(Closed) Unplugged wedding ceremony (advice/rant)

posted 4 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 46
1800 posts
Buzzing bee

ellep91010:  you can’t control people- what, are you going to have a bouncer kick friends+family out who take photos?

Post # 47
2181 posts
Buzzing bee

freckles071611:  I mean, my personal opinion is that it’s not respectful or appropriate to be multitasking like that during an intimate/serious/religious moment like a wedding ceremony, but if you don’t see it that way then bully for you. There’s no right or wrong taste here.

The couple is already telling their guests how to dress, where to go, when and what they can eat, what time they can arrive and what time they have to leave, so I don’t understand what is so outrageous and offensive about telling them to leave cameras and phones out of sight. It’s a private event under the hosts’ control to begin with. No one is going to be executed by firing squad for wearing jeans or posting to instagram, but if you’re asked by the hosts to do something that doesn’t threaten your health or livelihood then it’s probably good ettiquette to do it.

As for the photos, I’m vaguely aware of how cameras work and the scenario you descibed still limits a photographer’s opportunities for a shot and passable material to work with when assembling the final product. If I’m paying someone for a service then I want them to be able to do their job as completely as possible, and not be forced to give me a subpar finished product because Uncle Steve spent the whole ceremony filming in the aisle with his iPad and Grandma was hovering a foot away with her camera during the first dance. 

Post # 48
6529 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

I have been to some weddings where at least half of the guests had their cameras out.  I remember one in particular because I forgot my own and that gave me a chance to look around and say to myself “holy crap, no one is actually watching this wedding.”  But I also realized that as others pointed out, you can’t stop people from using their cameras if they want to.  Here are some options

1) we just mentioned on our website that it would be nice if people limited their photos to just a few and watched the ceremony – acknowledged that yes we all want to take pictures, but keep it under control.  Anyone who didn’t visit our website never saw that request at all.

2) Find a special spot for your camera-happy relative.  She’ll be less likely to pop up in the pro pictures camera in hand.  Nice view, up front but maybe not right on the aisle.  Ask that she not use her flash if you are indoors and help set up her camera so such is the case.

3) Have your unplugged ceremony, realize some people will not ‘obey.’  Blame the photographer and say it’s in your contract, totally unavoidable.  Give your Mother-In-Law copies of the photos as soon as humanly possible.

4) Let everyone do whatever they wanted to in the first place.  Realize that while a couple of pictures might be bombed, you do not need 1000 photos of your wedding day anyway.  Ask the bomber to give you the shot they were taking when they stepped in front of the photographer.  

Our guests wound up taking a lot of photos and honestly some were far and away better than our photographer did during the ceremony – she really kept her distance for almost everything, when I had only meant for her to do so during the candids (due to husband’s general dislike of getting his picture taken).  Our guests had a bunch of nice up close photos she missed entirely.  Chalk that one up to experience.

Post # 49
9039 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Honestly my view and attention has been distracted by professional photographers more than snap happy guests at the numerous weddings I’ve attended. Often they are too busy getting the pintrest worthy photos to worry about the guests, especially the cake cutting shot. 

Also a wedding isn’t really unplugged if you are having a photographer. 

Some guests drink too much, some guests eat like pigs at a trough and some are snap happy. Are you going to ban food and drink also just because a few people can’t behave? What about asking guests to submit a dress plan because god knows some people can’t dress themselves and that will ruin photos. 


Post # 50
320 posts
Helper bee

Love unplugged weddings. I could hardly see the last two ceremonies I went to due to guests taking photos. I also know a lot of professional photographers prefer it.

Post # 51
1243 posts
Bumble bee

howdoiknow: It wasn’t. My family tends to be incredibly jovial and jokey, which can be great. However for my ceremony I wanted a more thoughtful atmosphere.  Our officiant was very welcoming while making sure our message got across. Again, we heard from family and friends that they loved our ceremony and our officiant. They very much appreciated the moment to put away their phones to focus on our ceremony. There was was no “stern bollocking” from the officiant. Just a clear message that we didn’t want guests taking pictures of the ceremony. It was only 20 minutes. After that, guests could take as many pictures as they wanted, even during the cake cutting. Anyone that would get upset about not being able to take pictures for 20 minutes at someone elses wedding is questionable to me. 

Post # 52
343 posts
Helper bee

Xu:  Yeah, I wouldn’t get upset and definitely wouldn’t be offended by the request. Ive seen the signs, but not heard of a verbal warning before. I assume this somewhat depended on your officiant being warm and friendly. I do quite like the idea of phones being kept away from the ceremony.

Post # 53
1727 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

We had our officiant ask people to turn their devices off/put cameras away right before my husband walked down the aisle.  My Mother-In-Law was someone I was concerned about – and she was happy when we told her “we want you to have the night off, so we hired these guys to be photographers” and the photogs even told her (we warned them about her) that if she wanted a certain picture, she could just let one of them know.  

I also have a co-worker (in her 60s) who was there – my work team is pretty tight-knit and were all there, because we travel together and hang out together outside of work.  She made me regret letting people take pics at the reception because she had her GIANT phone up videoing everything.  So in every. single. picture. of the first dance and parent dances, she’s in the background with her giant phone shining its giant light.  In some of the shots, her flash is right between our faces, so the shot is great EXCEPT THAT YOU CAN’T SEE OUR FACES.  (not to mention she’s never even shared any of the photos or videos that she ruined my pro pics to take, despite me asking her a dozen times since the wedding)

So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking people to keep their phones out of your face while you’re trying to marry the love of your life.  

Post # 54
2132 posts
Buzzing bee

I think what it comes down to is HOW you communicate to your guests that you would like unplugged. I probably would feel inclined to put on the website or invite that it’s unplugged, then maybe a gentle reminder on the day like a sign or your officiant announcing if he or she is outgoing and can make it light and humorous. 


Fact: You can’t MAKE anyone put their phones or cameras away, but you can ASK them to. It’s YOUR wedding, do what makes you happy. 

Post # 55
1384 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

I went to a wedding in December and at the start of the ceremony the rabbi requested we silence our phones in a respectful manner but didn’t say no to pictures so I mean you really can’t make anyone do anything as PPs have said but you can ask a reasonable request like no flashes as to not interfere with your professional photography. I wouldn’t want my professional pictures with other people taking pictures as well in the View. Such a first world problem today lol but there are unexpected consequences to an advancing technological world that not everyone has thought of 😕

Post # 56
401 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

Just discussed this today with my MOH! I want an unplugged wedding myself, but I keep wondering if people would think I was a brat for requesting them not to take photos! haha

I personally find it VERY annoying that people race to be the first to post photos of the bride on Facebook. It just kills me it annoys me so much! I don’t want a lot of photos of me or my wedding on Facebook because so many of our friends are not invited to the wedding and I think they will think “Why was SHE invited to the wedding?” UGH.

Post # 57
2925 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

A friend of mine got married on New Year’s Eve and had one of those cutesy signs displayed about having an unplugged ceremony.  I don’t think any one paid attention to it as I saw tons of phones/cameras.

I could see wanting an unplugged wedding, but how are you going to stop people?  Are you going to make them drop their phones in a box when they walk in?  I think it’s a tough idea to enforce.

Post # 58
7644 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m more than happy for a request not to use cameras, so as not to ruin the pro pictures; so long as guests have opportunity at other times to take photos.

But, like a few PPs, please please PLEASE don’t tell me that I will somehow be more “present” or enjoy it more if I’m not using my phone. It is very patronising to be told how to enjoy something.

Can I make a comment on tradition though, as an older woman: in days gone past, one of the special moments is that during the first kiss, a dozen cameras would click and flash as everyone took a photo of the kiss. I love that, and I think it’s kind of a pity if that’s lost. But if the bride and groom want to lose that, it’s up to them.

Post # 59
164 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

Like always I am the minority here. People on this website get so upset beacuse “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!” In the end its your wedding, I;m doing the same thing because when I walk down the isle or look around during the cermony I want to to see the FACES of my guests not the back of a cell phone. Is THIS really what you want to see at your wedding and in your photos? I seriously doubt it. Your guests are ADULTS and if they get their panties all up in a bunch because you politely ask them to put their cell phones away then then thats their own problem. I’m NOT a fan of social media AT ALL so maybe thats why I feel this way…

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by Profile Photo BritneyK.
Post # 60
1800 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I did an unplugged wedding ceremony and mostly it was respected.  There is a photo of our guests where everyone is looking at us and I love it.  There is also a couple of Mother-In-Law and my Nan taking pics on their phone and the first photo of me walking down the isle was actually ruined by my nan leaning in to the isle to take a photo! It turned out perfectly.  We gave the guests some photo ops at the end of the ceremony!

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