The band strikes the first chord. Everyone is holding their breath. Bridal parties slowly make their way down the aisles while the groom nervously awaits at the front. At last, the bride comes toward the crowd as the couples’ friends and family smile with tears in their eyes for this incredibly special day.

And then, 20 sounds of smartphones taking blurry photos with bad flashes rise up from the crowd. Ugh.

People tweeting, snapping pics and not fully immersing in the moment can all be distracting when attending a wedding. Not to mention, you want photos of your loved ones smiling, not staring at their screens. Many couples are choosing to ask their guests for an ‘unplugged’ wedding so everyone can be fully present during the ceremony and reception. Here’s a few ideas to get your people on board with the idea of leaving their phones and cameras at home.

Clever Tips for Celebrating an “Unplugged” Wedding

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Convincing family members

That sister who posts to Facebook three times a day might raise an eyebrow. The groomsman who already came up with a witty wedding hashtag might frown. And the mother-in-law is still convinced whatever grainy photo she takes on her Nokia is ‘just as good’ as the professionals and needs to be done. But, be firm in your decision and let people know you simply want them to experience your wedding with their own eyes and minds, not through screens.

Or, let them have a look through some articles showing how extra flashes and bodies in the way can hinder those perfect pictures by the pros. The Huffington Post touched upon photographers’ worst nightmares of blurred kisses and washed out couples that no amount of editing could help.

Find cute ways of asking

Brides have made announcing an offline wedding at art form. There’s countless options to hang signs, leave little notes or even verbal poem reminders that allows the pros to do their jobs. Make sure that these hints are seen by all so there’s no confusion. Sometimes the officiant will make a small announcement before the ceremony starts to make it clear. Or, simply drop a small card in the invite to set the precedent before the big day.

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Share pro shots with everyone

If some of your guests are bumming over pocketing their smartphones, ask everyone for an email to send a few of the professional shots to them. Many photographers will also have an open album online where guests can access images and order prints of their choice. If affordable, stick a couple photos, cheap photo albums or even a USB stick into your thank you cards to let guests have a few photo keepsakes of the day.

Did you have an unplugged wedding? Would you consider having phones turned off for your wedding? Have you ever been to a wedding where you found technology was distracting from the moment?