Wording from an Unplugged Wedding program

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Last year, we addressed the trend of “Unplugged Weddings,” where couples ask their guests to put down their cameras. We even gave you some examples of how to word your request.

Well, a year later, we're starting to see more and more couples choosing to unplug their weddings. New York's Ryan Brenizer Photography recently posted this photo of a wedding program on Facebook, with the caption, “I saw this in the wedding program yesterday. Fantastic.” Looks like this couple (Andrea and Richard) read Offbeat Bride — we recognize our wording template! Hopefully we'll see more from their wedding soon.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Brenizer Photography on Facebook

The response has been, uh, dramatic with people desperately chiming in on whether this is rude/tacky (yawn!) or brilliant. We had that debate last year, so we'll just say that we love it when couples feel empowered to speak up and create the ceremonial space they need to make their wedding day feel right for them.

(Thanks to Jessie from Eclectic Unions for cluing us into the fact that this was going viral on Facebook!)

Comments on Wording from an Unplugged Wedding program

  1. We had one, and it worked so well for us. We had a posted sign, a note in the program, and our officiant invited people to put away their cell phones and cameras and be “truly present” and “capture how the moment feels.” I love that we only have photos of our guests looking at us, and no one’s cell phone went off during the ceremony. It was perfect.

  2. The varied response is interesting to me. Kind of worries me since we are planning on doing this. However we are planning on just asking that for the ceremony and not the cake cutting etc. So hopefully no one will be too miffed.

    • There will be “varied responses” to most nontraditional wedding decisions. All you can do is make the decisions that feel like the best fit for you and your guests!

      • What floors me is that it’s now considered “nontraditional” to ask your guests to please turn off their devices and leave the photography to the professionals. Is it really that hard to hang up for a few hours?

    • Agreed. I kind of feel like the cake cutting exists solely to be photographed. It certainly wasn’t something I looked forward to as an emotional moment (although some may, and that’s fine!)
      However, we did an unplugged ceremony and it was so worth every minute of worrying about whether we’d offend people and whether they’d obey. They very kindly did and it was so amazing to look out during the ceremony and see our loved ones experiencing it with us. Even if something happened to our pro photos, I would rather have had that experience.

      • I feel the same way about things like the cake cutting, its not super emotional to me and does just exist because its what you do (especially since we’re having a dessert table and just a small cake for the sole purpose of cutting). But my problem with everyone having their devices out for it is that when I go back and look at the pictures of my wedding I don’t want to see a crowd of people with cel phones out in the background. So I’m contemplating asking for no devices during these ceremonial events as well.

        • The reason we didn’t want non-professional photography for the cake cutting was not because it was particularly ceremonial. It was because of crowds that tend to make it impossible for shorter people to see anything that’s going on. (Yes, that’s my wedding program. Yes, I’m responding years later. I didn’t mind the drama, I just thought it best not to comment myself back then.)

  3. We had something similar in the “additional info” pages of our wedding invitations for both weddings. It’s a great idea if you have a good photographer, not so great if you don’t. Some of the best photos of our second/actual wedding were taken by guests. I only wish more of them HAD photographed the ceremony because what the photographer dished up most amateurs wouldn’t want to put their name to.
    I’m not fussed much if people consider it tacky. I was aiming for tacky anyway, so nobody should have been disappointed. Your wedding, your rules. Don’t like it? Don’t come. Simple.

  4. We put up an unplugged page on our wedding website explaining what an unplugged ceremony is. We have decided not to limit photos outside the ceremony, but from processional to recessional we’d like all devices to be off.
    So far all the responses we’ve received have been positive. “What a good idea!” “I’ve never heard of this but I like it!” Etc.
    Since cell phones are not a traditional part of a wedding I’m not sure how someone could argue tradition. What’s traditional about a facebook post?

  5. How can it possibly be tacky? And that’s coming from someone who usually sees tacky as good. I often like tacky (though I’d be in favour of unplugging), but that means I know tacky when I see it, and that (concept OR notice) ain’t it. Oh and I agree with jayem; it’s your meaningful day; your rules, or people can fcark off.

  6. We had an unplugged wedding ceremony! It was very important to my Husband. We had a similar message in our program as well as a sign at the entrance. No one took any photos and I think people really appreciated our ceremony because of it. It didn’t seem like we offended people either. We had the pro photos available to our guests for download after the wedding.

  7. We had an unplugged ceremony as well. We knew our amazing photographer would get great shots of the ceremony (she did) and we wanted everyone to pay attention and share in the moment. We put brief wording to that effect in the program, then the best man made a short “no cameras and phones” speech before the ceremony began.

    No one seemed to mind. In fact, I swear I felt a sort of captive magic during our ceremony. People really did pay attention. They laughed, they responded when necessary–they cried. There were no flashes or clicks or beeps and I could hear people sniffling at emotional parts. It really felt like everyone was part of the ceremony, not just us and the bridal party.

    One of my favorite during-the-ceremony photos that the photographer captured is a candid shot of my aunt, who I worried would be offended at the no-camera rule. She is the camera queen of the family. In this candid, she is looking up at the ceremony, completely enraptured. That photo alone made me realize that the unplugged ceremony was absolutely the right decision.

    We did invite people to photograph away during the reception and we’ve got some great, fun photos as a result! But I’m really happy that everyone was THERE for the ceremony instead of behind a lens or screen.

  8. This is so interesting to me, because I’m Jewish and have mostly been to Jewish weddings where it is forbidden to take pictures during the ceremony (even by the professionals. The only picture I have of us actually getting married is taken through mostly closed doors at the very back of the hall). Nothing really to add to the conversation, but I think its beyond reasonable to ask people to not be “clicking” away.

  9. its very funny that some people thought this was the photographer’s way of insuring that everyone would buy his prints of the wedding… i think they missed the point.

    • I was helping a neighbor with their wedding many years back and I came across a few photographers that insisted on no other cameras through the entire wedding (reception and all) because they wanted people to only be able to buy their prints. Although I’m not sure if that would even be something you could claim anymore since everything ends up online now and even if downloading of photos is blocked people can always screenshot and save. And except for the bride and groom, most people at the wedding are only going to want to have a digital copy anyway not actual prints.

    • Yep, they really missed the point. Particularly because we sent out prints with all of our thank you notes. We included this because we wanted to, not because our photographer asked us to. We had complete trust in him, and we were not disappointed.

  10. I love the wording of this, we are lucky in the sense that cell phones don’t work where we are having our wedding, but I really want to encourage people to put down their cameras during the ceremony.

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