Published: Tuesday, May. 31st, 2022
If you’ve been asked to officiate an unplugged wedding ceremony, you might be wondering two things…
First, an unplugged ceremony is one in which couples request that guests not photograph, livestream, or record the ceremony, and refrain from posting about it on social media while it's happening. Guests are also instructed to turn their phones off or at minimum set them to silent to avoid noise interruptions.
This second dilemma – how to tell guests a ceremony is unplugged without offending anyone – has plagued wedding officiants for years.
Even before cell phones turned all of us into amateur wedding photographers, videographers, and documentary filmmakers, unexpected flashes from traditional cameras were notorious distractions at ceremonies. Now, noisy phone calls, alarms, and cameras held up in the air have been added to the list of possible annoyances.
How can a wedding officiant tell guests to keep their phones in their pockets without coming off rude or making the couple look bad?
The secret is to deliver the request at the start of the ceremony. Don’t wait until an unsuspecting guest goes for a great shot, and don’t assume guests paid attention to the wedding invitation. This friendly reminder should be part of a wedding officiant’s ‘housekeeping announcements.’
Below, we’ve included a few tried-and-true sample scripts you can use to make your ‘unplugged’ announcement. The wording for each example can be easily modified with a dose of humor, a splash of sass, or a sincere and heartfelt smile, depending on the tone of feel of the ceremony.
Hear ye, hear ye! Put away thy phone.
“Hello friends and family! As you get settled in, please set your phones to silent and keep them in a pocket or purse during the ceremony. We’re going unplugged today, to give (Partner One) and (Partner Two) a special, intimate experience!”
“To keep all of our love and attention on the happy couple, we ask that you put away cameras, phones, and other devices until after the ceremony. There will be plenty of opportunities for awesome photos and videos at the reception.”
“Ok, this is your last chance to take a selfie with Aunt Rita or your favorite cousin before we get (Partner One) and (Partner Two) married! So get that photo, and then please tuck your phone away for the remainder of the ceremony. We want all eyes up front on these two cuties today.”
“Dearly beloved! To avoid paparazzi vibes during the ceremony, we ask that you put your cameras and other devices away until the couple takes that first kiss as husband and wife.”
“I know you want to give these two the red carpet treatment, but you’ll have to wait until after the vows. (Partner One) and (Partner Two) have requested a photo-free and video-free ceremony to keep us grounded in the moment.”
“We have a professional photographer with us here today to get lots of beautiful shots for (Partner One) and (Partner Two). So go ahead and tuck your phones away, and enjoy this special moment!”
“Welcome, everyone! We’re so grateful you could join us today. You may have noticed that we have a couple professional photographers here today – they’re here to give us amateurs a day off! So unplug, sit back, enjoy the ceremony, and be sure to show off your good side!”
Parts of a wedding ceremony: What is the invocation?
The invocation marks the official beginning of the wedding ceremony. This is a wedding officiant's first speaking part during the event. The officiant greets the guests, introduces the couple, and announces the purpose of the gathering. This is also a great time to give simple 'housekeeping instructions' to avoid distractions and potential disasters.
Read more about the role of the officiant during The Invocation.
There’s no ‘take-two’ when it comes time for a couple to say ‘I do’-- Wedding officiants only get one shot to perform a perfect wedding ceremony.
Give yourself the tools and training you deserve to succeed as a wedding officiant, so that you can stand beside the lucky couple with complete confidence on their big day.
Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!