Unplugged ceremonies. This is one of the most controversial topics currently being discussed in the wedding industry. Every week it seems like a photographer has gone viral for some video or Facebook post about this very topic. Should you have one?
For some reasons yes, others maybe not. I am here to talk about the pros (and even a few cons) to the unplugged ceremony.
PRO #1: IT KEEPS GUESTS FOCUSED ON YOU.
The main drive behind an unplugged ceremony should be to keep guests engaged with your ceremony in real life, not through the screen of a phone or a tablet. They should be seeing it with their own eyes, not with the lens of an iPhone. In asking your guests to put away the technology, you are asking them to be present with you in your big moment–that’s why you invited them to celebrate with you in the first place.
CON #2: IT MIGHT BE THE ONLY WAY A WAYWARD GUEST CAN WATCH
At my first wedding, there was a guest with a tablet they held up the whole time (an impressive feat). The reason? One of the guests was in Australia and could not make it to Hibbing for the wedding. We live in such a time where we have the opportunity to connect people in such a way, and this was a great use of that technology. A workaround? Maybe have an official streamer–one person who is responsible for holding up the tablet; that way others can unplug, disconnect, and relax.
PRO #2: IT LET’S THE PHOTOGRAPHER + VIDEOGRAPHER DO THEIR JOB
I will be honest: This is less of a thing with me. In my four years of wedding photography, I have never really had this issue; however, there is always a risk of it. When guests decide to act as a photographer, it can impact your paid services. Everything happens so fast on a wedding day that any minor distraction can become a major one in a hurry. There is the argument that, yes, we are professionals and should know how to work around pretty much everything, but having an unplugged ceremony would act as an insurance policy to reduce the likelihood of something going amiss.
CON #2: YOU MIGHT MISS OUT ON SOME UNIQUE PHOTOS.
Clearly you hired a photographer because you want professional photos. However, that doesn’t mean that a smartphone paparazzo can’t take a few good ones, too. That, paired with the fact that even with two shooters can’t be everywhere, supports the claim to not go fully unplugged. A solution to this? Maybe ban large cameras that would have a larger impact on the job of the photographer + videographer.
I will be honest: I can count on one hand the number of times this has been an issue for me (the time I have the biggest problem with phones or cameras is actually during family formals with little ones when I am trying to get everyone to look at MY camera, but their eyes are darting to everyone around me). I think the most important reason for an unplugged wedding should be the first pro: You have planned your day, and your guests should be willing to put down the technology and spend it with you. Some moments are best experienced; your “I do” is one of them.
Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer who provides services to elegant, authentic, sentimental couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullest.