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:
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:
At the wedding…
[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!)