How to have an unplugged wedding: copy ‘n’ paste wording and templates

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Waaaaay back in 2011, we were the very first wedding blog to talk about how some couples are planning unplugged weddings, asking guests to put away their cell phones and cameras. Today, we're diving into the nitty gritty of how to make it happen.


So you want to have an unplugged wedding — maybe at least the ceremony. Encouraging your guests to put down their favorite devices can be a delicate dance… as one of our readers snapped, “If I was told I had to leave my phone at home, I'd likely stay with it.” Yikes! As with any special request you make of your wedding guests, you need to be sensitive and respectful if you're thinking of having an unplugged wedding ceremony.

If you're unsure how to request unplugging in a way that won't piss off your guests, we're here to help. Below, we've got copy ‘n' paste wording ideas for your officiant, wedding website, program, invitations — and even a pre-designed printable sign you can post at the venue!

Before the wedding…

Talk to your photographer

Remember: wedding guests take photos because they want to be able to re-live and share the experience of the day. If you're considering an unplugged wedding, you must commit to sharing photos with guests and make plans for how you're going to do so. Work with your wedding photographer to ensure you can make a small set of photos (even just five shots!) available digitally to guests within a couple days of the wedding. You can share them via email, your wedding website, or facebook — the method doesn't matter. Just make sure you've got it figured out with your photographer before your unplugged wedding.

Wording for wedsites & programs

If you're sharing wedding information online with guests via a wedding website, you can warn give them some perspectives before the wedding about why you're asking them to leave their devices off:

Unplugged wedding
We want you to be able to really enjoy our wedding day, feeling truly present and in the moment with us. We've hired an amazing wedding photographer named _________ who will be capturing the way the wedding looks — and we're inviting each of you to sit back, relax, and just enjoy how the wedding feels. We're respectfully asking that everyone consider leaving all cameras and cell phones off. Of course we will be happy to share our wedding photos with you afterward!

You could include a short note in your programs:

We want you to be able to relax and have fun with us today! This in mind, we invite you to put down all your favorite devices and just be present in the moment with us. Please leave your camera in your bag (we've got photography covered!), and put your cell phone on mute (we promise they'll call back!).

We're happy to share our professional wedding photos later, but the greatest gift you can give us today is just being fully here with us in this sacred and special moment.

Offbeat Bride Tribe member Aron is including this text in her program:

The bride and groom have asked that you share in their wedding fully and not through the lens of a camera or cell phone.

Offbeat Bride Tribe member Audra included this text her her program:

audrabayette unpluggedwedding alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
The text reads: No Pictures Please
We are honored that you are here today and present with us during the ceremony. Two photographers are covering the ceremony. We request that you refrain from photography during the entire ceremony. We promise that there will be plenty of images at your disposal!

At the wedding…

Enforcing unplugging

[related-post align=”right”]Appoint a member of your wedding party to help encourage other guests to put down their devices at the wedding. It doesn't have to be high-drama: all they have to do is sidle up to their fellow guest and say quietly, “The bride and groom have asked me to respectfully suggest guests to put down their electronics and just enjoy the day. Can I ask you to put your camera/phone away?” Whatever you do, don't rely on your photographer to be the heavy; it's not their job to make your guests behave. Plus, when the request to put away the camera or phone comes from a fellow guest, it's less likely to be seen as a grumpy encounter.

Wording ideas for officiants

The easiest way to remind your guests to power down their devices is to have your officiant make a brief announcement before the ceremony. A few ideas, ranging from the sacred to the silly:


The couple respectfully requests that all guests honor the sanctity of this moment by turning off cell phones and cameras.


I invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off your cell phones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks — I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology.


Ladies and gentlemen, prior to wedding take-off, all seat backs and tray tables must be in their upright and locked positions, all bags properly stowed, and all portable electronic devices turned off and stowed. This includes cell phones and cameras.

Thanks to Offbeat Bride Tribe member Rockwell for this one:

As Shakespeare once said, please turn off your cell phones.

Offbeat Bride Tribe member Cat named mouse shared this anecdote:

At my best friend's wedding, the rabbi asked the bride to turn around and face the audience after her parents walked her to the altar. At this time he said, “Everyone, get the photo you really want now, because we ask that your cameras remain off for the remainder of the ceremony.”

Jessie Blum of Eclectic Unions uses this template:

Good afternoon! It is my pleasure to welcome you to the wedding of Name and Name. Please take a moment to silence any cell phones or other noisy electronics. If you would also take a moment to put your cameras away, Jody and Steven have requested that no photos be taken during the ceremony today — thank you so much for your understanding. The ceremony will begin shortly.

Printable unplugged wedding sign for ceremony venue

Sure you can buy a sign on Etsy, but we've got some downloadable signs to print and post at your wedding venue for your unplugged ceremony:


After the wedding…

Share your photos!

Make sure you share a few images with your guests within a couple days of the wedding — for a Saturday wedding, Monday or Tuesday is ideal. The wedding is still fresh in your guests' minds, and it's a great way to carry some of the wedding day job into the work-week. As soon as all your wedding photos are available, make prints to include with each thank you card. If possible, also make wedding photos available to guests online.

Looking for more ideas like unplugged wedding signs and more?

We have a deep archive of posts about unplugged weddings, going back over a decade to when we first introduced the idea. (That's right: Offbeat Wed invented the phrase unplugged wedding!)

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Comments on How to have an unplugged wedding: copy ‘n’ paste wording and templates

  1. I’m kind of torn–I like the image of everyone just observing the ceremony, but I also want a whole mess of pictures, including the grainy candids from my friends’ cellphones and shitty cameras. One thing I *will* make sure that the officiant asks for, though, is NO FLASHES. They’re super distracting.

    • Good luck with no flashes — that assumes that guests like, say, your grandmother know how to turn their flash off. In my experience, most folks don’t know how to change the settings on their point ‘n’ shoots. 🙁

      • We’re actually going to be blessed/cursed with an absence of elderly family members and guests. I think our list is techno-savvy enough that we can manage it, but yeah, I’m not hoping for 100% compliance. 🙂

      • I’m doing this too and that is the very thing I like about this option. I’ll have several pro photographers in the crowd, if they want to keep shooting they will turn their flashes off, but hopefully those with less experience will give up and chose to just watch instead. 🙂

    • As a bride I thought I would have loved a million photos (which I did get because I didn’t have an unplugged policy) – but in the end it just made me appreciate the good quality, well exposed professional photos even more. The grainy, low res awkward photos (and poor quality videos) didn’t remind me of how pretty and happy and in love with my husband and friends and family I felt on that day (the way I felt when I looked back on the great photos). Some of the amateur/friend-taken photos were just awkward and made me feel awkward about how I looked talking or getting up. Or they were just poorly composed, poorly exposed duplicates of what my professional photographer had already taken.

      This all applies to the ceremony. And even with all the photo taking, I wasn’t bothered by it because it was a daytime wedding outside and no flashes went off. I was also nervous being up in front of everyone (shy introvert!) so I just looked at our priest and my husband for the majority of the ceremony.

      I did definitely appreciate my friend’s extra photos from the reception though.

      • Yes to the amateur photos at the reception! Our photographer(s) spent so much time taking pictures of *us* that if it weren’t for the photos of friends and family I wouldn’t have very many pictures of our guests and decor. I still have fewer than I would like. Also, there are at least a couple pictures from the ceremony itself where the amateur pictures filled in a few small gaps from the professionals. I wouldn’t go entirely unplugged, personally, but would encourage people to keep picture taking to a minimum.

        • This is why it’s so important to hire the right Photographer and to be specific about what photos you want taken IN WRITING. Thank God your friends got the photos you wanted! Many of the important details of our wedding were missed by or Videographer, and we can never get those moments back. The ceremony itself doesn’t require amateur photos in my opinion, but the reception is not quite as formal, and friends taking photos are much less intrusive at that time.

      • I appreciate the post about the amateur photos. As a bride to be, it’s only in my budget to have ONE professional photographer, with no second shooter for the ceremony or reception. I thought maybe guests will fill in the potential blanks, but at this point I’m willing to leave that to the reception. The ceremony itself will be fairly traditional, so it shouldn’t be too hard, or too much to capture?

  2. Amazingly enough we didn’t have this issue. Then again, the first few rows were our closest family and friends, and they all knew they’d be getting copies of the professional things. Plus our families are pretty horrible about remembering to take pictures most of the time because we’re busy enjoying the moment, so that factored in as well. It was kind of an issue at the reception, though. I realize everyone wants pictures of the bride and groom, but the bride and groom want to enjoy themselves and have been posing for pics all day long! I wish we would have had a “No camera, just party” sign at the reception.

  3. We did one like the ridiculous one. We asked people to put their seats up and put their tray tables up was well. It worked out really well for us. Started the wedding out with a chuckle.

  4. I have to admit that the photos filled with everyone looking through their cameras have always bothered me, though it never occurred to me to ask people to not use their cameras.

    I thought that at the very least, I’d be able to log onto facebook as soon as I got home from the honeymoon and see all the awesome amateur photos. So when I logged on from the airport on my way home, I was very disappointed to find that only 1 photo had been posted from my wedding.

    My professional photos are full of people with their phones and cameras taking pictures, none of which got posted, and only one person has bothered to send to me.

  5. This is one of my favorite posts ever. Every so often, a couple will have family and friends all over them during the ceremony taking photos. As an urban officiant used to crazy situations, it does not bother me too much. But it is awkward. What a pain for the professional taking the images — and the videographer.

  6. I’d suggest that couples who do this make SURE to have a plan for guests who just don’t give a shit. My cousin’s wedding was the first one I went to with a no-phones-or-cameras request. What did my mom, ie the groom’s aunt, spend the entire ceremony doing? Taking blurry, grainy, dark pictures with her camera phone from the second row, most of which she deleted afterwards anyway. There was a sign in the lobby, and a note in the program, and the minister mentioned it at the beginning of the ceremony, and I reminded her about it, but no dice. Some people just think the rules don’t apply to them, whether because of their relation to the couple or just their general sense of entitlement (or, in my mom’s case, both!), so seriously, plan.

    • We have a usher that is going to be a camera “bouncer”. One of the usher that no one really knows, so it doesn’t matter if the end up not liking him. I ‘ m a amature photographer and I chose my photographer very carefully and she’s very expensive. No one is messing up my photos! But I have made it clear that we have a Instagram & a photo booth for later!

  7. Great ideas. Another fun idea would be to have the bride call the groom before walking down the aisle to tell him that he should ask people to shut down their phones. Ha…

  8. Good people, we request respectfully that you refrrain from using your cameras, cell phones, smartphones, laptops, pagers. (Are there still such things as pagers?) and other electronic devices during the ceremony. WE have several photographers with whom we have already arranged to document the proceedings, and we would far prefer to know that you are here experiencing the ceremony than to have that one extra photo.
    And if you’re still not convinced, your device will be taken away and handed to a small child, who will also be given a large popsicle and possibly some ketchup. You have been warned.

    • “And if you’re still not convinced, your device will be taken away and handed to a small child, who will also be given a large popsicle and possibly some ketchup. You have been warned.”

      Words can not express the amount of joy & giggletude I felt while reading that.

  9. We understand that some of you are at an age where you have trouble with controlling your flow of tweeting. You may feel the need to tweet at frequent intervals, or the urge to tweet at an unexpected moment. You worry about having an accident, or not being able to tweet when you have the opportunity. We repectfully request again, please do your best to resist these urges…. and if you still find that you have STFU (Serious Tweeting Frequency Urges) please take not of the warning above relevant to small children and popsicles…. If you find that this is not a sufficient treatment, be aware that the aforementioned small child may be placed on roller skates as well.

  10. I think we’ll try to put a no pictures please note on our programs for the ceremony, but let people know it’s okay to take pictures during the reception (yes, I want to see my friends dancing like nerds if I’m not right there!).

  11. I think this is such a brilliant concept! My fiance and I were talking about allowing pictures for the processional, then for a few moments up at the front to get their fix. Then no cameras except the ones we paid to be there…and then let them take pictures of the kiss and the recessional. Sounds like a good happy medium to me! We’ll probably put something up on our website and have our officiant announce it as well. We’re definitely mulling it over, but it makes so much sense!

    (Although I WILL admit to being a total “Uncle Bob” at other weddings, clicking the whole time though. For the most part, I think I got great shots, but I can also understand that it might have been really annoying to the people getting married–not to mention the other guests who got to hear my camera shutter going off the whole time! Oops. Hindsight is 20/20!)

    • Please do keep in mind that the photos ruined most by guests are the processional and recessional. There are often so many arms, and now, even full bodies, that stand in the aisle to get the shot, that the professional photos of the processional and recessional are filled with arms holding cameras and we often have to crouch down to the floor and shoot up to get in between these arms. Us pros are also not allowed to use flash in churches, however, the guests use flash and their green and red flash sensors leave green and red marks on the bride and groom, which our sensitive cameras pick up, leaving no choice but to convert to black and white.

      • Melani, I couldn’t agree more. While photographing the recessional after the ceremony had ended, I had a man standing partly in the aisle with his arm directly in front of the bride. No matter where I moved at the end of iasle, he was in my shot. What a bummer for the bride and groom as those are some of the best candid shots of the ceremony.

  12. Oh my gosh, thank you for this! I was recently at a wedding where when the bride walked down the aisle, it seemed like I was literally the only one not taking a picture. I had forgotten my camera, and I actually felt guilty for a second, until I realized it meant I could relax and just completely enjoy the moment. I am so doing this!

  13. I’ve thought about this for hours and still can’t really get it at all. i wouldn’t say anything and i wouldn’t let it ruin anyone’s day, but this could really offend me. i would caution the wording with this. as a photographer, i DO experience life through a lens in what to me is a meaningful and fullfilling way. The wording that suggests that i wouldn’t be present if i was taking pictures is offensive to me as it suggests to me that my life style somehow isn’t good enough for these people. i’m not really trying to change anyone’s mind on doing this. as much as i feel that way is it someone else’s day and they get the say. i’m just trying to put some perspective on why this would rub some people the wrong way.

    And to hte commenter with the snarky tweet section… i understand this is all meant tongue in cheek, but i really wouldn’t post that at a wedding. it’s a offensive and quite frankly i’m sick of being picked on because i like twitter. i would just ask people to leave their cell phones in their pockets or purses, that sends the message across just fine. there’s no reason to make fun of people , this message is completely filled with an air of superiority to me, even though i’m sure it’s unintentional.

    • You make a good point, but I still think there are other reasons to ask people to put their cameras down. (For me, mostly reasons of feeling intensely awkward in front of cameras where I don’t have control over what pictures become public.)

      I think a number of photographers have said that they feel that their camera forms an extra layer between themselves and what is happening, which makes it difficult to experience the emotion of the time. I suspect if I had professional photographers in the family I might feel differently about this, but I just don’t want people to be fiddling with cameras rather than listening to my vows and it happens all too often.

      I like twitter too, and I do think the commenter above was joking, but I can see how it would be upsetting.

    • Thank you Uncle Bob/Aunt Lisa.

      Don’t forget though, the day is about the Bride & Groom, not the you. You are there as a guest and should abide by their request, the same as you would want others to do so for you. All i ttakes is one guest with a camera to get in the way of the paid, professional shots to ruin the shot for the Bride and Groom.

      Would you rather be remembered for being there, enjoying the day and their celebration and union, of would you prefer to be remembered as the one who spent the day playing with their toys and disturbing everyone? Just put down the cell phone and Rebel and enjoy the day. Take a Ritalin if you have to, but if you are invited to an unplugged event, respect the wishes of the couple. Also realize that many professional photographers, myself included, have an exclusivity clause in their contract stating that no other SLR of DSLR cameras and no cameras with flash be allowed because a flash from another camera can interfere with the professional shots.

      My cousin got married not too long ago. I left my camera in the car, where it belonged, and enjoyed the day with them.

      • Pro-Photog, I think responding to Lisa’s post in a more respectful way would have made your point more effectively (calling her “Aunt Lisa” and suggesting she needs Ridalin are just uncalled for). For example, you could have responded to her specific critique. You will note that Lisa did not say that couples should not have an ‘unplugged’ wedding, nor that she as a guest would ignore their wishes to do so (in fact, she stated the opposite). She provided an insightful critique of the wording chosen by Offbeat Bride in their suggested language from the perspective of a person who “feels present” through the art of taking photograps. I had not thought about it from that perspective, so I appreciate Lisa’s comment. It lead me to brainstorm other ideas for how to word the language such as “The Bride and Groom respectfully request that guests do not take photographs of the ceremony.” Easy peasy, and puts it on the bride and groom instead of sounding accusatory that guests aren’t really participating or being present if they are taking photographs.

        • Thank you, very much MEI.
          In summary of my point, if i saw any of those signs above or a note in the program that said “The couple kindly requests you leave your cellphones, cameras, and other electronic gadgets off for the day” the point would be made, i’d put away my phone and STFU about it. If i saw a message in the program like Pro-Photog, i would be offended and it would probably make me enjoy the wedding a lot less. I just really wanted to point out that.
          Though i cant’ deny that the idea of giving something to a small child with popsicles and ketchup isn’t very funny. I feel like you could totally add that to the end of a simple request to drive the point home that you’re serious and while still making people laugh.

      • I facebook from my phone all the time and I fully intend to make major fun of people who feel they need to do it during my cerimony.

        And like anything else on offbeat bride its a free exchange of ideas and you wont please everyone. What works for me wont work for everyone.

    • Lisa: Hi! I really appreciate and respect your comment, it’s awesome to get lots of different points of views, I wanted to add my thought if that’s ok, about “as a photographer, i DO experience life through a lens in what to me is a meaningful and fullfilling way. The wording that suggests that i wouldn’t be present if i was taking pictures is offensive to me as it suggests to me that my life style somehow isn’t good enough for these people” I LOVE photography and to me, I see professional photographers, like this this second nature, you ARE in the moment, cause it’s like breathing, you live it, you love it, you breathe it. But us “professional amateurs” we are like
      Oh that flash looks horrible
      scrolls through camera
      Darn now it’s blurry without the flash
      scrolling some more…
      It’s not like breathing for us, we can do it, but it’s like speaking another language you just learned, you stumble, bumble, mispronounce… and for professionals it’s like a second language you learned WITH your first, it’s natural, you don’t think about it too much… I don’t think they meant to offend at all, but the “Uncle Bob’s” they can’t connect as well because they have to detach to “speak the language” but professionals, of course you live it, and love it, and experience it! And it’s awesome and fantastic! I hope I can get there one day! I hope I didn’t offend you at all, I just wanted to add that thought, cause I really don’t think that comment was meant in quite exactly that way… and it IS awesome that you connect! It’s what you love! That’s where I hope to be career-wise one day, where it’s like second-breathing 🙂

    • Re: Your viewing life through the lens – I don’t think you would be the target of the signs, and I suspect that anyone inviting you would know that, and would be likely to contact you in advance… I intend to include all of my shutterbug friends on the “Shoot away!” list, and suspect that would be true for most folks. You are not the one being targeted, it’s Cousing Alicia, who’s fourteen and sitting by herself playing with her camera ’cause Aunt Jennie’s the organist, and Uncle Steve who is about 3 drinks in and “Wantsh a Closheup of the Sheremony”
      As for the “Tweeting” jape: my apologies. It’s meant to be a parody of a bladder control commercial. I am looking at having a *LOT* of cell-phone obsessed pre-teens and teens who respond best to humor. I am totally O-kay with twitter, but find the idea of someone sitting onthe aisle, phone in hand tweeting “At my stupid cousin’s wedding, OMFG I am so BOARED!!!* to be a little off-putting. You, again, are *not* the target of the commentary. You are a well-spoken, thoughtful, considerate individual, and therefore not the target audience for any of the above.

    • It is often us professional photographers that most get in each other’s way at these events. Sure, there’s Uncle Bob. But then there are those of us that actually enjoy many aspects of life MORE when we can see and capture them through our lense. And who would feel so antsy at a beautiful wedding with no capability to photograph. And, yet, if you are NOT the hired photographer, as a professional photographer, more reason to refrain from photographing the event. For one, you create more direct competition for the photographer with your DSLR images, and two, let’s be honest – (generic) you just won’t be able to help yourself and keep angling a little closer to that perfect shot (i.e., in the way of the hired photog). I’m only saying this because I know myself and know my kind (professional photogs) and a situation like that would be like being dehydrated and not allowed to drink if you had your camera on you. So, leave it at home or in the car, and get over yourself … it’s not your wedding to photograph and any offense taken is your problem alone, not the couple that politely asked.

  14. Ran the idea past my mom, she thinks it’s fantastic. Ran it past the MIL and got “oh well, you’ll never be able to stop grandma x.” Yeah well, it’s my wedding and quite frankly if I politely request something and grandma x thinks she’s so special as to not have to follow the rules, I’m gonna be extremely unhappy with said grandma. It’s not like we won’t have a photographer or intend to bogart all the photos. Sure he’s your grandson, but I happen to be marrying him, therefore I overrule.

  15. I LOVE this post. Whenever we go to weddings my friends always bust out their cameras at the ceremony and I have even had a friend hand me a camera to take pictures because I had a better view. I refused and she got really mad at me. I think it is incredibly rude. You should be enjoying the moment with the bride and groom not watching it from behind an LCD screen. The reception is a totally different story in my opinion. Plus, church weddings? Who in their right mind things it’s appropriate to take flash photography during a service??

    I always wondered how I would approach the situation if/when I get married. I love the advice here and it gives me some great ideas.

    • I HATE when my dad/mom/sister hand me their cameras, what because I’m an “artist” (I hesitate to even call MYSELF that and I’m starting a business with my art!!!) that entitles me to be a total rude ass?!? And then they get MAD at us??? WTF??? My sister ALWAYS shows up with her camera, video camera, and phone, and while I love her to death, her photos are ok at best, so why not just enjoy, and I say this being that “Niece Candy” but I always stay away from the photog (like he’s taking shots outside, I capture the awesome snack table before it’s all gone and no more photo opportunity left! That way it’s respectful, and appropriate 🙂

  16. First of all I am in love with the “As Shakespeare once said” one! That is just the best 😉

    I have actually seen at a lot of traditional weddings where they have blocks within the ceremony where they ask that you don’t take pictures if that makes any sense. Like they allow people to take them when everyone is entering but then perhaps not during the readings? I can’t remember how it all got broken down – but it was written in the programs and the officiant even announced that ok this is the part where you can’t take pictures, ok you can take pictures again now. It’s always seemed to work for the weddings I’ve seen and no one ever seemed to be offended, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work – it’s a nice sort of compromise 🙂

  17. Gotta say this is a definite win category where Las Vegas weddings are concerned…the majority of which make their living on photography and will not allow any photos taken except by their photographer. I won’t debate whether they price gouge or not (some do, some don’t), whether a candid would be better than pro photo or not or even whether they take good photos (some do, some don’t) but it does help my guests be in the moment without a camera between me and them.

  18. I was the maid of honor for a French wedding in France recently. The fact that all of the attendees did not treat the event as one giant photo shoot, rather than a party, was so refreshing. It was one of the most fundamental differences between American weddings I have attended and this one. That said, the bride really appreciated the 20 or so candid shots I later posted on flickr.

  19. I had never even thought about this in terms of weddings before. A few weeks ago, I went to a really gorgeous exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I tried to immerse myself fully in the surreal world that the blown-glass flowers surrounding me created, but kept getting shaken out of it when I realized that every single person next to me was staring at their iPhones. I couldn’t help wanting to yell at them! GUYS! HOW MUCH DID YOU PAY TO COME HERE? BE HERE! BE REALLY HERE! DON’T EXPERIENCE LIFE THROUGH A SCREEN!

    After that experience, I was understandably in favor of the unplugged ceremony when I saw the mention of it here! I think I would happily allow picture-taking during the reception (most of my friends aren’t camera-obsessed, so I don’t think it would take over), but I would hate to look up at the audience during my ceremony and see the same thing I saw at the museum: everyone’s face turned toward a tiny screen, nobody seeing what’s really right there. These suggested wordings are excellent! I plan to have a website, so maybe I’ll put a designated page explaining my choice there so people understand. Thank you so much for this post!

  20. YMMV, of course, but i have to say – i am SO GLAD we didn’t do this for our wedding. yes, it was definitely a ceremony that was outside and more casual than a quiet churchy affair. we had one team captain photographer (a pro photojournalist who actually worked his way through a shot list – family, brides w/ bouquets, getting ready shots) and then encouraged our other friends with nice cameras to shoot and upload anything they wanted as long as they tagged it so we could find it. (one excellent video shooter who attended politely declined, actually, because he didn’t want to feel like he was working – which was totally fine.) my favorite images of the night were the least expected and were only available to us because we had so many people taking as many pictures as they wanted.

    as for the attention deficit question: i can barely remember anyone but my wife that day. there could have been bears dancing in the aisles and i would have just kept staring at her. 🙂

    • As I said in the article I toooootally expect that not all couples (or even MOST couples) would want to go this route, but I do want to clarify one thing: most of the people who I see expressing interest in it aren’t going for “quiet churchy affairs.” Specifically, I’ve heard from a couple Pagans who were very clear that they wanted their guests actively participating in the ritual of their wedding ceremony.

      My point here is just to discourage assuming that this is a “quiet chuchy” thing. Many churches have rules about camera use — it’s the folks getting married outside churches who have to establish their own rules.

  21. As a professional wedding photographer I’m no longer surprised, when reviewing photos, to see parents of the bride or groom in the background taking photos during the ceremony. How can they possibly be appreciating the moment?

    Unplugged wedding? Genius 🙂

    • And before the days of cameras and phones, people would pretend to read the program or stare out the window, or at the floor, or at their feet. If they chose to ‘not appreciate’ the moment, that’s their problem. We can’t go around being the police- besides who are we to assume that because someone is taking a photo they aren’t appreciating the moment? Something obviously inspired them to want to capture the moment in front of them.

  22. Isn’t there a problem with the font? My eyes hurt because of the oversize font starting from “talk to your photographer”. Am I the only one having this?

      • Oh man, I wish you’d said something yesterday! There was a header tag that wasn’t closed correctly, but most browsers (Firefox, Chrome, ie9) compensate for that. I didn’t realize ie8 was naughty in that particular way. Regardless, the issue has been fixed — next time you notice broken formatting, please let us know!

  23. I find this whole request really strange. We didn’t have any problems with ringing phones or people taking photos of people taking photos. A lot of our guests had really nice, professional cameras and we set up a flickr page for them. I’ve not seen a single terrible guest-taken photo on it. Our photographer even stepped aside and said “okay, you guys have 2 minutes to take photos and then they’re mine” and people abided by this rule just fine.

    Honestly, we were so busy chatting with every person at the wedding I didn’t even see ANYONE taking photos (and when I saw photos of myself everywhere from that day, friends and photographer both, I didn’t even realize they’d been taken).

  24. I was looking at a friend’s wedding photos the other day and there isn’t a single picture of their family of four looking at the same camera- one of them is always looking at grandpa!

  25. I had never even thought about this, but after reading the articles posted over the last couple of days we have decided to go unplugged as well. Thanks for the wording and signs!

  26. Ok, I give up. I’ve read both articles and the discussion on the tribe and I just can’t wrap my head around this.

    I’m not a huge fan of technology, I have never yet used my phone to go online and was very suprised that I managed to take 80 photos at a music festival, but my natural reaction to cameras at my wedding was the complete opposite of this idea.

    I put a note on our website reminding people to bring cameras and will have a page up for them to share photos afterwards, I’m even planning to bring my own camera just in case. All on top of hiring a pro.

    Honestly for me the benefits of having more photos overall and letting everyone get the shots they want far out weigh the negatives, especially since I’ve never seen anyone actually getting in the way at other weddings. I don’t doubt it happens but I feel safe with our guests.

    That said it’s an interesting idea and I’d like to hear how it works out for other people. Only thing is I definately agree that you need to share the pro photos with all your guests and let them know that in advance so they know they’re not being asked to miss out for the sake of your album.

  27. I love the idea of an unplugged wedding ceremony – and part of me wishes I could do it for the reception too but knowing my fiance’s family that’s not going to happen!

    I have a big thing about my privacy, to the point where I HATE people putting pictures of me on fb without asking, or tagging pics of me. Yes I am that anal 🙂

    What would annoy me most I think is seeing pics of my wedding all over fb for the world to see. I know some people don’t mind this but for me it’s a complete no no.

    • You can always put something about please refrain from photos during the cermony… photos are welcome at the reception, however if you are posting on facebook, the bride and groom kindly request that you do not tag them in the photos.

      Also, if you do get tagged, you can untag yourself and the person won’t be allowed to re-tag you in that photo again.

  28. I think the hard thing to remember in all of this is it is YOUR wedding. Those vows mean a lot to you. But to the majority of the people of the wedding (minus your very very close family) it really won’t mean a whole lot to them. Besides another wedding. Telling people what they can and can’t do in your wedding is a little offensive. You can’t MAKE people pay attention to you if they don’t want to.

    • Amen. THat is my point exactly. Most of the people attending your wedding, aren’t going to give much a crap about stuff. I mean honestly, can you remember vows from any weddings you’ve been to? I sure can’t. I remember things like, “oh that wedding was so non-fussy and we had a total blast!” or “oh yeah I remember that wedding, it stunk because it was ‘all about the bride’ and we were constantly reminded of it with all their rules. Gee we didn’t enjoy or have fun at that wedding”

      People aren’t going to remember all the little details so many brides seem to fuss over.

      I realize vows are important and special to the bride and groom and possibly parents and immediate family, but as the above poster stated, to the rest of the people there- they don’t mean much “it’s just another wedding.” Sure they might remember, “it was nice” or “it was sweet” or “wasn’t it cute when their kids got up and said something”? But they aren’t going to remember or be so enthralled in what’s going on…

      I am also curious, those who are commenting worrying that guests aren’t going to be focused on them, are you also not allowing children to the wedding?

      • If other people’s weddings are so boring and you “don’t give a crap about stuff”, why do you want so many pictures?

      • Why are you even on this site? I mean, seriously… do you understand why people commenting and sharing may care about weddings other than their own?

      • I remember every wedding I’ve been to and all the intricate details. There’s something about someone I love pouring their heart and soul into a day that makes me want to pay attention and appreciate it.

      • i only plan on inviting people who actually “give a crap” about what’s going on. why would I invite someone to such a personal event if they don’t care about us? I don’t go to weddings of people i don’t care about, when I attend one it’s because I have a close bond and intend to respect what they request of the guests.

  29. Thank you! This is the best wedding idea since the invention of the camera. It never even occurred to me to TELL people to shut it down and pay attention by looking through their eyeballs!

  30. The disclaimer invoking the application of popcicle-wielding, ketchup-bearing children is GOLDEN and will be used, verbatim, for my wedding ceremony. THANK YOU MUCHLY!!!

  31. Loving some of the wording for these 🙂 We will have to conveniently use them for our Ceremony. I’d like people to be /there/ for our wedding, not lost in The Grid.

  32. We didn’t have a wedding ceremony, so we only had the reception. Other than about 10 posed photos of my husband and I with only partial parts of our families, none of the ‘professional’ photos his uncle took as a gift to us turned out. Not a single photo. If not for the few friends who took pictures we would literally have nothing. My family didn’t take any pictures and neither did the rest of his, so while most of the pictures we do have are grainy, or weird, at least we have them. Not that I’m paranoid, but if we’d had a ceremony and told people to put down the cameras, we wouldn’t have had a single shot.

    • Jess, I’m so sorry to hear about your situation! That said, unless I’m misunderstanding, the issue to me sounds more like the result of not hiring a professional photographer — ie, relying on a family member’s gift instead of hiring a pro. Not that professionals can’t screw up too (we all know they can and do!) but since their professional reputation is involved, the stakes are much higher for them doing a good job.

    • I don’t think anyone should have an unplugged wedding IF they haven’t hired a high quality professional photographer to photograph the wedding. If you don’t have a hired photographer and one that you have vetted well, by all means, make sure all your friends and family snap away.

  33. I’ve been to 2 separate weddings where guests’ phones rang DURING the ceremony and THEY ANSWERED IT. Not cool. (and the longer ceremony was only 30 minutes long!) Ceremonies are meant for being fully present in that moment, everything else can wait. That is the point of calling something to ceremony–to make it special and SEPARATE from daily life.
    We will definitely have a no tech policy for the ceremony….for the reception its ok but we will make some kind of *nice* note telling people to ENJOY themselves and not spend the whole time on their dam phones! Also considering putting disposables in various spots for those awesome random pictures…not sold yet though on the cost! (Could this possibly act as a distraction away from technology?)

    THANKS for bringing this up!!

  34. I don’t think I can remember a wedding ceremony where I kept my phone ON. Maybe it’s a holdover from growing up in church and being expected to be quiet and respectful of ceremony?

    And if I had an unplugged wedding and someone I invited said if they couldn’t use their cellphone they wouldn’t come…I would be SO offended and hurt that their connection to a device overrode their connection with me. What an awful thing to say.

  35. I wish I’d seen this before our wedding. I thought guests taking pictures was going to be fine, I’d just have lots more besides what our photographer gave us! But everyone was too busy looking at the back of their screens to see if they got ‘the shot’ to even look at my husband and I. During our first dance no one was really paying attention, it was sad. Then to top it all off, very few people ever shared the photos they took with me and there were so many cameras. Plus there are several of our pro pics where a guest is in the way with their camera in some way. I would have a basket at the front of the church to collect the cameras if I were to do it all over again! Taking your own photos instead of witnessing the wedding is just selfish and rude.

  36. Or, to quote Edge and Christian:
    “For the benefit of those with flash photography,” ( Then you add) ” We will now pose for 30 seconds……. Now please put your *Bleep* cameras down!!!”

    • oh my goodness, we are SO saying this at our wedding! We’re having an unplugged wedding because I don’t want my day plastered all over FB before Ive even managed to legally change my name. This recently happened to a cousin of mine who got married, it was almost like Id been at the day myself. But we will allow pictures at certain parts, and this is definitely going to be said…several times lol

  37. I’m hoping for an unplugged wedding for two reasons. As a wedding photographer, I know what it’s like to view a wedding through a lens versus my own eyes, and you don’t fully appreciate it with a piece of glass in your face. Second, we’re having a vintage-inspired wedding and want to stay true to theme. We will, however, share all of our wedding photos with our guests and have a photobooth set up where they can receive print favours. We included details on having an unplugged wedding with our guests on our wedding website:

  38. A little story of an “interesting” view by an officiant.

    A couple of months ago, I was officiating at a beach wedding and my husband was the photographer. We ask that guests refrain from photography and videography as it is difficult to shoot around amateur “shooters”, especially when performing an outdoor wedding. People would do things that they normally would never think of in an indoor venue. We know they mean well but generally don’t see things from a photographers point of view.

    Before the ceremony started a young lady in a bright yellow sundress came up to me and told me she was the “guest” videographer and asked the best spot for her to take video.

    Not trying to be rude and tell her that she was not welcome to take video and not wanting to cause any drama with a guest or any family, I told her where to plant herself to get the best video with her little handheld, knowing that she would not be in the way of the professional photographer.

    During the ceremony, I noticed that she had moved into the middle of the aisle to take video shots, while my husband was shooting the bride and groom from behind me and trying to shoot the guests emotions during the ceremony.

    The “guest” videographer crouched down in the middle of the aisle, her dress was hiked up to her thighs, legs spread apart and lo and behold…..she had on NO UNDERWEAR AND A BRAZILIAN!! Are you kidding me? As I was speaking to the bride, groom and guests, that was my view and the view of my husband trying to shoot professional photos.

    I asked this chick later if she thought about doing video as a pro….her response was that she really liked doing it and would definitely consider it. So I told her that I had a tip for her…next time, she should wear underwear or forget wearing a dress and put on slacks!! Her response, “Oh geez, I guess I forgot to put them on.” Seriously!!

    So, ladies, leave your photos and videos to the professionals and tell your guests to unplug, you never know what they are going to do, wear or NOT wear!!

    • Oh my word! I thought male photographers showing “builder’s bum” when working was bad enough but this lowers things to a whole new level. That really is awful and yet funny at the same time.

  39. I JUST posted this yesterday in a forum:
    Don’t you just wish that the couple’s would start putting a note in the invitations to deal with this ahead of time.
    “We have booked a professional photographer. We want you to only take snapshots of the fun YOU are having. Please do not interfere with the pro as they get the ceremony and family shots, or the important moments, like our first dance, cake cutting, etc. We invited you to enjoy the evening as a guest, and do not want you to ‘work’ or worry about capturing those pictures. Thank you for understanding and we hope you have a wonderful time!”

  40. I was thinking about doing this, and put together a flyer that matched by wedding – sort of, but my fiance didn’t like the idea and the photographer (a semi-professional, and a friend) said people would do it anyways, no matter how many flyers I had up. I had to agree, considering some of *his* family members.

    • Sure, you may have “those” family members, to whom the rules never apply, however, if you ask them not to take any pictures, you have a good chance of them being more discreet with it and they will, therefore be less likely to stand in the middle of the aisle in front of the professional photographer.

  41. This is AWESOME. I am BIG no cell phone when you are with people proponent. I had not thought about the phones and such at my wedding. I found awesome way to combine this with another idea I found on OB. 🙂 🙂 I will post when I can become a member in January!

  42. I haven’t read all of the comments, so maybe this has been covered, but any tips for including this in the invitation? I just feel like if I arrived at a wedding with my camera and then was asked to not use it, I’d get kind of cranky carrying it around all night with no purpose.

    • I am wondering this as well… I already sent my invites, so I really don’t want people to arrive with their “gear” and be told to leave it all in the car. I do not want photos of them with a nikon around their neck all night, either.

      Any ideas on a way to communicate “I know we decided this two weeks before the wedding, so go to our website and read about it, so you don’t get treated like a dumbass on the day of.”

      Maybe we can have them all deposit their phones in a basket and collect them at the end of the night, so if someone has an actual emergency???? idk. pretty much everyone important will be there for almost everyone.

    • I know this is late for the people here asking the questions, but for anyone else…..My sister’s friend just included a little card in her invitation, along with the registry info and directions, that stated their photographer had requested no cameras be present while they were there. I will say the wordings found here are a lot kinder than the ones she used, their invite made it sound a bit like the photographer was just a conceded a-hole, but it still worked nicely.

      And if deciding to go unplugged is a last minute thing, I would just shoot everyone an email that’s something along the lines of “can’t wait to see you next week at the wedding, just a reminder we’re having an unplugged wedding blah blah blah…” You my also want to add something in about feel free to take pics with loved ones you haven’t seen in a while before the ceremony, but once the wedding starts, put everything away. Because I know a lot of people get there early and start chatting while the couple and photographer aren’t even present yet.

  43. Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for the copy and paste blurbs. I copied it verbatim into our wedsite’s FAQ! I was worrying about even having an unplugged wedding in the first place because I didn’t know how to announce it without feeling rude. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  44. Thank you for the ridiculous option! It has now been copypasta-ed into my OBB patchwork quilt of a ceremony. 🙂

  45. My issue is not only the photo-taking but the posting of photos on Facebook or elsewhere. I feel that it’s the bride and groom’s prerogative to share photos of their wedding with the rest of the world, and to choose which photos to share. So I’m putting a note in my program asking for no ceremony photos and no posting. I’m sure that there will be some people who feel this doesn’t apply to them, but I think it’s worth requesting.

  46. I guess I’m totally plugged in because not only do I not care if people take pics (they’re theirs then…what do I care?) but I will probably be taking photos myself. We have a pretty small guest list and most of it is luddites and older people (no, seriously, my family are woods-people. Not sure any of them even have cell phones), so I can’t imagine more than a few people there taking/posting pics. Though I’ve respected this rule at other events I don’t really like it because I can’t take anything away from the day then (besides crappy Jordan almonds…).

  47. I don’t think I would have an issue with guests taking their own photos. My biggest issue, would be guests “stealing my thunder” by uploading those photos to social networking sites before the day or even the ceremony is even over. My version of unplugged is that guests would share photos with me via a private website perhaps, or at least wait until I had shared some of my own photos first.

  48. I created this for my wedding. As I am a professional photographer & I too love the “not so good” images from friends & family in attendance. And I understand the guests want to share what they are doing on social media. However, I do not want to pay the $ I am paying for a professional to have difficulty capturing the images Im paying for. So I am allowing 2 times where guest can get quick images for themselves. Here’s what I wrote up. Its a little lengthy, but I like it 😉

    Wedding Unplugged

    We are honored that you wish to share in our special day!
    We request all electronic devices & cameras are tucked away.
    The professionals are here.
    He/She/They will capture the images that will be Oh so dear.
    But, never fear!
    We know how hard it is to not falter.
    So when the Bride reaches the altar,
    Grab your devices at that moment.
    Capture your images, then return them to their safe places
    And enjoy the rest of the ceremony in your spaces.
    But wait!
    One last thought for the end of the show.
    You’re welcome to capture that special kiss
    And then onto the reception if you wish to go.

  49. I’m planning on doing a semi-unplugged…We’re doing a destination wedding in Jamaica in which the same photographer will be capturing the pictures for both the the destination ceremony and home reception. I’m making up signage for Jamaica that requests all phones and cameras are away for the ceremony and dinner, and that also encourages “After dinner, for the fun…#ourweddinghashtag” And plan on doing similar at the home reception encouraging to hold off until after dinner and the ceremonial first dance, speeches, etc.

  50. After going back and forth between the reasons why I want an unplugged wedding and why I shouldn’t go through with asking guests to be unplugged for my nuptials next May I decided to meet in the middle. The wording I will be using for our wedsite is as follows:

    Though we are very honored
    By your wholehearted desire
    To capture the same special moments
    That our photographer will acquire

    We’d much rather see your faces
    And your lovely smiles from ear to ear
    So please refrain from taking photos
    Until after the processional clears

    When Bride reaches Groom
    Go on and capture that shot
    But once the minister begins
    We’re asking that you not

    And if you’re worried you’ll be missing out
    On having your own pictures too
    We’ll gladly share our professional
    photographs with all of you

    One more thing to request,
    We hope you don’t mind
    But if you would silence your cellphone
    It would be extremely kind

    I added my own twist to the original wording found here: and will have our officiant make a remark about putting away devices once the ceremony commences and having him/her advise to take out devices for the couple’s first kiss and recessional.

    All in all, I think for ME, this works out best. It is up to each bride to decide. Good Luck to you all!!

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  52. I’m so grateful for this post and all of your comments. I’m looking forward to the candid reception shots from some of our friends with better skills, but definitely going to count on the professional for ceremony shots. Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed horrible social behavior involving those little screens on a daily basis, and it frequently bleeds over into really important emotional moments and photos. So sad. My vote is for the happy couple to determine how their special day should be recorded.

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  54. I hadn’t really thought about this issue until someone I went to high school with recently got married. We weren’t really close friends, but I am Facebook friends with her. This meant that though we weren’t close enough for me to be invited to the wedding, I saw the whole thing because my news feed was plastered with images from her ceremony, first dance, father daughter dance, etc. Many of these were even uploaded while the events were happening!! I was utterly horrified that people would feel entitled to share so many photos from such an intimate event all over social media, and I decided right then and there we’re having an unplugged wedding!

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  56. So, we’re doing a destination wedding and I really want all my guests to fully be present for the ceremony and for our plated dinner service on the beach but want them to snap away when we’re having fun and celebrating later. I’m sending out an e-mail to my guests pre-departure with details and this topic included, and in our ceremony program the wording is “We want you to be able to really enjoy our wedding, feeling truly present & in the moment with us. We’ve hired an amazing photographer who will be capturing the way the wedding looks and we’re inviting each of you to sit back, relax and just enjoy how the wedding feels. We respectfully ask that everyone leave all cameras and cell phones off & away during the ceremony and dinner. After dinner, for the fun…#onelovevella”

  57. How about a quote:
    “The best gift we can have is living in the present moment and really enjoying it for what it is.” – Amy Smart

    Followed by a brief statement:

    Please turn off your phones, cameras, and other electronic devices during the ceremony – your presence is the greatest gift we could receive.

  58. The bride and groom would like to see your smiling faces while looking at their family and friends, not your devices.

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  61. My photographer actually has a clause in our contract that asks us to let guests know we would prefer if they refrained from taking any pictures during the ceremony. She said she’s had great shots ruined by some one sticking their arms, bodies, and iPads smack in her shot. I honestly didn’t see it as a problem. I’m paying her a lot of money and if this makes her job easier, gives me better photos, and encourages guests to be a bit more present. We are having a Catholic Ceremony with no mass, so it is more traditional, but even if it wasn’t my photographer would still have that clause and I’d still be inclined to agree with her. I’m the kind of person who always tries to be present for the couple, no matter how close we are, because I understand it’s an important day for them and they’ve asked me to share it with them. I’m a photographer myself (not professional but I do have a degree) and would never be offended if I attended an unplugged wedding. It isn’t about me and how I want to take pictures and my feelings might get hurt if I’m kindly (or sarcastically because I respond perfectly to sarcasm) to please put my phone or camera away. I’m a Lit nerd by profession and so we went with a spin of the Shakespeare comment because it made me giggle so much.

  62. I agree- it is important to talk with your photographer before the wedding to make sure they know how many different shots you want. Not only does this inform them of your expectations, it allows you to get a price estimate. Also, I had never thought about the printable sign before! I might tell my sister about that so she can print some for her wedding in a few months!

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