What’s an “Unplugged Ceremony” and why should I have one?

This is a question I get asked many times now by couples who’ve heard or seen me mention this when I’m completing my ceremony consultations with them. It’s often the case that these small details around the ceremony can really make all the difference when it comes to everyone being together in these special moments.

We are so used to having technology at our fingertips – literally now we’ve been using smartphones for what seems like for ever! But one thing that they can do is keep us “out of touch” during these amazing and special occasions; especially when it comes to a Wedding!

Guests love to take pictures and videos which they’ll then go on to share on their social media. It’s important to think through as a couple whether you’re happy with that, or whether perhaps it’s time to set some ground rules.

When speaking to couples about planning an unplugged ceremony- we begin by finding out what’s acceptable and what isn’t. For example a couple of questions I mention are:

1: Are you having a professional photographer and/or videographer capturing your wedding?

Many photographers although highly experienced find this a difficult work around as they’re tasked with capturing those “once in a lifetime” shots whilst trying to avoid the phones/iPads/cameras/guests that may be obstructing their view.

2: Speak to your photographer about holding an unplugged wedding!

You may feel that you don’t want to tell your family and guests not to use their phones. In which case that’s fine but it’s an idea to let your photographer know so they can set up and prepare accordingly.

Many I have spoken to actually prefer the ceremony to be “Unplugged” as it’s a chance to capture all the emotion, all the smiles, all the happy faces- without the technology getting – sometimes literally – in their faces!

Your celebrant-led ceremony is unique to you and contain wonderful moments and meaning. So your photos and videos will be the main record of family and friends gathering, as you exchange vows, rings – and perhaps include a symbolic ceremony too, such as a handfasting, or lighting a Unity Candle or having a Wine Blending, to name just a few!

Credit Kevin Watkins Photography.

So – if you’re going to go ahead with an Unplugged Ceremony, how do you go about it?

Start by mentioning this on your invitations or on your wedding website – it’s good to get this explained as early as you can. On the day, perhaps put up a couple of signs, along with your table Plan perhaps so it’s visible, or with signage to the Ceremony space. If you’re unsure of what to say, don’t worry as you’ll find lots of examples of wording on Pinterest. I’ve added some signs here for inspiration!

You’ll be surprised how much more relaxed you’ll feel knowing you’ve made the decision- your guests will be present in the moment throughout your wedding ceremony and you’ll have made your wishes known too about if, where and when they can share their own images of your special day.

And don’t forget, your Celebrant will also be happy to explain this to your guests just before the beginning of the ceremony. We are happy to do so – I even explain this in my bilingual ceremonies too! Everyone wants you to be happy so they’re always happy to oblige! Let me know your own thoughts and comments!

Credit ABBAS photography

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