A bride and groom kissing outside under a shower of confetti, surrounded by guests cheering and a child looking up in delight, in front of an arched stone entrance.


What is an unplugged wedding ceremony? 

As any wedding photographer knows one of the worst things that can happen during your wedding ceremony is for a guest to, accidentally, but completely destroying that once in a life time moment that I as the hired professional should be capturing, by photo bombing your service. I have seen guests, during my time as wedding photographer, standing in the aisle during the first kiss, or sit videoing or taking photos of your wedding throughout the whole of the ceremony meaning that all I see of them is an IPad or a phone in front of their face.

An unplugged wedding ceremony is a polite way of telling your friends and family that you want them to come to your wedding to celebrate your marriage but that you want them to be present in the moment not view your wedding from behind a screen. They do not need to worry about taking photos as they will be taken by the photographer aka, me.

Does that mean my guests can’t take photos at all?

Well, no-one is saying that they cannot take photos just that there is a time and a place when they can take photos, namely after the signing of the register and the official photos and of course during the rest of the day. It is also becoming increasingly trendy for brides to want to any images of their day, taken by others family and friends, to be checked before they go up on social media and having an unplugged ceremony can be a way of ensuring that no images go up onto social media without the bride and grooms approval.

So you like the idea so how do you tell your guests you want an unplugged wedding without appearing offensive?

Well you could have a board at the entrance to your wedding stating something like:

“Thank you for coming, we have one plea, please keep our wedding camera free”.


“Photos last a life time, your smiles and joy can show but the joy that we might savour could be diminished in one blow. Please put away your cameras let the photographer do her job so the images that are taken are memories to be proud of”.


“As we tie the knot please enjoy this special mo, but please put away your camera so it doesn’t spoil the show”.


“Cameras have their place at weddings this is certainly true, but not in the hands of our guests when we are about to say I do”.

Okay, I get it you don’t like my attempt at rhyming, I’m not offended, I shall just hide in this corner.

The rhyming might not be good but the message is. Let them know you want an unplugged wedding in a humours way and no-one will be offended. Apart from making up your own rhyme there are many manufactures that can help by make boards especially for this purpose. Mamabeargraphidesign  is one such company and you have seen examples of their work thought out this article.

Master of ceremonies

Another alternative to a board to a master of ceremonies, I have met many a master of ceremonies who can put your request for an unplugged wedding into a fun and amusing way again using humour to get the message across. If you choose not to have a master of ceremonies then the registrar or vicar can also make this announcement for you, requesting that photos from guests are restricted until after the signing of the register.

Now I am not saying you must have an unplugged wedding, my aim in this article is just to get you thinking about the possible implications of either having or not having one, but beware from a photographers standpoint the ceremony is the one time in the day when we are restricted to pure photojournalism. I.e. what happens in front of us.

We are regulated in where we can stand, how much we move and what we can do by the officiant of the wedding. So if your uncle Brian decides to stand in the middle of the aisle as you walk down to get that perfect photo, and yes I have seen this happen, blocking my shot, then unfortunately there will be very little that either I or anyone of my fellow photographers can do.

So please think hard about an unplugged wedding.

Good luck in your planning.

About Helen Chapman Photography 

Natural, romantic, fun. My philosophy for wedding photography is based on artistic, creative, story telling with lots of cute photos and captured moments that showcase your personalities as a couple. This alongside my desire to provide exceptional service makes me different from other wedding photographers.  Based in Devon, but serving the whole of the Southwest, I have been published in Wed magazine, won awards with the Guild of Photographers and been trained by international wedding photographers. I would love to have a chat with you about your plans for your wedding day. So if you’re ready why not check my availability for your day: Check my availability and get pricing details.