To unplug or not unplug?

Maybe you've heard of the trend toward having "unplugged" ceremonies - ceremonies where couples ask their guests to turn off their cell phones, iPads and cameras and be fully present with you for the ceremony. It really is a fabulous thing to walk down the aisle and see all of the faces of your loved ones experiencing the emotions with you rather than looking at the backs of phones as they lean to get the best shot.

If you want a ceremony with more smiles and less technology, here are 6 tips for guiding guests in a tactful way to stay unplugged during your ceremony:

  1. Post a sign. Post a sign to guests that says, "We invite you to be present with us during our ceremony and request that you please turn off your cell phones and cameras. Thank you!”
  2. Put the same message in your wedding program if you have one.
  3. Have the person performing your ceremony make an announcement before the ceremony begins. Make it heartfelt—don't tell guests that you want them to put cameras away just because it's annoying to you. Really invite them to be in the moment with you and take the opportunity to take it all in.
  4. Remind them that you have a photographer documenting the moments for them. Most guests know that a professional photographer will be capturing the wedding day, but it doesn't hurt to give them a reminder that the photos will be available to them too.
  5. Direct them to the URL to get the professional photos after the wedding. If you're printing it in the program or putting a note on a sign, give them the URL where they can find the photos. I've been to many weddings where I would absolutely love to see the professional photos, but the link is never posted or shared. Make it an easy decision for guests to put their cameras down.
  6. Let them know that they're welcome to take photos throughout the rest of the day. Encourage them to get those cameras out once the ceremony is finished. They can still get lots of great photos of the newlyweds during other parts of the day.