You've certainly heard this before...the concept of an "unplugged wedding" where guests are told they can't take photos during the ceremony. But it's one thing to hear that and another thing entirely to actually work some kind of "please don't take photos" announcement into your wedding day.
So with this post I'm going to try to bridge that gap.
I hope to answer a few questions about why anyone would want to have an unplugged wedding, how to make that clear upon arrival at your wedding, and what your guests' reactions will be.
But let me back up a bit because there's a photo I took on October 19th that broke my heart. I'm talking about Melissa & Mike's wedding (my last of the season), complete with a beautiful ceremony in a large church.
Brother of the Groom, and step-sister of the Bride.
And of the 3 photos I took of them before their procession passed by, this photo was the only one where all 4 eyes were open, and both Jade and Chris were looking toward the front of the church.
This is a moment that I would have loved to deliver to Melissa and Mike but unfortunately, because of multiple flashes going off at once, it was beyond repair.
Now, let's skip ahead a few frames for Melissa's big entrance with her Dad and step-Dad.
You guys, I'm not showing you these photos because they're the only ones like this from my whole season. I'm showing these photos because they're common. They happen at almost every single wedding.
That being said, I'm also not showing them to say "look how difficult my working conditions are!" because as I said, this is a common occurrence so it's something I've learned to work around. My clients have high expectations for their wedding collections based on how much they've invested into their package, and part of that fee includes me being able to politely tap on the Uncle's shoulder and ask if he wouldn't mind stepping back into the aisle.
Trust me, I can handle Uncle Bob...this isn't my first rodeo ;)
But what truly concerns me with this photo above is Melissa's view of her husband-to-be down the aisle! While I was editing I was trying to figure out if she could actually see him with not one, but THREE people standing in the aisle taking photos.
And this may just be my hopeless romantic heart talking...but are any of those wedding guests really experiencing the moment of Melissa walking down the aisle?
I know I'm not! I'm WORKING! This is my bottom-of-the-ninth right here...!
I'm thinking about how many shots I have left on my card, how long it will be before my flash recycles, and whether I'm getting the perfect focus on their eyes.
And of course there's a little more that goes into taking a photo with a Nikon D800 than a little silver Canon Powershot, but when it came time to plan my own wedding, I knew one thing for sure: my wedding guests would be seeing my wedding with their own eyes, not the little clear plastic viewfinder on a $300 digital camera.
We're coming up on our first wedding anniversary on the 20th (amazing!!) so I am loving this excuse to relive this little piece of my wedding right now...
3:00pm on November 20th, 2012 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
It was hot.
So my ceremony fans were just what the doctor ordered. Take a look at that note from the bride...and if you can't read it, it says:
"speaking as someone who too often sees life through the
viewfinder instead of my own eyes, I would ask that you sit back,
and enjoy the ceremony without taking photos.
I promise you're in good hands!"
I walked down the aisle toward this good looking guy, without a camera in sight.
And the fact that all the people we cared about most were able to sit back and watch the happiest day of our lives unfold without a distraction...well that makes my heart very happy.
And let me assure you...above all else, there's something magical about never seeing an unflattering photo of yourself after the wedding.
Just try to find a record of us chomping down on steak and lobster at the dinner...or ugly crying at the reception. Try to find a photo where our eyes are closed or we have red-eye, or one where I'm looking angry at something in the background.
You won't find it...
Because we chose Lauren Wakefield and put her in charge of documenting our day in a way that we'd want to remember it.
Eyes open, looking madly in love.
I hope I've shed a bit of light on the benefits of an unplugged wedding. And if you're currently planning your 2014/2015 wedding, I really want this to be something you put some thought into! How do you want to remember your day, and what kind of experience do you want to provide for your guests?
And maybe you're a guest in an upcoming wedding...so I'll just say: please don't be that guy...