Unplugged Wedding Ceremonies: Tips from a Bride | Wedding Planning

Bride and groom at altar I’ve shared about this topic A LOT, but I wanted to share a super unique perspective from one of my sweet brides. Today, I’ll be sharing ALL about unplugged ceremonies from the perspective of my bride, Becky (that gorgeous gal getting married up top… click here to see her full wedding!). But first… if you need to get caught up, here are two of my all-time favorite posts ALL about unplugged weddings… first why I loved attending an unplugged wedding as a guest, and second, a quick overview of what, why, and how to have an unplugged ceremony!

Today, I’m SO excited to share Becky’s perspective all about why she opted for an unplugged ceremony, how she made it happen, and advice for all couples planning an unplugged ceremony. She is a GEM and is sharing a wealth of knowledge that I think any couple tying the knot could truly benefit from! I can’t wait for you to read more.

Why did you opt for an unplugged wedding ceremony?

Our ceremony was held in a church, so there’s a level of respect that comes with being in a house of worship. We also wanted people focused on our unique ceremony, which had elements of congregation participation that we wrote ourselves. We didn’t want people’s cell phones in the photos or video, either.

Do you have any advice for couples planning an unplugged wedding ceremony?

Frustratingly enough, people will still do whatever they want to do. A family member’s cell phone rang two separate times during our ceremony, and you can hear it on our video. I literally remember hearing it as we stood on the altar and sadly, that’s a big thing that I remember, because we had gone to so much trouble to make sure people turned their phone volume off. It was really upsetting. I think the best advice I can give is to prepare yourself ahead of time that this may happen so you don’t feel disappointed later. Short of confiscating phones, the only thing you have control over is asking people to respect your wishes.

Sidenote from Caity here: it breaks my heart that couples still experience this. If you are a guest at ANY ceremony, unplugged or not, silence your phone & put it away. I promise you… being in the moment is WAY better than any cell images or boomerangs you’ll be able to snap.

How did you share your unplugged wedding ceremony wishes with your guests?

We printed a reminder to silence phones in our bulletin and the pastor made an announcement before the procession began.

There you have it! I promise you… unplugged ceremonies are WORTH it… just look at all those sweet, smiling faces at Anna & Darian’s ceremony in the images above!

*Quick note pertaining to unplugged weddings in the current season of COVID-19:

If you are in an area where small gatherings and intimate ceremonies are permitted (and please note: I ONLY support this where permitted and when local/federal regulations are followed to a T), I think it is absolutely okay to have a live stream of your wedding to share with family and friends that are celebrating from a distance. This is definitely something that I would encourage with our current situation and if you have a personal interest with virtually sharing your wedding with guests at home as a couple. That said, I don’t think the couple should be in charge of the feed (when possible), and there is a way to set up your ceremony to encourage those that are present physically to enjoy the special moment without feeling a huge obligation to record every moment for those that aren’t able to be there physically.

To do so, I recommend designating two trustworthy people to be in charge of the virtual portion of your wedding. One will be present in person, and the other will be present virtually. One person will set up the live stream in-person, just before your ceremony, while the other will tune in virtually to be on quality control/access control. (I recommend encouraging them to practice the setup ahead of time with a test-link and test setup!)

These two people should be in communication with each other as they work to get your virtual feed set up & shared. They’ll work together to make sure audio is working and that your virtual guests will be able to see you get married! (Additionally, the person at home will also be able to loop the person in that is at your ceremony, if there are any issues that arise throughout your ceremony, so you don’t have to worry about a thing as a couple getting married.)

Ahead of time, the link or access/login information should be shared with family and friends. At that time, the contact detail of the person on virtual quality/access control should be shared with family and friends as well. That way, if anyone at home has issues, they aren’t texting the couple, just moments before they walk down the aisle. Virtual guests should get in contact with the virtual quality/access control person that is at home… if absolutely needed, the virtual contact can get in touch with the person that is running the live feed at your wedding.

If you are using Zoom or another platform that includes screen recording, instruct the person on virtual quality/access control to screen record a gallery view of your virtual guests. I know this is possible if you’re using Zoom, but I would imagine it would also be possible to use other platforms as well. As far as I know, free Zoom accounts allow you to create links to meetings (or weddings!!) ahead of time and offer up to 40 minutes of free airtime. Because your ceremony is being screen recorded, those that are enjoying in person or at home can enjoy phone-free! Later, you’ll be able to see your virtual guests’ sweet reactions to your ceremony through the screen recording.

This strategy allows more people to tune in while requiring a minimum of physically present people to have technology in hand. I don’t think it is a huge deal for people at home to grab a quick screenshot or boomerang of your live feed on their phones, but I do love that this strategy allows most of your people that are present in person to enjoy without stressing about running a live feed while you say your I do’s. The only people that will experience your wedding with a phone by their side would be the person manning your in-person live stream filming and the person manning your virtual feed. Of course, those that are tuning in virtually will be viewing your ceremony through a screen, but encourage them to opt to place their other forms of technology aside for a few moments during your ceremony (You can do this through however you share the link with them pre-wedding day!).

If desired, you could also have the person filming the live stream in-person set up another camera/phone to film your ceremony as a backup, just in case there are major issues with the virtual feed.

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