When you read the phrase unplugged ceremony, where does your mind wander? Some people may think it means no electricity. As eco-efficient as that would be, think again. An unplugged ceremony means that guests are completely unplugged from the internet/their phones. Yep - that means no photos, no Insta stories, no TikToks, no phones turned on. To some, this may seem insane, and to others, a wonderful idea. Wherever you sit on the fence, we are going to go through the ins and outs of this kind of wedding ceremony.
Is an unplugged ceremony your kind of vibe? You'll find out soon enough!
What is an unplugged ceremony?
As we said before, an unplugged ceremony is one where you ask your guests to kindly stay off all phones, cameras, iPads, and the lot. There are to be no electronics whatsoever. Some people may opt for an unplugged ceremony but a plugged-in reception and others will decide to go electronics-free for the whole day. The decision is ultimately up to the couple in question.
Why choose an unplugged ceremony?
- Keeps the focus on the couple
It goes without saying that we find ourselves in a technological world. If I had a penny for every one of my friends' various social media accounts, I'd be very rich indeed. We spend a lot of time on the internet nowadays, whether that's due to work or other (P)interests. Whatever the reason, it's safe to say that our minds can easily wander. So wanting a ceremony where the sole focus is on the couple and their love and commitment to one another is very understandable. It allows for the guests being completely engaged and present in the ceremony.
- Intimacy increases
When phones are taken out of the equation, the event immediately becomes more intimate. Everyone feels more involved in the day, and that's a beautiful thing. Not only that, the couple getting married feel a greater emotion from the crowd. Instead of looking out and seeing flashes and screens, they'll see people's real-time reactions. This is a lot less intimidating for the couple - some people get very camera-nervous, and we can't blame them!
- Helps out your photographer
Getting rid of phones for a few hours is also a huge benefit to your photographer. It allows them to get a clearer shot without being obstructed by anyone or anything. We've all got a potentially over-eager Auntie who will walk out into the aisle to get that perfect shot - but maybe we should leave that to the professionals.
How do I let my guests know?
So, you've decided to have an unplugged ceremony for the above reasons (or your own). Great! But how do you actually let your guests know?
- Wedding invites/website
Telling your guests that you're going unplugged on your invites is a great place to start. Ensure that the text is big enough so no one misses it. You could also add a little explanation as to what an unplugged ceremony is underneath. If you've gone for a wedding website, it's arguably easier. You could even include your reasons for going unplugged.
- Wedding programme
Similar to the above, you can plaster it on your programmes. This will make sure that those who read it on the invite/website but accidentally forgot are swiftly reminded.
- Make an announcement/ask your celebrant
Once everyone has arrived, you can elect someone to remind them about the rules of an unplugged ceremony. Whilst guests are waiting for the bride's grand entrance, you know that pretty much everyone will be in one place - so a great time to speak! Gently remind the guests of the couples' wishes.
- Share the professional photos
Sharing the professional photos taken by your photographer is a win-win. Everyone gets the photos so no one feels the need to sneak in a quick pic, and you can relax knowing this.
- Photo booth
If you are so inclined, you could set up a photo booth, so those who want a little selfie have that option too. Yet another win-win!
What about during the wedding?
We've got one word for you. SIGNS. Whether they're handmade or custom, popping up a bunch of signs around your venue reminding people of your unplugged ceremony rules is a great way to ensure people keep off their phones - and stay off. If you're worried about coming off a little harsh, spruce up your signs with some wit. "Hold the phone!"
Another way to ensure guests are staying off their devices is to organise some sort of phone storage, like baskets. Obviously, some people may not be ok with this in case of a work or other emergency, but it's an idea to float with your partner/guests.
Now you know what an unplugged ceremony is, do you feel like it's your kind of thing? If you need some visual inspiration, then Catherine & Oliver's wedding will be perfect. Their reminder sign is as sleek as it is helpful! Sarah & Peter also tied the knot unplugged - and the photos of the wedding party without their phones are a stunning sight to behold! Finally, Camilla & Russell not only had a neurodiverse sign language wedding ceremony, but it was unplugged as well. Everyone was able to soak up the intimacy and raw emotion going around - beautiful doesn't even begin to cover it.