Unplugged ceremonies and why they are a growing trend.

The Problem

Couples around the globe are demanding their guests put down their devices and be more mentally and physically present during their wedding vows.

Let me explain: Since the dawn of the digital photo age where point and shoot cameras were readily available, and camera phones were a "new" concept-- Wedding guests have taken it upon themselves to take photos during the nuptial ceremony. Feeling guilty? Have you done this before? Listen, I get it. I love taking photos. I was even serious player in this disrespectful game. But I learned a very important lesson about it, which I will now pass on to you.

The truth is that couples do NOT invite guests in hopes that they will take photographs of their wedding. Couples invite guests to witness the ceremony of their joining in marriage. The unspoken rule here is that: if you didn't get an invite to be the photographer for the ceremony... just don't. Allow the photographer to make the images for the couple.

Couples everywhere are asking for CHANGE! But HOW?! How do you politely ask your guests to keep their devices where they belong-- Out of SIGHT.

Wedding at Greenhouse Two Rivers
Catholic Wedding
The Loft at Keith Farms Wedding- By Sarai Minard Photography

The Solution

Imagine the images above with phones or even tablets in the center aisle, or covering the faces of the guests. I don't have to tell you how it would have ruined the images above, and hundreds of others I have taken during ceremonies. Let's take a look at how some of my couples have begged (without begging) for their guests to keep phones, tablets, cameras, and all other devices stowed away.

Wedding at the Lindwedel Winery: By Sarai Minard Photography

Unplugged wedding sign at the Lindwedel Winery

The Sign

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Using a sign can be a great way to make your ceremony wishes known. I suggest posting the sign close to the entrance of the aisle, where everyone passes. You could also put it with the guest book. It doesn't have to be a large sign, but depending on how serious you are about having an unplugged wedding... I wouldn't make it small.

The Officiant

This one is actually very clever because it is designed to have guests put their phones away before the bridal party even begins their march. There are many ways for your officiant put this request into words. Among my favorites are:

" Welcome family and friends to this joyous occasion. At this time, the couple would like for you to put your devices away until after the ceremony is completed. You may resume taking photos during the reception."


"Welcome everyone! The couple is so grateful for your presence here on this beautiful occasion! They would like to invite you to please keep phones and other devices silenced and stowed away until after the ceremony."

I have seen this done many times, and I am always happy to see everyone complying and really being glued to the moment.

Wedding stationary by Gold Wedding Design: Photo by Sarai Minard Photography

Wedding Stationary by Gold Wedding Designs

The Invitation

This one is not as commonly used, but there are ways to do it in a tasteful way. Along with your RSVP and invitation card, you can include a "bride and groom wishes" card. It could say something like:

"Our wedding ceremony is very important to us, and we would like for you to fully witness the moments and memories. Please keep cell phones and devices silenced and put away for the duration of the ceremony."

Bride and Groom at The Savoy Ballroom: Photo by Sarai Minard Photography

Bride and Groom at The Savoy Ballroom

Ceremony BLISS!

By doing any one of these techniques, you can rest knowing that phones in the aisle and iPads covering faces won't be an issue for your event! We wouldn't want to miss that first kiss because Aunt Mable turned photographer for your wedding ceremony, amiright?