Over the years I’ve acquired quite a healthy little folder containing photographic evidence that wedding guests sometimes get a little out of hand with their phones & cameras. My intention for the folder was to one day use the photos to write a blog about all the crazy things guests do to get photos while compromising the shots you actually paid for. These photos show guests interfering in the ceremony, iPads held up in the middle of the aisle, photobombed first kisses, and all kinds of other shenanigans.
As I’ve grown and maybe become more sentimental, I changed my mind about my rant-ish (and slightly snarky) blog. You see, I have no interest in shaming wedding guests. They are beloved, important, and significant people who were invited to take part in a special life event. I UNDERSTAND WHY THEY WANT PHOTOS! I’ve been a wedding guest and before I was a professional photographer guess what… I *gasp* took photos on my cell phone at weddings. So instead of posting all my incriminating evidence of overstepping guests I thought I’d share what can happen when you opt to have an unplugged wedding (with photographic proof).
So here we go…
1) Your guests will ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION!!! And they might even smile… and you might even see it in the professional photographer’s photos. WHATTTTT????!!!
2) Your parents will be freed up from feeling like they have to take photos. They’ve been your documentarians for most of your life but on this day, they can leave that up to the photographer. Parents are allowed to be fully engaged, they’ll probably cry, and when you look down at them to share a moment they will see you & feel it.
3) Your photos will be unobstructed and your photographer will have clear shots as well as freedom to be creative. Honestly though, a good photographer should be able to work around guests in most reasonable scenarios. This point is last because it’s SO secondary.
What am I getting at here? Unplugged weddings = engagement, intimacy, and presence. Your photos will be better because emotion comes through when people put away their phones & cameras and actually bear witness to a sacred moment.
So now that you see all the beauty that comes with unplugging you might wonder “HOW?? I think it’s great but my family will not be happy about this!”. It’s true, some folks may grumble as they turn off their devices and some might flat out ignore the request… but I promise, once they see the photos they will understand.
If you’re serious about wanting a fully unplugged experience here are some tips to help you execute it:
1) Announce your request at least 2-3 places. Have a sign, add it to the programs, and definitely have your officiant announce it.
2) Pinterest isn’t always your friend but in this case it is. If you need help wording your unplugged wedding request Pinterest has a ton of inspiration & great ideas to help guests understand why you want them to be fully present.
3) Lead by example. If you’re going to a wedding, put your phone away during the ceremony. You likely won’t be taken seriously if your friends & family see your Facebook feed plastered with incognito ceremony shots from other weddings ;).
4) Have a chat with your photographer to see if they have any ideas to help you make this a great experience for everyone!
Preview of an Unplugged Wedding