There is a big debate going on right now, and it has to do with whether or not couples should be asking their guest’s to put away their cell phones, iPads, and camera’s during the ceremony – aka an “Unplugged Wedding”.
I have to be honest; I feel really conflicted about unplugged weddings. My knee jerk reaction is “OMG I LOVE UNPLUGGED WEDDINGS!” because I have had a lot of shots ruined by guest’s photography, I love capturing the faces of the guests in awe of their bride, and generally, shots look really cluttered with cell phones and iPads everywhere. There is something freeing about being able to work without worrying if someone is going to jump out in front of the aisle with his or her own camera, and block my shot – which in turn allows me to be more creative.
But, as I have heard other photographers argue, asking couples to go unplugged is essentially saying my pictures are more important than someone else making their own memories from the day – which I absolutely don’t want to communicate. My pictures, Grandma’s pictures, friend’s pictures, are all important. Additionally, most of the time, Grandma taking a picture on her cell phone isn’t going to affect me.
With all of that in mind, I present both sides of this argument to our clients. I explain to them the fact that a lot of couples are opting to do unplugged ceremonies, but it is absolutely not something that we require. I explain that we are always going to do our best to work around guest photography, but in some rare cases, shots may be missed. If you are interested in doing an unplugged ceremony or wedding, there are many polite ways to do it.
1). Put a sign near the guest book
Like the one in the photo above.
2). Put a note on the program
It can be similar to the sign above.
3). Have your officiant make an announcement
Something along the lines of “The Bride and Groom have kindly requested that you put your devices away, and refrain from taking pictures during the ceremony to be fully present”.
If you decide not to go unplugged, know that is totally okay. A talented photographer is usually going to be able to work around it!
I asked some recent brides about their experience, and here’s what they had to say:
Michelle had an unplugged ceremony, and had this to say: “We did unplugged and I am so grateful! Our photos reflect our family and friends celebrating with us, not worrying about catching the moments between Brandon and I but sharing in those moments. That’s why we hired amazing photographers to capture those moments.”
Amy didn’t have an unplugged ceremony, and loved it: “Some of our favorite pictures were taken by guests. We got married in a church that was picky about the photographer staying in one place the entire ceremony, so it was wonderful to have guest photos from many different angles. If we had only the photographer photos, we never would have had everyone’s face in one photo. Guest photos are pretty candid, and they caught some very special moments.”
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