Should you have an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony?

unplugged wedding

I don’t think I need to show you photos of a mother-of-the-groom on her phone while her son sees his bride for the first time, or photos of guests leaning into the aisle with a dSLR camera in-hand blocking the groom from enjoying this very moment. I also don’t need to tell you about the wedding I shot where Grandma sat inside during the reception, playing games on her iPad instead of enjoying the celebration of love happening just steps away. And finally, it’s probably unnecessary for me to mention all of the times my couples have been officially announced as husband and wife, only to turn around to a sea of cameras, cell phones, and iPads, instead of the smiling and proud faces of their loved ones.

I don’t need to show you photos of these things or tell you these stories because you see it happening all around you, too. You know that we’re a society addicted to capturing, sharing, and preserving moments via technology. I don’t fault you for that! We’ve actually been trained to do these very things; checking-in on social media and showing the world what we’re doing is almost expected of us these days. If we don’t take a picture of it, then it didn’t happen…right? TV stations invite us to live-tweet during their episodes, hashtags on Instagram encourage us to contribute to events we attend, Facebook reminds us to share what we’re doing through pictures and videos. It’s the nature of the beast that is social media; it’s the new world we live in. But the one place it can wait? The one place where you can rest-assured the world will continue to spin if you don’t snap, tweet, or share? A wedding ceremony.

I am sure that by now you’ve heard this popular buzzword in the wedding industry: the unplugged wedding ceremony. So what is it and why should you consider having an unplugged ceremony?

The unplugged wedding ceremony is one where you offer your guests the rare opportunity to be present in the moment, and enjoy the experience of your wedding, camera and device-free! Now, because I understand and value the art of documenting, sharing and preserving these memories. I’m simply suggesting you have an unplugged wedding ceremony. Once the ceremony is over, invite your guests to resume documenting the evening on their personal devices! So the wedding ceremony… You have spent your whole life dreaming of this wedding day, you’ve spent hours pouring over details, you’ve invested time, money and energy preparing for this incredible celebration and I know that you want your guests to enjoy every minute. Invite them to do so, remind them how important it is to you that you see their faces instead of their devices as you walk down the aisle to your groom! 

We have been so predisposed to what I mentioned earlier, the constant need to post, share, tweet, and document every little thing that we do. Because of this, you may have never considered an unplugged wedding. It’s possible you think I’m crazy for even suggesting such a thing because you already have your #weddingdayhashtag and you need those guests to contribute! I get it, I truly do. But here is where it gets tough, when your guests lean into the aisle, or raise their phones, iPads, and cameras into the air mid-ceremony, it makes things difficult for me as your wedding photographer. Instead of capturing the “must-have” shot, I’m dodging cameras and iDevices to make sure I actually see your face instead of your friend’s iPhone screen! (*see scenarios in first paragraph for other sad things that have happened during weddings b/c of devices)

When you invest in your wedding photographer, you want to be sure they will capture all of those “must-have” shots with ease. You don’t want to worry whether or not your guests will get in the way of this. So I ask you to consider (perhaps shamelessly beg with you) to simply invite your guests to enjoy your wedding ceremony unplugged…camera, and device-free! Remind them they have been invited to your wedding so they can share in the celebration, not so they can contribute to a hashtag or share with their friends on Facebook. Again, once the wedding ceremony is over let them know they are absolutely free to contribute to that hashtag, enjoy the reception with selfies and document the night away! But the wedding ceremony? Ask that they remain present, unplugged and fully engaged in the celebration of your marriage! :)

If you opt for an unplugged wedding ceremony, I can assure you these three things:

1. Your guests will have fully experienced your wedding day.

2. You will have seen your guests faces for both your processional and recessional.

3. You can be sure your photographer nailed all of the images that tell your beautiful wedding story!

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