Cody and Elise opted for an unplugged wedding and the moments captured were seriously beautiful (and tear jerking!)
If you’re like me, you know exactly where the old photo albums live at your parent’s house. Ours stayed on the corner table in the dining room and every once in awhile we would all sit around the table as we poured through their wedding images filled with perms, flowy sleeves, mint colored dresses, and oodles of lace. We would giggle about how the styles have changed and my mom would reminisce about their wedding day, how they ran out of pews, got married at 7PM and how the church ladies fed everyone dinner. We would page through and live those moments with them and it was something of a tradition for us.
Recently my mom was a guest at a wedding I was shooting alone and she sat on the edge of the pew and waited for the bride to come down the aisle. She was absolutely blown away by the amount of people who had their cameras and phones ready and on for the beautiful brides grand entrance. She watched as guests stepped into the aisle, used their flashes, and did just about everything to get the perfect shot as she walked down on her dad’s arm. After the wedding my mom and I were talking about wedding photography and she asked if this was the norm, if this was something we dealt with every weekend. I sadly shook my head and told her it was our reality and something that was all too common. In our digital world, everyone wants to be the first to post a photo, they want to take that epic shot that everyone will “like” and comment on and they want to be the one to catch that perfect moment.
It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Look around at a concert, a coffee shop, on a plane. Everyone wants to document life and everyone wants to share it. What they are forgetting is that the couple has hired someone to do the documenting. They have hired a professional who is able to catch those precious moments and execute the perfect shot for them. What guests often forget is that they are an integral part of not only the wedding day, but the wedding photos. They forget that they are the back drop, they set the mood, their faces are a part of the story. Do you think the bride wants to look through her wedding album and see a million phone screens? Do they want to remember people looking down at their devices and not into her eyes? Do they realize that in their attempt to get the “perfect photo” they have blocked the professional photographer from catching their shot?
I wish I could share some of the photos of these instances to help prove a point but I never want to offend my clients or their guests! I get it, trust me, I do. This is why I am a believer in allowing my clients to share their galleries and images with parents, guests, cousins, and their wedding party. I want people to enjoy their images and I want people to connect with the moments, moments they might have missed if they were too busy taking a blurry photo for Instagram.
This is why I am a huge fan of “unplugged” ceremonies. Celebrations where the bride and groom welcome guests to be present and to keep all devices shut off so that they can enjoy the moments, soak up the memories, and “unplug” from the need or desire to capture each and every moment. Trust me, from a professional standpoint, unplugged weddings are a godsend. We are able to watch the bride walk down the aisle without being blocked by guests or phone screens. We can document the expressions of their families and guests as they see her for the first time! We don’t fear that Uncle Carl will stand up during the first kiss to get “the shot” and make us miss that precious moment. We get to watch the couple waltz down the aisle with smiles, not phone screens. I’m sure you’re thinking, well, how am I going to get the perfect shot for facebook? Fear not, you can take a photo of the happy couple at cocktail hour or dinner or the dance! There are ample opportunities that don’t involve dark churches, long narrow aisles, or once in a lifetime moments.
Can you imagine our children someday looking through our albums and seeing a line of iphones along the aisle? People who are more concerned with documenting than enjoying? What does this say about our priorities? If you are planning a wedding, I challenge you to consider “unplugging.” If you aren’t sure how to do this, just google “unplugged weddings” and a million ways to let your guests know your wishes are available. If you are guests at a wedding, I challenge you to put your phone and camera down. I want you to be present, joyful, excited, and a part of their wedding story. I want to see your face not your phone case and I promise you my photos will be all the more better if you are enjoying yourself, as an added bonus you won’t get cropped out of the photos because you will be a smiling piece of the puzzle and I promise, I’ll post a sneak peek the night of their wedding so that the world can see how truly beautiful they looked! Don’t worry guys, I’ve got this!