... and why should you consider having one?
I get it, your wedding day is exciting and your friends & family are probably eager to snap some phone photos! During certain parts of the day (such as the cocktail hour and the reception), this is completely acceptable; however, many guests do not realise that certain moments (such as the ceremony) are not the time to be on their phone.
An 'unplugged ceremony' is where the hired photographer is the only one taking photos during the ceremony. Everyone else gets to watch the ceremony and be really present in the moment, watching two people they love get hitched! They don't need to worry about missing the first kiss or having an obstructed view of the couple. Let the professional worry about that instead!
Pros of having an unplugged ceremony:
I have seen too many instances to count where a guest sticking their phone out into the aisle obstructs not only the moment as it unfolds, but also the photos I am taking as the hired photographer. To avoid having phones dangling out of the aisle and to allow guests to be more present, I strongly suggest having an 'unplugged ceremony'.
You want to be able to look at your guests on the day (and your photos later) and not have a sea of phones looking back at you! You want to see your guests faces enjoying your big day.
You get to enjoy your ceremony knowing that you won't have photos with unflattering angles or light uploaded to social media before you've even said 'I do!' Ugly photo angles are a thing of the past with unplugged ceremonies.
You get to hear your guests reactions as you are announced as a married couple, and hear their clapping as you walk back down the aisle. If your ceremony allows for phones and cameras, then you are more likely to hear clicking, or silence than clapping!
There is also a small chance of someone's phone ringing mid-ceremony. While this may cause a few laughs at the time, and a rather embarrassed guest, do you really want this to be a part of your wedding video for years to come?
How to tell your guests that your wedding will be unplugged?
I recommend asking your officiant to make a brief announcement before the ceremony, asking all guests to turn off their mobile phones and please refrain from taking photos during the ceremony. Alternatively, you could include instructions on your wedding invitations, in your order of service on the day, or you could have a special sign made for your ceremony room. Whatever way you decide to approach the situation, your photos will not be ruined by phones or iPads, and your guests will be free to enjoy the moment and be present with you!
What about social media?
In today's day and age, photos are up on Facebook or Instagram almost the second after they have been taken. Do you want photos up on social media immediately, or at all?
If yes, then perhaps consider having a special wedding hashtag so that you'll have some lovely guest photos to scroll through in the days after your wedding, to keep you going until your professional photos are delivered.
If you'd prefer to wait for the professional photos, then maybe consider having a ban on phones and cameras for your whole wedding day! It's your day, and it's your decision!