Unplugged Wedding Ceremony; Every Bride Needs One
Unplugged Wedding Ceremony
By Jeffrey House Photography
Unplugged wedding ceremony; every bride needs one!
It's a hot issue and it only continues to get hotter!
What is an unplugged wedding? An unplugged wedding mainly applies to the pre-ceremony and ceremony portions of the wedding day. When you have an unplugged wedding you are implementing a policy that prohibits your guests from using photo or video devices during the ceremony. Initially, you might be thinking, "How am I going to tell my guests they can't take photos?" Don't worry, I'm going to show you!
On the surface, it may seem pretty harmless to let guests take photos and certainly your guests have the best of intentions. However, what your guests don't realize or maybe they forgot, is that you paid good money to have a professional photographer and/or videographer, and they are ruining your photos!
As a wedding photographer, we totally get how exciting it is to capture that awesome shot or an amazing moment, but guests need to understand they are 20 times more likely to ruin a shot, than capture the perfect shot.
The picture below is an example of what can happen with cell phones, small cameras, etc. to your wedding pictures. This is a bride being walked down the aisle by her father, who also performed the wedding ceremony. This was just a great sentimental moment as the bride was walking down the aisle with her father, but unfortunately, the bright flash in the background from the cell phone really degrades the shot.
The Problem With Cell Phones, iPads, Video Cameras, And Cameras
The reality is most people today have a cell phone on them almost 100% of the time. So many pictures of a couple's wedding ceremony are filled with people standing in the aisle, holding up their cell phones, etc. It makes for extremely distracting pictures and seriously degrades your photos. It's not uncommon at all for pictures to even be ruined from situations like these or even other camera flashes. Yes, we use flashes to light our pictures too, but the difference is our flashes are synced to our cameras. They work in perfect harmony. However, sudden flash bursts from other sources can completely ruin your shot or at the very least ruin the "moment." You want your wedding pictures to be "clean" and free from distractions. You don't want to spend thousands of dollars on wedding photography for pictures that are filled with strange light bursts or a hundred guests with their hands in the air taking cell phone pictures.
The wedding ceremony is the part of the wedding that is fairly quiet, intimate, and 100% about the couple. Guests should sit back, relax, and experience your ceremony. Ceremony pictures are extremely important - we capture the first look, the exchange of vows and rings, the first kiss, etc. These photos are significant in telling your story and they are very sentimental. I can assure you they look twenty times better without heads, phones or flashes as part of the picture.
How Do You Implement A No Picture/Video Policy
It's actually pretty easy. You can post friendly signs around the ceremony stating you have a no photography or video policy or you can designate someone (wedding planner, friend, officiant, etc.) to address the guests prior to the start of the ceremony advising there is a no photo or video policy in place. It doesn't need to be communicated in an authoritative manner either, it can be done with some creativity and humor. Personally, I think having someone address your guests prior to the ceremony is most effective.
Will We Offend Our Guests If We Don't Allow Them To Take Pictures/Video
I think, initially, it's common for couples to worry about offending their guests. I assure you, your guests will not be offended. Remember, this is your day and your wishes should be respected. You have paid good money for a professional photographer and/or videographer, and really don't want your pictures degraded or ruined in exchange for a blurry cell phone picture.
Here's a pretty decent example of how distracting a photo can get with guests using their cell phones to capture images during the ceremony. Keep in mind, we are only looking at a fraction of the guests and look how many distracting cell phones and cameras are in the frame.
It Can Ruin Relationships
We can clearly see from a couple basic examples, how quickly images can be degraded. These examples are fairly tame, there are much worse situations. But there is another huge downside that probably hasn't even crossed your mind yet. There are lots of stories you can find with a simple Google search about a bridal party member or a guest taking pictures or video of the bride before the ceremony, and posting them online. Doesn't sound like such a big deal, right? Well they posted the picture of the bride in her wedding dress, prior to the ceremony, and the groom saw it on Facebook! Uh-oh - first look spoiled!! And so were some friendships!
Guests need to understand that while we live in a society where we post about every little thing we are doing, not everyone wants to share every moment online. Many couples want full control over what is posted when it comes to their wedding. They may only want professional images posted. They may not want a video of their first dance shared with the world, especially without their knowledge. There are many different feelings and beliefs when it comes to this topic, but unless you specifically know what the couple wants, don't post anything! As the couple getting married, if you wish to have control over what gets posted online about your wedding, make sure to clearly communicate your wishes to your guests.
What's Best For You
Whether you decide to implement a "no picture/video policy" and/or a "no posting policy," it's important to understand the risks of NOT having these policies in place. At least this way you know what to expect and what can happen. For some couples these things will not cause any concern, but for others it will cause great concern! Weddings are expensive and couples have the right to implement policies that protect their investment without feeling guilty. These moments only happen once - there are no second chances or retakes. If any important moment is destroyed by a cell phone flash or a guest getting in the way of your photographer, it's gone. The best advice we can give is stay true to yourself and do what's best for you, and your wedding.
A Few More Examples
We searched high and low through our image library, but couldn't find examples we felt really hit home. I found some really great examples and these photos are courtesy of Corey Ann Photography.
This is a great example showing what can happen when flashes from other cameras fire during your shot.
I'm sure the couple will love this shot! I cringe when I see this happen and unfortunately it happens all too often!
And lastly, another great example of how a sentimental moment was ruined.