A woman's hands taking a photo on an iPhone of a bride and her bridal party with their bouquets in front of a tented seated area.

How to Tell Your Wedding Guests to “Unplug”

With the rise of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and every other social media site you can think of (not to mention the incredible photos a phone can take), it seems that everyone has become a photographer and wants to capture everything. It’s like, if there aren’t photos, it didn’t happen. Although this has its benefits (memories at the swipe of a finger, being able to share with friends and family, etc.), it also has a negative side, and especially when it comes to weddings.

Related: How to Look Your Best In Your Wedding Photos and 5 Crucial Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

You can’t blame people for wanting to capture a special once-in-a-lifetime moment, but if that moment is your wedding day, there are some solid reasons why you might want them to turn off their phones and tuck them away. For one, “unplugging” is not only a win for you, but it benefits your guests in that it allows them to be present and enjoy the moment out from behind the screen.

Another huge reason to ask guests to unplug, at least during the ceremony, is because you’ve hired a professional wedding photographer to capture the day and the last thing you want is a bunch of people with tablets and phones cluttering the photos.

Off focus shot of 3 women taking photos with their iPhones of the bride as she walks down the isle while blocking the bridal party from seeing the bride and the groom leaning out from behind them to see the bride walk down the aisle.

If you’ve decided that an unplugged ceremony is a good idea, you might be wondering how you can politely ask your guests to give their phones a rest. Here are some ideas that you can use as is, make your own, or mix and match.

Ask your officiant to make an announcement. Before you walk down the aisle, have your officiant ask guests to silence and put away their phones. According to many real brides, a verbal announcement seems to be one of the more effective ways of asking guests to unplug. You could also have the officiant invite everyone to take photos of you and your fiancé at the altar and then put away their phones. It’s like saying, “Get your photos out of the way now, please.”

Ease your guests’ minds. People have major FOMO when it comes to capturing events (and especially when there’s a chance they might be in the pictures), so ease their minds by putting up a sign or having someone announce something like, “Please put your phones and cameras away. We promise to share our professionally taken photos with you/on social media.”

Put up a sign. There are a lot of creative and fun sign ideas to let guests know you would appreciate their unplugged cooperation. Some are funny, some are clever, and some are to the point.

Easel holding a poster that says "welcome to our unplugged ceremony we invite you to be fully present with us during our ceremony. please turn off all cameras and cell phones for the duration of our ceremony thank you". Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

The truth is, a couple of people might still try and snap a sneaky photo, but the majority of your guests will respect your wishes and probably feel grateful for the chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy the moment.

Trying to decide if an unplugged wedding is right for you? Or are you looking for more ways to let your guest know? Click the button below!

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