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Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

A Case For the Unplugged Wedding From a Photographer

As a wedding photographer, Evangeline Lane has seen photography on the big day evolve into something of a group sport, with all guests wanting to get in on the fun. With couples dreaming up cute hashtags that guests want to add to on Instagram, the paid wedding photographer's shot can get interrupted. As guests jump into the aisle and block that perfect first-kiss shot, Evangeline proposes an old-fashioned idea — the unplugged wedding. Here, she shares her take on the topic.

Imagine this: you're walking down the aisle, heart aflutter, tears in your eyes as you move forward to meet your love — you've been dreaming of this moment for years now and have spent many stressful months planning your dream soirée. Everyone around you is a blur as you only have eyes for your love waiting at the end of the aisle. Then you hear a Super Mario Bros. text tone go off and a mail swoosh, and you look into the crowd of guests only to notice that no one is actually looking back at you with their eyes; they're looking at you through their cellphones. Doesn't sound like your dream wedding? Perhaps you should think about having an unplugged wedding.

Unplugged weddings are popular with celebrities so that they can keep their wedding private and away from the media frenzy that is surely circling around their location. Plus it keeps their guests and the staff from making money off the images (so sad, huh?). Often guests' cellphones and cameras will be confiscated as soon as they enter the wedding venue.


What exactly is an unplugged wedding? It's when you ask your guests to refrain from using any technology including smartphones and cameras during the ceremony and/or reception. Your guests get to feel the ceremony without the distractions of technology. Plus you don't have to worry about someone forgetting to turn off their ringtone or someone emailing instead of paying attention. It's happened — trust me!

Personally I'm a huge fan of unplugged weddings during the ceremony, at the least. For one, it forces guests to be in the moment. Let's be honest, it's difficult to be on your phone taking pictures of the bride and groom while uploading to Instagram and Facebook or — God forbid — texting, and truly experience the wedding at the same time. It's just not possible!

Some couples encourage their guests to take as many images as possible, and there are even apps dedicated to this, such as Wedding Party. While there's something really lovely about seeing your wedding unfold through your guests' eyes, take a moment to think about it from a wedding photographer's perspective.

We don't want to compete with guests and their cellphones. I can't tell you how many times a wedding guest jumps out in front of me or in the middle of the aisle, blocking my shot with their iPad. Now don't get me wrong, it's part of my job to navigate around situations like this, but when I get home and go through the images and see all of these gorgeous shots of the ceremony and spy a giant iPad or multiple cellphones taking over the image . . . it just breaks my heart! Is it still a good shot? Yes. Would it have been an even better shot if it didn't have multiple iPads in it? Absolutely.

Think about this, looking back at your wedding photos would you prefer to see you and your partner walking up the aisle to a sea of smiling excited faces or a cluster of faces hidden behind iPhones? Plus allowing devices during the ceremony dates your wedding photo albums. In 10 years there could be no such thing as an iPad and iPhone, or they'll look nothing like their 2014 versions! For all we know, Google Glass will take over the world and we'll all be walking around with cameras on our faces.

Also, with first looks becoming increasingly popular these days, be sure to tell the wedding party that they aren't allowed to post images until after the ceremony. I've seen many instances where clients inadvertently saw their future spouse's wedding day look on Facebook just before the ceremony thanks to a wedding party member or guest's social media update.

As you've probably guessed, I'm a strong supporter of going unplugged until after the ceremony. However, I do encourage guests to take images throughout the reception because my clients deserve to have their story told in a multitude of ways.

What do you think? Should cellphones, iPads, and the like be allowed during the ceremony and/or the reception? What will you do for your wedding? Comment below!

Source: Evangeline Lane

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