Why you should have an Unplugged Ceremony

Today, we’re going to talk about Unplugged Ceremonies!

What is it: guests turn off their cell phones and cameras during the ceremony, to be fully present with you.

Does this mean no phones at my whole wedding? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It’s just for the ceremony! After that, everyone can get their phones out and do as they please.

Why should you consider it? Do it for your wedding photos that will last an absolute lifetime: You know what makes me incredibly sad? When I’m going through photos from your wedding, (specifically the ceremony portion) and your family + friends in the crowd has their phone or camera in their hand. Your mom has her phone up. Your dad has his phone up. So does your aunt and uncle. And pretty much all your friends. Not only is it for just a minute or two, but typically for the whole ceremony. If they have their phone up in front of their face the whole time, I seriously don’t get a single picture of your loved ones just watching and enjoying your ceremony! Only pictures of them looking at their phones or personal cameras. I can’t even tell you how many times this has happened, and it honestly breaks my heart.

Not only are they looking at their phones to take pictures, but I’ve also seen people scrolling on Facebook, and other social medias. Wouldn’t you rather have photos of all your loved ones enjoying the ceremony? Actually looking at you? Hearing the words that are spoken, taking them all in, and 100% being there with you? (And hey, maybe even get emotional, and shed some tears. Those are the pictures I live for.) I’ve included some examples of guests fully present, enjoying the moment below. These pictures are a lot more meaningful, versus your loved ones concentrated on their phone.

^All images above were second photographed for Cheers Babe Photo

And look, I get it. I’m obsessed with capturing moments too. It’s why I became a photographer! I love looking back at my camera roll to relive all my favorite times, just as much as the next person. But let’s just keep our phones out of the ceremony portion of your wedding day. After the ceremony? Go for it. Dinner? Instagram story your food until your heart’s content. First dance? I’ll be the first one to tell you how cute your boomerang is. Can you ask me to take a picture of you and the couple, on your phone? Hell yeah. I’ll get all the angles for you.

Okay but besides pictures of family with their phones up, does anything else happen?

People will move into the isle and/or extend their arm/camera out while you’re walking down, which completely ruins your pictures. When they do this, they obstruct you, and I cannot just edit those things out. I have almost completely tripped over people because they were so close behind me trying to get the same pictures I am, which makes my job harder. I’ve also had people block the first kiss picture. This is such an important moment, and one that only lasts a few seconds. Plus, If they have the flash on their phone/camera, it can completely ruin my images. Another thing that I cannot fix or edit out. It’s not always this extreme, but these things have happened before.

^ These photos above are not mine, and I did not take them. I honestly didn’t feel comfortable about posting my own pictures that I’ve captured, just out of respect for my clients. I would never want to make anyone feel embarrassed, or like I’m calling them out. If you want to see the entire post, check it out here!

Cons of having an unplugged ceremony: you and your family + friends won’t have any photos they took themselves during the ceremony. But you know who will? Me! And all of you after I deliver your gallery. The quality of them? Way better than any phone can take.

How to do it: You can get signs that will inform guests to turn off/silence their phones, and keep all electronics away and you can have the officiant make an announcement before the ceremony begins. I found some super cute signs + printables I found on Etsy. Check them out here! It doesn’t need to be incredibly fancy, or have to cost a lot of money!

This has been in my mind for the last few months, and I think it is SO important to talk about. I highly, highly, HIGHLY, recommend every single one of my couples to, at minimum, consider having an unplugged ceremony! Your ceremony photos will come out infinitely better because of it.

Thank you so much for reading! Do you have any thoughts on this? For it? Against it? I’d love to hear from you!


  1. Kari B. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this! Honestly, having an unplugged ceremony is something I hadn’t even considered, but after looking at the photos you posted I’m 100% going to do it (or at least try!).

    • Shannon Zurawski says:

      Yay!! I’m so glad this was helpful! I think it’s super important, so I’m happy you’re going to try to do it at your wedding! <3

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