Sometimes we get asked what we feel is the single most valuable tip from a photography standpoint, when planning your own ceremony— without a doubt, go unplugged!
What is an unplugged ceremony? An unplugged ceremony is when the couple decides that they would prefer guests to not use their phones or cameras during the ceremony itself. Sometimes unplugged weddings range from entire social media blackouts (so that the bride and groom can announce their marriage themselves), to simply asking guests to remain ‘unplugged’ during the ceremony only (so as to be present in moment).
So what are the main reasons to go unplugged?
Guests will listen and interact more.
As a bride or groom, this may be the most important aspect of an unplugged ceremony. Not only will you be minimizing potential interruptions due to incoming tweets, messages, or phone calls, asking guests to put away their phones will actually increase their attentiveness and allow for everyone to remain present with all the magical aspects of the ceremony. Remember, the ceremony is in many cases, a performance. Like most other performances, using cell phones are usually frowned upon. That’s not to say cellphones should be completely eliminated from the entire day! The most common unplugged wedding is usually just for the ceremony, where afterwards guests are encouraged to add to the bridal hashtag!
Your professional photos will not be compromised.
From a photographer’s standpoint, unplugged ceremonies generally make our job a lot easier. The instant satisfaction that guests get from live-streaming, or uploading to social media counteracts the investment you have placed in your professional photographers and videographers (and let’s face it, you’ve hired them to deliver professional results, much better than any mobile phone). For weddings that are not unplugged, photographers must worry about guests placing their phones into important shots (no one wants auntie’s arm + iPad in that down-the-aisle-kissing-shot). Editing out phones in post-processing may also be extremely time consuming (delaying the delivery of your photo gallery), or not possible in some cases. Phones at a ceremony usually force us as photographers to use tighter shots (close and cropped) to eliminate distracting guests with phones. In unplugged ceremonies, photographers can get more wide-angle shots of the entire ceremony, with no worries about a sea of cellphones being captured.
An afterthought for most people will also be how your wedding photographs will look in 20 years! I remember looking back at all my parents’ old wedding photos, laughing hysterically about the outdated styles and era-specific decor. Phones will inevitably be the same way, with styles and technology cycling so quickly. Keep in mind these wedding photos are going to be a timeless treasure for future generations— let your professional photographers and videographers capture every detail, without compromising any details!
Everyone’s privacy can be respected.