What is an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony? (+ Pros and Cons!)

Undecided on whether or not to have an unplugged wedding ceremony? Let’s break down the pros and cons.

Weddings are a celebration of love, unity, and the beginning of a beautiful journey together. 

In recent years, a new trend has emerged in the world of weddings – the unplugged ceremony. In an era where smartphones and cameras are everywhere, couples are opting for a more intimate and genuine experience by encouraging their guests to put down their devices and truly immerse themselves in the magical moment. 

However, do the positives of having an unplugged wedding ceremony outweigh the negatives? Read on to find out!

unplugged wedding ceremony pros and cons

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What is an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony?

An unplugged wedding ceremony is an event where the couple requests their guests to refrain from using smartphones, cameras, and other electronic devices during the ceremony. 

The aim is to create a distraction-free environment, allowing everyone to be fully present and engaged in the sacred moment of exchanging vows and celebrating love.

In my 8 years of helping destination wedding brides plan their wedding, I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about cherished once-in-a-lifetime memories being blocked by a guest with a camera.

Think – the first kiss or the walk down the aisle! How devastating would it be to find out your precious moments are obscured by a guest – not the professional – capturing the moment.

The Benefits of Having an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

1. Living in the Moment

By asking guests to put away their phones and cameras, couples are ensuring that everyone is fully present, emotionally invested, and not preoccupied with capturing the perfect shot. This creates a more authentic and intimate atmosphere, with guests able to connect on a deeper level with the ceremony.

2. Professional Photographer Focus

Couples invest a significant amount in professional photographers to capture the essence of their special day. Unplugged weddings ensure that these photographers have unobstructed access to the ceremony, resulting in high-quality, uninterrupted shots that truly encapsulate the emotions of the moment.

3. Respecting the Ceremony

An unplugged ceremony encourages guests to respect the sanctity of the occasion. By putting away their devices, guests can fully appreciate the commitment being made and contribute to a more respectful and sacred atmosphere.

4. Minimizing Distractions

In a world where notifications and alerts constantly demand attention, an unplugged wedding ceremony offers a welcome escape. By minimizing distractions, guests can fully engage with the ceremony without the interference of buzzing phones or the click of camera shutters.

Unplugged Wedding Ceremony Signs

Looking for a way to communicate with your guests?

Many brides use these simple signs to politely get their message across. It also helps to mention this in an RSVP, or welcome letter for guests at destination weddings, just so it isn’t a surprise (and so guests are prepared for this request!).

There are a number of custom designs on Etsy, or you can choose from.

The Cons of Having an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

While many couples appreciate the idea of an unplugged wedding ceremony for the reasons mentioned earlier, it’s essential to acknowledge that this choice may not be suitable for everyone. 

The idea of having an unplugged wedding ceremony didn’t even cross my mind when we got married in Mexico. I cherish our guest photos and I just remember wanting as much coverage as possible!

This can be especially true if you’ve only booked your photographer for a short window of time, or only have a certain number of photos included in your package.

Here are some potential cons or challenges associated with having an unplugged wedding ceremony:

1. Guest Disappointment

 Some guests may feel disappointed or even offended by the request to put away their devices. Some people enjoy capturing personal moments and may view it as a restriction on their ability to document and share their experience.

2. Resistance and Non-Compliance

Despite clear communication, some guests may still choose to ignore the unplugged request and use their devices during the ceremony. This can be distracting and may detract from the intimate atmosphere the couple is trying to create.

3. Limited Guest Participation

Guests may feel less engaged without the ability to take photos or videos. For some, the act of capturing moments is a way of participating in and cherishing the event.

4. Missed Personal Memories

While professional photographers can capture the essence of the ceremony, some couples may regret not having a variety of candid, personal shots taken by their friends and family.

5. Communication Challenges

Some guests might not fully understand or remember the unplugged request, leading to confusion during the ceremony. Clear communication is key, and couples may need to find creative ways to remind guests politely.

6. Social Media Sharing

If couples enjoy the idea of their wedding being shared in real-time on social media, having an unplugged ceremony may limit this aspect. It could also mean fewer immediate congratulations and well-wishes from those unable to attend.

7. Logistical Considerations

Ensuring that all guests comply with the unplugged request requires coordination and effort. Couples may need to consider how to enforce the policy without creating tension or discomfort.

8. Cultural or Religious Considerations

In some cultures or religious traditions, the act of capturing moments during a ceremony may be considered significant or even essential. Couples should be mindful of these cultural or religious aspects when deciding on an unplugged wedding.


It’s important for couples to weigh these potential drawbacks against the benefits of an unplugged ceremony and decide what aligns best with their vision for their wedding day.

Clear communication, understanding the preferences of the guests, and finding a balance between technology and tradition are crucial factors in making this decision.

Unplugged Wedding Ceremony Pros and Cons and How to Choose

An unplugged wedding ceremony isn’t just a trend; it’s a conscious choice to prioritize the genuine experience of the moment over the digital documentation of it.

By encouraging guests to put away their devices, couples are fostering a deeper connection not only between themselves but among their loved ones as well.

It’s important for couples to weigh these potential drawbacks against the benefits of an unplugged ceremony and decide what aligns best with their vision for their wedding day. 

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