Considering having an unplugged wedding? For those of you who are thinking, 'what's that'?!
To put it simply it's where you ask your mates that for just one day, they get off their phones and other electronic devices that take photos or record video during your wedding. Who wants to walk down the aisle only to be confronted by hundreds of camera phones? You want to see your family and friends beaming faces smiling at you, rather than see them view your day through their screen, right?
Many churches already have no camera policies, but now this is even happening in more alternative venues. Venue rules and regulations aside, more and more couples are considering an unplugged wedding or - at the very least - asking guests to turn off their devices during the ceremony.
UNPLUGGED WEDDING PROS
So what are the benefits couples find in taking this approach?
• Your professional wedding photographs have just you and your guests, not your guests downturned faces looking at a screen
• No mobile phones or clicks of shutters or sudden flash during your vows
• You say "I do" and can see all the smiling faces beaming back at you
• Everyone is right there with you, in your moment, not uploading a selfie to Facebook (though we all have that friend and on any other day we'd love them for it!)
• Everyone throws confetti rather than trying to photograph and throw (which never works)
• You have control over what goes onto social media before you get chance to put your official pics on (if you even plan to)
As a wedding photographer, I'd confirm that all these points are totally true! That said, I'm am not at all suggesting that everyone should have an unplugged wedding. Some couples have a totally plugged-in wedding – Instagramhastags at the ready! - and that really works for them.
Personally I don’t at all mind people taking their own photos during your wedding day, I think it's great that people can shoot their own personal account of the day. Do they get in the way? Yes of course they do, but for most weddings I can work around them, even the enthusiastic hobbyist.
But here’s the crux, as soon as they get their phone or camera out to take a photo they are suddenly distracted from the day. Instead of a photograph of all your guests staring at you or each other, present in the moment, you always find one of them staring at their screen.
With this in mind I always recommend at least an unplugged ceremony, right through to after the group photos. After all I am there to document it and all of your guests will be able to have those photographs when you share them. I recommend up until the end of group shots because I want each person to be looking at me or at you during group shots and confetti - and I also need the freedom to be able to move about to get the best composition for my photographs.
If I have a ton of people all trying to get the same image, to be brutally honest they will get in the way and whilst I certainly can take charge, I don't want to boss them about, it's not my style! My job for my couples is to take natural and relaxed photos, not tell people to get out of my way (but sometimes I absolutely have to...)
I have to say I've never attended an entirely unplugged wedding where that's the rule all day. With the technology era we live in, where there's an iPhone in every pocket, a Facebook status update every hour, a Snapchat here, an Instagram post there, and of course a hobbyist photographer in every family - I can certainly see why couples are opting for an unplugged wedding.
With phones especially, it's not just photos - its social media, texting, games, emailing etc. This stuff’s addictive and a huge part of most peoples everyday lives. So believe me when I say it happens at weddings too.
If you are totally tech savvy, and want your wedding to be ultra documented, obviously an entirely unplugged wedding is not for you!
TO UNPLUG OR PLUG-IN YOUR WEDDING?
It feels like there are three options:
1) a social media wedding, where everyone is totally plugged in and you've catered for that;
2) a totally unplugged no phones/tablets or cameras save your professional photographer, or;
3) somewhere in between – like an unplugged wedding ceremony rather than the entire wedding.
Ultimately it's what feels right for you both, and only you know whether you family & friends are total phone addicts and what you want your professional wedding photos to look like.
But let's face it, sometimes it's nice to just switch off even if it’s just for 30 minutes.