Unplugged Weddings

July 4, 2014 1:43 pm Published by

While some couples encourage their friends and family to snap as many photos as possible, others are asking their guests to shut off their camera phones for the day.  Many brides now are choosing to, and I might add wisely, to do a “unplugged wedding”, where guests put away their smart devices, atleast for the ceremony.  An unplugged wedding, is where the bride and groom are asking the guests not to take photos of any kind during the actual ceremony itself. Afterward, at the reception, or during the formals, it’s OK, but during the ceremony they’re asking them to please allow the photographer to do the job they were hired to do, and the guests can just enjoy…well…being guests.

With the popularity of smart phones and iPads, there has arisen an increasing obstacle of you receiving great professional pictures & video from your wedding, which is amateur photographers being in the way of the professionals. The good news is, that, as a bride, you can help to prevent this issue. We as photographers and videographers walk a fine line. We want to be very friendly with your guests and your family, as we understand they are very important to you, however, a well-meaning loved one who is oblivious to the professionals, can negatively affect YOUR wedding pictures and video (see video below). Our photographers and videographers are usually communicating with each other during the ceremony with hand signals or eye contact to try to make sure we are not in each others shots, however, guests are usually unaware of what is happening behind them, and can ruin a great shot.  All it takes is a big ipad being raised up to completely block the shot or affect the focus of the shot to ruin a great wedding photo.

In this wedding we shot on the Sky Terrace of the Hyatt Regency in Clearwater Beach, I wanted to get the background scenery of the Clearwater Memorial Bridge as the bride walked down the aisle, but was forced to get Aunt Susie in the blue dress (left).  As the ceremony started, I walked to my camera in the back and noticed 3 guests in the aisle (right) taking pictures, completely blocking my shot of the bride and groom from the back camera.   I, as politely as I could, tapped them on the shoulder and pointed to my camera in the back, so that they would move out of the aisle, which they did, for awhile, but eventually, they moved back in the way for the recessionall.  We regularly will have 3-4 video cameras rolling, and because there is not a videographer at the time at a particular camera, a guest may, either, 1)not even see the camera at all or 2)think because a person is not there operating it, that the camera isn’t on, and thus blocking the shot from that camera. Fortunately in this case I was able to clear the aisle during the ceremony, however at the end of the ceremony, iPads & smart phones lean into the aisle again.

The solution to this is simple;  have your officiant make an announcement before the ceremony such as: “The bride and groom request all guests to remain seated, and to put all electronic devices away during the ceremony”.  They can further add that “the bride has hired professional photographers (and videographers) for the ceremony and would like everyone to remain seated for the ceremony.”  It is also good to warn guests before the wedding day by putting a sentence or enclosure with your invitations or writing a post on your wedding blog.  Another cute and creative idea is to have kids carry signs walking down the aisle just before the ceremony begins.   

Ariel Stalling, a blogger for “Offbeat Bride”, writes,
“I think it’s criical to take a few moments to be truly present.  Smell the air, look around, feel the texture of the world around us.  A wedding ceremony is the kind of fleeting, important moment when it’s especially valuable to really be present, rather than relating to the world through a small LCD screen.  When you discourage devices at your wedding, you encourage your guests to look up and drink in the world.  Let’s call it “in-the-moment matrimony.”