Why I Recommend an “Unplugged” Wedding Ceremony
The idea of an unplugged wedding is a topic I feel very strongly about as a wedding photographer, but I’ve had this blog post sitting in my drafts folder for a while. I don’t want to go on a rant and I don’t want to offend anyone who doesn’t agree with me or chose not to go this route for their wedding. This isn’t about me as a photographer and what I want, this is about future brides and grooms and helping them make an informed decision on whether or not to go with an unplugged wedding ceremony.
What is an Unplugged Ceremony?
Having an unplugged wedding ceremony is a recent trend that couples are embracing as we find ourselves more and more glued to our devices. Typically if a couple chooses to do this, they will post on their wedding website that no guest photography or video will be allowed at the ceremony and there might also be a sign at the ceremony. Below I’m sharing some examples of why I think an unplugged ceremony is a great option. This post is for future brides and grooms to decide if going unplugged is right for them.
What if I’m a guest?
And now a note to wedding guests! I have been a wedding guest myself and I know how tempting it is to pull out your phone and grab a few photos of the ceremony for your personal use. Before you do this, consider if that photo is even going to come out that great, and if it’s going to benefit the couple who invited you there to share their special day. If you still decide you’d like to take some photos, just be courteous. Stay in your seat and be subtle about it. As a photographer, I encourage my couples to share their professional wedding galleries with their wedding guests and on social media so that everyone in attendance can benefit from the memories I’m capturing.
At a church ceremony like this one, the aisle is very narrow and so there’s not much I can do if guests are jumping into the aisle with their phones and cameras. Also, imagine the groom standing behind me. There’s no way he could catch a glimpse of his bride!
Many churches have restrictions on where the photographer can stand, and I always check on these beforehand and abide by them. In this case, I wasn’t allowed to go up on the altar, but this overzealous guest got up on the altar behind the couple and proceeded to take photos with the flash and “beep beep” sound on throughout the entire ceremony.
This photo highlights a completely different issue to consider: being present at the wedding ceremony. Often it makes me sad when I look around and see a sea of phones and cameras instead of smiling faces!
This couple chose to have their first look with family and friends present. I now ask guests to refrain from taking photos during any official photo sessions including the first look and the portrait sessions for this reason.
The dreaded red light! The red focusing dot from someone’s camera can be seen clearly here on the bridesmaid’s face. Another problem can arise with guest flashes causing the subject to look like a white ghost.
I don’t think guests realize what they are doing is affecting anyone, and would be more than willing to oblige with a sign asking them to put away their devices. I am 100% on board with guest photography during the reception, but during the ceremony and official photo sessions let the photographer do their job and encourage your guests to enjoy the moment.
Finally, for a good laugh on the topic check out this parody video by SLF Weddings. #unplugthewedding
Want more wedding day tips? Check out my post on why I recommend a first look!
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