It’s not unusual for the ceremony to become a sea of LCD screens, iPads, and flashing cameras. Many of my photos of the processional and recessional are filled with family and friends looking at the back of a phone or camera rather than at the beautiful life moment that is happening right in front of them . Sometimes guest are so excited about getting their shot that they may block my view of the bride and her father walking down the aisle. Couples are often dismayed to look out at their guests during the ceremony and see everyone staring at their ipads, checking their phones or worse, browsing their social media feeds instead of enjoying the moment with them. A recent trend at weddings is for couples to request that their guests “unplug” for the ceremony and even some key parts of the reception. If you would prefer your guests to be more present and “in the moment” (and if you’d like photos of people enjoying the ceremony) you may want to consider “going unplugged”. I recommend having a note in your ceremony program, a sign at the entrance to the ceremony or even asking your officiant to repeat a shorter version of this notice.
Here’s a great example for wording such a note:
“We want you to really enjoy our wedding day, feeling truly in the moment with us. We’ve hired an amazing photographer who will be capturing the wedding and are inviting each of you to sit back, relax, and just be present. We respectfully ask that you leave all cameras and cell phones off during the ceremony and formal events of the reception (including the first dance and parent dances). The greatest gift you can give us today is to be fully here with us in this sacred and special moment.”
Another important component to executing an “unplugged” wedding is letting your guests know in advance that it’s important to you. Some places you might be able to include an explanation are on your invitations or on your wedding website.