When a bride is walking down the aisle, you’d like to think her friends and family would be basking in that moment, shedding a tear, making a memory.


Left to their own devices, a large percentage of guests will hang their phone, tablet, or camera right out in the aisle.

One wedding pro I spoke to recently said it’s common for 25 – 50% of the people in the aisle seats to have a device out as the bride arrives. And apparently, it’s not the Millennials who are the biggest problem – it’s more likely to be the parents and grandparents of the couple!

This is not cool.

•    It looks bad in the couple’s wedding photos and video.

•    It can block the photographer and videographer’s view of the bride or groom.

•    People are watching their screen, instead of being fully present.

Why should you care?

Well, most couples know that this sucks. They want their guests looking at them with their eyes, not through a screen. And they don’t want their expensive photos and video ruined by having a bunch of guests holding up phones in every picture.

So what does your business need to do to keep up with this new trend and help couples out with this dilemma?

How to Have an “Unplugged” Ceremony

A recent blog post by a Brisbane wedding videographer suggested three ways to create an unplugged ceremony.

1.    Have the officiant make an announcement before the ceremony.

If you’re an officiant, it’s arguably now best practice to ask the couple what their preference will be for use of phones during their ceremony. Then you can offer to make an announcement expressing their wishes. For example:

“[Name] and [Name] have requested that you put your cameras, phones and iPads away until the completion of this ceremony. We have professional photographers [and videographers] here and our couple will happily share those images with you all.”

2.    Print a sentence or two in the ceremony booklet.

Wedding planners and stationery designers should give their couples the option to include something in the booklet like this:

Welcome to our “unplugged” wedding. We kindly ask you to put your phones and cameras away until the completion of the ceremony.

3.    Post a sign at the entrance to the ceremony.

Do a search for “unplugged weddings” on Pinterest and you‘ll see a ton of creative ideas. Chalkboards, wooden signs, beautiful posters…sometimes decorated with exquisite florals.

Stationary designers, stylists and florists should get on this trend to see if there is an opportunity for a new product offering.

Officiants could even have an on-trend sign produced, and offer it to couples either to add value (free of charge), or as a paid extra.

What Photographers / Videographers Need to Know

In the interests of keeping their work as beautiful as possible, photographers and videographers should probably also ask their couples to consider going unplugged, and help them understand why and how.

Most couples will readily agree to the concept. However, some prefer to let their guests take photos, and will actively encourage the use of a hashtag for sharing content throughout the day. It’s their day – and if this is their preference then it’s important to support that choice.

Just remember that if the ceremony does go unplugged, it’s all on you to capture the event. If you don’t work with a second shooter, or second camera, make sure you have backup everything so your butt is covered.

Does your business offer a service or product related to unplugged weddings? How have you had to adapt your business to this new trend? Tell us below!

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Stephanie Padovani

Stephanie is a Hudson Valley wedding insider, blogger, writer, and wedding business coach. Want to book more weddings at higher prices? Quit dealing with price shoppers? Transform your wedding business so that it supports the life you really want? Look her up! They don't call her the Wedding Business Cheerleader for nothing. :)

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9 thoughts on “The New Wedding Ceremony Trend You Need to Know About”

  1. Wanda Hall says:

    I would like your permission to re post on our Facebook page and our blog on our web site.
    Thank you

    1. Yes, you’re welcome to do this. Please include a link back to the original article on our website if you repost on your blog. Thanks!

  2. Very good article – we typically ask the officiant to make an announcement and some will. However, from now on we will add unplugged ceremony to our consultation.

  3. Very good article. This is definitely a growing trend that we have also been seeing. I see no problem with cell phones & devices being used during the reception when guests are dancing and enjoying themselves but the ceremony should be off limits or at least limited to a trusted designee who can then post or share the video/pictures with guests. Larger devices like iPads and the like stand out like a sore thumb.
    I understand the emotions of the ‘special’ day and this article brings up a valid point.

  4. Scott Thomas says:

    I have seen some couples do this. I am going to repost this with your permission on my FB page for future couples to consider. Thank you!!

  5. Jen Janviere says:

    Great article! As a photographer, this is a common occurrence that I frequently see at weddings. While I have no problem with friends and family members taking photos at the event (they’re excited and happy, after all), over-enthusiastic guests can quickly ruin a moment by jumping in front of the professional’s camera at the wrong time. While it’s my job to get the shot no matter what, this definitely makes it more challenging. I’m always grateful to couples who recognize and this request an unplugged ceremony.

  6. Julie says:

    Nice points, thank you for sharing the informative post.

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