This article was written by Tarah Schoof of Tarah Schoof Photography http://www.http://tarahschoofphotography.com and can be found at the Tarah Schoof Photography site at http://tarahschoofphotography.com/2015/07/unplugged-ceremonies/

Times are changing, friends. Technology is becoming more and more advanced, social media is taking over, and suddenly we aren’t truly invested in life’s greatest moments anymore. Today we are talking about UNPLUGGED wedding ceremonies. Brides and grooms, we need to talk! I get it, it’s your big day and you want to remember it through pictures! But wait. Isn’t that why you hired a professional? Don’t get me wrong; I am always capturing moments with my phone or camera, but never in a place where someone else is being paid to do so. Think about it. Are the images your guests are taking on their phones, Ipads, and cameras really that important that you want to risk having your guests and their technology in your images? When you look back at your wedding images would you rather see all your guests completely invested and emotional along with you, or standing/kneeling in the isle, blocking you and your groom, or even standing up behind the bridal party?! (It seriously happens). It’s as if people are suddenly more concerned with wether or not they got the perfect shot to share on their social media instead of living in the moment with you as you say “I Do” and start this amazing new journey in your life! As a professional I can assure you that if your guests give us the utmost respect of sitting in their seat completely invested in the ceremony, we are MORE than happy to share our images with them! We want everyone to be able to revisit the day and remember the moment, but how can we do that when the most intimate moments are interrupted? Plus, I like getting those candid shots of the guests tearing up or laughing during the ceremony, but that is completely out of the question if there are people pointing cameras back at me!


I recently shot a wedding in a Catholic church and my only rule from the priest was that I not use flash. Totally fine right!? Well, it was fine until the bride and her dad walked down the isle, and suddenly there were 7-10 flashes firing in my direction. It didn’t stop there, though, throughout the entire hour-long ceremony, the flashes kept firing. You can probably imagine my frustration and disappointment in this moment. It suddenly felt as if I was the last person people were worried about, but in all reality what pictures would you actually have if you didn’t have the ones from your photographer? Iphone shots? Those don’t print well AT ALL. Their own camera shots? A little bit better quality, but not the style of the photographer you hired. If you are paying myself or another professional to capture your day, we capture it how it is-that is our job, but it is not our job to go to extreme measures of editing guests and their technology out of each and every image. Does that make sense? This is all because we want you to have beautiful images-that’s it! I don’t mean to be harsh, but I want you to think about this. This is YOUR day, not your guests and this topic is important! As photographers, all we want is to create STUNNING images for you to look back on and remember, and from there we will always be happy to share with your guests. J


Now, I don’t want you to be mistaken here. All I am talking about is an UNPLUGGED CEREMONY! I absolutely LOVE when my couples create a hash tag so pictures from the RECEPTION taken by anyone and everyone can be used and posted for them to look back and remember those fun and crazy shots from the evening! As far as the cake cutting, and first dances go however, those are other intimate moments from the day that as photographers we work very hard to capture so just relax and enjoy the moment so we can do our job, and everyone can view beautiful images afterwards! J


There are a few steps you can take to ensure your ceremony is unplugged:

  1. Mention it in a cute way on the invitation itself!
  2. Create a sign that sits outside the ceremony space that serves as a cute reminder, and will be the first thing your guests see when they walk in!
  3. Ask your ushers/usherettes to remind guests as they seat them!

Through taking action, and asking your guests to be more invested in your moment you will not only receive BEAUTIFUL images from your photographer, but your guests will also remember your day instead of remembering who they had to climb over to get the Iphone shot.


Here are some examples of weddings that DIDN’T have unplugged ceremonies, and also some cute sign ideas for you!

Images by Ali Heinzen // Ali Leigh Photo

Images by Miranda Weston // Miranda Weston Photography

Image by: Laura Leigh O’ceallaigh//Laura Leigh Photography / Image by: Wendy Brown McElfish // Wendy Kathleen Photography

I hope this post gives you some insight as you continue to plan your special day, or are even attending weddings!