Unplugged Wedding: Yes or No?

This is such a huge topic in the world of photography right now because now, more than ever before, guests at weddings have cameras and everyone is taking photos. To be honest, there is a bit of debate surrounding the subject of unplugged weddings — or the idea of asking your guests to refrain from taking photos during your wedding. Some photographers swear that guests with cameras will ruin your wedding day, and others openly welcome all guests to take photos throughout the day. In my opinion, a healthy medium is the best option. 🙂

I won’t lie.. I have had my fair share of moments where a well-meaning guest stepped in front of me during crucial parts of a wedding day. My heart drops, and I can get frustrated. But banning guest photography completely doesn’t have to be the answer. For me, guest photography is such an important way for your friends and family to experience your day. They want to share memories and be able to look back on photos. And how precious is a photo that your grandmother took of you and your new husband?! Seriously, that is a photo your photographer could never replicate because of the meaningfulness of who took the photo. So for me, while guest photography can present challenges, I don’t think banning it is necessary.

So what do I suggest? I advise my couples to consider asking guests to refrain from taking photos during the ceremony. This is the only portion of the day where moving to an alternate angle isn’t always possible for me (depending on the venue), so guest photography can become a problem when capturing a moment that cannot be replicated. A prime example of this would be your first kiss as husband and wife. I have seen my fair share of iPads and cellphones leaning into the aisle and blocking my view. Thankfully, I always have my second shooter present to help with these difficulties, but of course that may not always be full proof. Another thing to consider is the aesthetic of cameras and cellphones out during your wedding ceremony. Some couples find that they don’t want to see cameras all over their photos — they want to see their friends and family present and in the moment. Typically, our couples have no problem with this suggestion and will usually have their officiant make a short announcement prior to the start of the ceremony simply noting that the bride and groom would like their guests to put away their cell phones and cameras and to be present in the moment. One thing to mention is that even when this announcement is made, there are always some guests who will take photos anyway. This is totally okay! The great thing about making the announcement is that your guests will at least be discreet in taking their photos instead of standing in the aisle or leaning in front of your photographer.

Ultimately this is a topic that you will have to consider with your groom. If it’s not a concern for you, then perhaps an announcement isn’t necessary.. but understanding the limitation it may place on your photographer is important. After all, your photographer just wants to do their very best to document your wedding day, so listening to their recommendation on the topic is a good place to start.

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