Do you agree or disagree that guests should be asked to turn off their phones during your wedding ceremony? Or are you of the opinion that they should be allowed to take photos with their phone as you walk down the aisle and then throughout the ceremony? Essentially, the question is “unplugged wedding ceremony – yes or no?”
As a wedding planner, watching from the sidelines, I would like to tell you why I always strongly urge my couples to adopt the “unplugged wedding ceremony” approach. And I know that this is something that wedding photographers will typically agree with me about.
Why has the term “unplugged wedding ceremony” arisen?
These days, many of us carry smartphones everywhere we go, and it is common practice for us to post the narrative of our lives to our social media feeds. In fact, when we attend a wedding, we will often be asked to do so using a “weddinghashtag” so that the bride and groom can subsequently find all of the uploaded photos, posted by their friends and family.
Why is this a problem for wedding ceremonies?
There are several reasons why I and my fellow wedding professionals see this practice as an issue for wedding ceremonies:
Firstly, I ask you to imagine yourself as the bride walking down the aisle on the arm of your father, or supporter. In the case of an “unplugged ceremony” your view will be of all of your guests looking directly at you with lovely, smiling faces, watching as you walk down the aisle towards your bridegroom.
Now imagine that your guests are all watching you through the cameras on their phones. In this scenario, all you can see is a “sea” of phones, with your guests hidden behind them and effectively not looking at you directly. I would argue that this is hardly a pleasant experience for the bride.
Finally, you need to remember that the couple will have paid a substantial sum to a professional photographer to take photographs of this moment; to achieve the optimal result, the photographer needs all of the guests to be “in the moment” ie part of the proceedings, rather than photographing the proceedings. Furthermore, the photographer’s photographs are hardly going to be ideal if they feature all of the guests taking photos on their phones. Essentially, the guests are ruining the photographs ability to take the best possible shots.
My vote – unplugged wedding ceremony every time!
I will always urge my couples to adopt the “unplugged wedding ceremony” approach – either with a sign at the entrance or by asking someone (be it the celebrant, MC or a guest) to make an announcement before the bride enters – and most of them appreciate the advice and thank me afterwards. Not all of them to so, and as an illustration of the impact that this can have on your photos, I am showcasing here a selection from both “plugged” and “unplugged weddings”. Ultimately, the decision is yours of course.
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