More than likely you’ve heard the phrase “unplugged ceremony.” What exactly does “unplugged ceremony” mean? A few months ago, we received my cousin’s wedding invitation. On her invitation it read she was requesting an unplugged ceremony. When my husband saw that phrase, he asked what exactly it meant. He thought it meant he would have to place his phone in a basket or something silly before entering the ceremony. When my brother in law got married a few years ago, they also had an unplugged ceremony. My mother in law wasn’t particularly happy about this because she thought it meant she wouldn’t be able to take any photos of her son on his wedding day.

What exactly does “unplugged ceremony” mean? For those of you who have not heard of an unplugged ceremony, there is a movement where couples are asking their guests to be fully present during their wedding ceremony and leave their cell phones and cameras turned off for the duration of the ceremony.

As a photographer, I can attest to how many times guests have stepped into the aisle to get a photograph of the bride. Their iPhone, giant iPad, and body blocks my ability to capture that photograph and moment for the couple. I have been forced to delete a lot of processional and recessional photographs due to a guest stepping into the aisle to take a photograph. I understand guests’ excitement and wanting to post to social media; however, when you’re stepping into the aisle and blocking the photographer you don’t realize that you’re actually ruining one of the most important images of a couples wedding day. If the couple is requesting an unplugged ceremony, I can guarantee they also have a professional wedding photographer. They want you to enjoy their ceremony and let the professional capture the images.

What an unplugged wedding is not. Your phone will not be taken away from you, you can still take photos, just do it before or after the ceremony.

I hope this helps you understand what an unplugged ceremony is and what it is not.


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Sarah Botta is a Northern Virginia based wedding photographer whose work is described as soft, organic, romantic, and timeless. Sarah specializes in capturing people’s stories and building connections with each client to help tell their story. She has photographed over 55 weddings across Virginia, Maryland, and DC from outdoor estate ceremonies to elaborate winery receptions. Her natural timeless style shines brightest with outdoor locations. Sarah is available for travel and is passport ready.