There’s been a lot of buzz on the internet about unplugged weddings lately. We’ve never suggested our couples have an unplugged wedding — but I think it can be a wonderful idea nonetheless.
What is an unplugged wedding? It’s a wedding where the couple request, either in print or in a pre-ceremony announcement, that their guests put their cameras down, be fully present, and enjoy the wedding. Some couples opt to ask their guests to keep their cameras away for the whole day; others make that request only for the ceremony.
While at first it might seem like a crazy idea — after all, everyone documents pretty much everything with their cell phones these days — there are many reasons that this idea can be a really good one.
Although I have to say, I do have a lot of fun with shots like this.
Read what photographer Cory Ann had to say about unplugged weddings, and why they might just mean you’ll wind up with far better photographs, on The Huffington Post. Check out Offbeat Bride’s perspective. Even the New York Times had an opinion, and advice.
Here’s my take:
It’s fabulous getting to see your wedding from your guests’ points of view. But it’s a shame when your hired photographer gets less-than-their-best shots due to guest interference, even when guests aren’t trying to interfere. Danny and I have yet to deal with rude guests who have pushed us aside or intentionally gotten in our way or walked up behind the altar. What we have experienced are guests flashes creating unsightly shadows behind our couple during the ceremony (we shoot ceremonies sans flash almost 100% of the time so that we’re not distracting to the people trying to observe the reverence and solemnity of the moment). Guests crowding so tightly around the bride and groom as they cut the cake that we haven’t been able to get a good angle. Guests calling for the family members we’ve posed for formal portraits to look at their cameras instead of our. Guests’ should-have-been-smiling faces taut with concentration behind their cell phones, cameras, camcorders — and even, major cringe, iPads — as brides walk down the aisle.
In fact, I have one photo of a guest giving a dirty look to another guest with a camera as the guest with the camera leaned awkwardly over the other guest to get a picture during the ceremony.
While I won’t ever tell my couples that they should have an unplugged wedding, I have to tell you I’d be thrilled to shoot some unplugged weddings. Because not only would make my work easier, there is a very good chance it would make my work better — and because we share our photos with our couples and make it possible for them to share all their photos with their guests, we would love to see guests set their cameras down and simply enjoy the experience. I know that when I’m holding a camera, a large part of my brainpower is channeled into making sure I’m ready to get the perfect shot. And that’s not how the way most couples want their guests to spend their time at their wedding.
So is an unplugged wedding or an unplugged ceremony for you? Only you can decide what’s right for your wedding.
Want to talk more about the possibility of having your guests unplug on your big day? Let’s chat!