Why You Should Have An Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

October 18, 2021

Tips, Wedding

If you’ve attended a wedding in the last few years, you’ve been an observer of the phone dilemma. When do you take video, and when do you simply enjoy the moment? Are you going to regret not getting the walk down the aisle on video, or are you going to regret spending so much time in the ceremony staring at your phone? As you come to planning your own wedding, these thoughts come back. So, should you have an unplugged wedding ceremony?

As a wedding photographer, I vote a loud yes! Having an unplugged wedding ceremony allows you and your guests to relax, enjoy the day, and give your undivided attention to what really matters. And the best part is that it actually makes your wedding photographer’s and videographer’s jobs easier! Far from missing out on the content of your wedding, an unplugged wedding ceremony means that the photos are going to be even more beautiful and intimate.

What Is an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony?

An unplugged wedding ceremony is a ceremony where the couple asks guests not to use phones or cameras during the event. Sometimes the bride and groom will specify that it’s photography they don’t want at the ceremony, and some couples go a step further and ask that no one use their devices at all.

Couple holding hands and laughing during their wedding ceremony, taken by Translucent Photography

How to Have an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony?

How do you stop your guests from pulling out their phones during your ceremony? There are a few different ways you can go about this – from a quick announcement from your officiant before the ceremony starts, all the way to a ‘phone check-in’ point where guests can turn in their phones and be totally free of distraction.

The key here is communication – take every opportunity to communicate your desire for an unplugged wedding ceremony. Put it on your wedding website and your invitations, get it printed on signs and programmes, and have your officiant and your ushers mention it in-person. People need repetition for a message to get across, so in this case, more is more!

Why You Should Have An Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

Let’s dive in – these are my top reasons for why you should have an unplugged wedding ceremony!

#1 – You get a better connection with your guests

Standing up at the altar, ready to say your vows, you get to look out at all your guests. What do you want to see in that moment? Smiles and teary eyes, or phones? This might sound dramatic, but as fun, as it is to snap a photo, it’s way less fun to have a sea of phones pointed your way. An unplugged wedding ceremony means there are no barriers between you and your guests!

Bride talking to her grandmother as the latter smiles and looks up at her, captured by Translucent Photography

#2 – The ceremony feels more sacred and intimate

With phones away, all tangible connection to the world outside your venue disappears. There are no distractions, good or bad, from what’s happening. I’ve found that in the weddings I’ve had the honour of shooting, it’s the unplugged wedding ceremonies that always feel more sacred and more intimate.

Bride reading her vows during their sacred and intimate unplugged wedding ceremony, shot by Translucent Photography

#3 – People aren’t posting live content

Some couples like the idea of waking up the day after their wedding and getting to see friends’ and family’s snapshots of their ceremony. But if the idea of your intimate wedding vows getting instantly broadcast to the internet is not something you appreciate, an unplugged wedding ceremony is for you. Keeping the documentation to your official photographer and videographer means that you can control what content is public, and when it emerges.

Bride and her father walking down the aisle as their wedding guests look on

#4 – Your photographer gets a clear shot

Speaking from experience here, when phones are out in a wedding ceremony, there are often a few people who get a little carried away. After all, everybody wants the money shot! Holding an unplugged wedding ceremony means that your photographer won’t have to manoeuvre through a bunch of upraised arms or people jumping into the aisle. They’ll be free to focus on you and your love and get you the best photos in return.

Bride smiles as she holds hands with the groom during their wedding ceremony, with their bridesmaids behind them

#5 – You’ll get better photos of your guests

Let’s face it – a bunch of phones being waved around isn’t the most aesthetic of sights. Groups of people on their phones don’t make for great pictures, and can even ruin a shot. When I’m taking professional photos at a wedding, I’m looking for the action: the laughter, the tenderness, the fun. None of that comes across when people’s noses are buried in their screens, so if you want to guarantee an unspoiled aesthetic, an unplugged wedding ceremony is the way to go.

Wedding guests laughing and applauding during the wedding reception, photographed by Translucent Photography

#6 – Your lighting will be perfect

If you’re getting married outdoors in the daylight, this won’t matter so much – but if your wedding ceremony is in the evening, or if you’re going for a moody, low lit atmosphere, the last thing you want is for a bunch of flashes to ruin your official wedding photos!

Bride and groom share a kiss during their unplugged wedding ceremony

#7 – You don’t need to worry about interruptions

We’ve all been ‘that person’ – digging through a handbag or scrambling to reach into a pocket when our phone goes off at the wrong time. Asking your guests to turn in their phones or switch them off for your ceremony is going to avoid this issue, and it’ll give you the peace of mind of knowing that no ringtone is going to interrupt your vows.

Groom reads out his vow to the bride who has her back to the camera during their unplugged beach wedding

#8 – The focus stays on what is important

It might feel a little cheesy to say that an unplugged wedding ceremony allows you and your guests to ‘live in the moment’… but it is true. The wonderful thing about an unplugged wedding ceremony is that everyone is joined in experiencing the same thing at the same time. All of the focus is united, right onto you and the love of your life. Without distractions to steal people’s attention, everyone is right there in those precious moments with you – and I’d say that’s one of the most convincing reasons to have an unplugged wedding ceremony.

The wedding guests during the unplugged wedding ceremony, fully present and smiling

Final Thoughts on Having An Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

So, there you have it: all the reasons why an unplugged wedding ceremony is an amazing idea. Don’t worry about what your guests might think or say about it. This is your day, and only you can decide what you want your wedding ceremony to look like.

For more amazing tips on creating your dream wedding, check out our blog!


Translucent Photography is an Australian Wedding Photographer specialising in Candid & Authentic Wedding, Elopement & Family Photography. Based near Wollongong on the NSW South Coast, we often capture moments across the Southern Highlands, South Coast, Illawarra, Canberra & Blue Mountains regions.

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