capture your wedding day. You want them to enjoy your day with you, not try to capture your day themselves.

I’ve seen weddings where people put out a basket and ask them to drop off their phones. Although, that may not be best in a post-covid world. Here are ways to let your guests know you’re having an unplugged ceremony:

  1. Signage: Have a simple sign that guests see as they are entering the ceremony
  2. Spoken: Have your officiant politely mention that you prefer no cell phones, or that everyone should turn off their devices before you start
  3. Program: Include your Unplugged Ceremony request in your program design

-Taliya Michelle


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