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Unplugged Weddings | My Thoughts

There are so many articles and blogs and Pinterest ideas about unplugged weddings.  If you Google it, you’ll get over 4 million results in about half a second.  Some of them are fantastic articles… there are ones that give technical reasons why guests’ cameras and flashes intrude with the professional photographer’s equipment, there are ones that tug at your emotional heart strings, and there are even ones that offer compromises (like these suggestions over on Southern Weddings).

But my bottom line opinion on the matter?  If you’re the bride and groom, then it’s your call.  It’s your wedding day and if you want to ask guests to put down their phones, cameras, and tablets to just be there and enjoy every moment of the ceremony, that’s really sweet!  It’s what we did and I don’t regret it at all.  But, if you don’t mind friends and family snapping away as you come down and back up the aisle, or even during the ceremony, that’s totally fine too!

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Personally, I loved walking down the aisle and seeing the faces of our friends and family as opposed to the backs of their phones or cameras.  BUT I also love how (especially when using hashtags these days), guests can post photos of the day from their perspective so that the bride and groom and other guests can share in the excitement from every angle.  It’s kind of like back in the day when there would be disposable cameras at every table at the reception.  They were there for the guests to take photos of each other and things as THEY saw them unfold!  Only now, the bride and groom don’t have to pay to get them all developed ;-)

But because I love lists so much, here are a few reasons to entertain the idea of an unplugged wedding (mainly ceremony):

  • As you walk down the aisle, you get to see the faces, smiles, and tears of joy of your guests instead of the backs of their phones.
  • In the same vein, your photos will show their faces, smiles and tears of joy instead of just the tops of their heads since their faces are hidden behind their cameras.
  • Your guests will be able to fully engage and enjoy your ceremony.  It’s such a short part of the day, but in reality, it’s the most intimate and most important part of your wedding!  The idea of someone missing a part of our day makes me really sad – the looks as we saw each other from down the aisle, our tears as we read our vows, the laughter as I pulled my camera out of nowhere to take a picture of everyone there!
  • This will also help guests not feel as though they need to stand at their seat or even get into the aisle during the entrance, ceremony, or exit and therefore possibly getting in the way of the professional photographers that were hired to capture everything :-)
  • Most churches are too dark for phones and many cameras to get a decent photo.  It’s true.  Brides hire professional photographers to capture the day for several reasons… one of them being because the equipment they’ve invested in can handle the low light and tough situations.  If you’ve ever tried taking a photo of someone moving when there isn’t enough light, all you get is a blurry picture.  Which is what happens when a bride is walking down the aisle!
  • All of my couples receive all of the edited images from their wedding day… which means all of their guests will receive the photos too!  And wouldn’t you – as a guest – rather have a professional photo instead of a blurry one?
  • How many times during the day do we actually put away our phones and really engage in the moment we find ourselves in?  Sometimes we need an excuse to actually turn our phones off and not worry about that email or text that may or may not come through.  Yes, there are emergency situations that you may be waiting to hear about, but that’s an exception.  It’s amazing how freeing it is to forget about your phone for a while!

And on the flip side, here are a few reasons to not even worry about having an unplugged wedding:

  • We live in a digital age.  It’s just how things have developed and progressed so why not embrace it??  Hashtags weren’t as big of a thing at our wedding a couple years ago but like I mentioned above, lots of people are using them so they can easily go back and find all the photos from their guests on their wedding day.  It’s really fun!
  • Your friends and family that are at your wedding love you.  And they want to remember the day and excitement as much as you do!
  • As the professional photographer at your wedding, I WANT your family and friends to take photos!  They’re creating memories that day just like you are.  So, even during family formals, I’ll step aside for a moment so they can get that photo of all the cousins together too.  Because then they’ll have it on their phone and be able to look at it anytime they want, they can go ahead and upload it and tag everyone, and family that wasn’t able to come can see all the kids (now grown up!) together again!
  • Since Ben and I are just human beings, we have yet to figure out how to be everywhere at once!  We also don’t move around very much during the ceremony (unless it’s outside, then we move a bit more and may even get closer to the couple than we would in a church).  So, if guests are taking photos too, then there are several different perspectives, not just the handful of angles that Ben and I can capture.

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There are so many opinions on unplugged weddings and I will always respect the decisions my brides and grooms make about their weddings.  We had our wedding and made our choices and it was the perfect fit for us!  And as a professional wedding photographer, I also completely see the benefits of having an unplugged wedding ceremony.  My couples hire us to capture their day so that guests can come and enjoy being guests!  I’m so looking forward to being a guest & bridesmaid at my best friend’s wedding this fall… I don’t get to do that often so other than a selfie of the two of us (and then the four of us after the ceremony), I won’t have my phone out at all :-)

Happy Friday, friends!

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