Have you considered having an unplugged wedding? Your first question may be, what is an unplugged wedding? An unplugged wedding is a wedding that is completely free from guests having cell phones, cameras and/or iPads.
Your second question may be, why would I want my guests to leave their electronics at home or in their purse? There are several reasons to consider.
#1 You want your guests to be fully present at your wedding. If your guests are live tweeting, Instagramming and Facebooking your wedding, chances are they are not fully vested in the moment, the day, the celebration. They are not able to take in all the minute details and enjoy all the fabulous components of your wedding day… all the specifics you have spent the last 12 months or so dreaming, planning, researching, testing, crowd sourcing, discussing, and envisioning for your special day. They just aren’t enjoying ALL the things that you have put together for them to share in your wedding day.
#2 You want control over what images of your special day appear online. Ever have a friend post an image online that you don’t, well, look your best in? Face it, not everyone is a professional photographer. If you would like to curate the images from your wedding day, so to speak, this is one way to control what images are seen online. Your paid photographer will know that you don’t want an image of you with your mouth wide open at dinner time on Instagram, or anywhere for that matter.
#3 There are less obstacles for your wedding photographer to work around. Although I haven’t experienced this personally, there are many horror stories online from wedding photographers who have had key moments ruined by a guest jumping in front of the first kiss, the first dance or the toast. Instead of capturing what was a very important peak point of the day, the photographer successfully photographed an iPad. That’s sad. There’s also the chance of your guests’ camera equipment either firing off your paid photographer’s flashes, therefore possibly making them unable to fire the very next split second which might be the first kiss. Or, there’s also the chance that the guests’ cameras can add extra light into the scene that your paid photographer hasn’t calculated for, thereby ruining your bouquet toss because there’s too much light.
#4 It makes family formal portraits move much more efficiently. When I counsel my wedding clients on the formal photographs that will happen directly after the ceremony and before their announcement as Mr. and Mrs., I always tell them to plan on at least three minutes for each set up. Yes, it takes, on average, three minutes to set up each arrangement for family formals. First, each person needs to be gathered. Quite frequently, a few family members wander off after the ceremony, so it takes a bit to coral them back to where they are needed. Once everyone is gathered, the bride’s dress and veil need to be fluffed just right. Shirts, ties and jackets need to be checked. The persons need to be arranged in the frame. The arrangement needs to be double-checked to ensure no one’s face is being blocked by another. Check again for sunglasses, cell phones sticking out of pockets or making weird shapes in pants, shadows, background distractions, and making sure the bride is the most beautiful person in the image. Then, take no less than three clicks to ensure that you have at least one good photo of everyone with eyes open and looking straight at the camera. Repeat until you’re done with all the family setups. If the bride and groom have requested 15 setups, that will take no less than 45 minutes.
Now, two things can happen at this point. If your paid photographer is ignoring all the people behind them with cameras, at least one person in each setup will NOT be looking at the paid photographer. Guaranteed. There’s really no way to fix someone’s eyes not looking at the camera. The second scenario is that your photographer will allow a minute or two after they capture the setup for all the other guests to capture the same image. This will add time on top of your three minutes and instead of being ready to get to your reception in 45 minutes, guests will have to wait over an hour to see you.
#5 If you’re having a traditional wedding, there’s a chance your husband-to-be may see your dress before your grand entrance. Imagine this. You’ve bought THE DRESS… the dress that your future husband has waited the last 16 months to see you in. This dress makes you feel incredibly beautiful, super sexy and completely confident. You can’t wait to see the look on his face when you begin your walk down the aisle to spend the rest of your life with him. However, the moment is completely wasted because he saw it first on Instagram.
Have a Successful Unplugged Wedding
If having an unplugged wedding is something that appeals to you, your last question may be, how in the world do I convince my guests to cooperate? There are several tactics to employ to make sure they abide.
Include it in your invitations. Include a piece in your paper suite (save-the-dates, invitations, RSVPs, etc.) that politely asks them to cooperate. Tell them why you’d like this and how it will make the day more special to you.
Ask the officiant to announce it. After everyone has been seated and escorted into the ceremony, ask your officiant to announce that this will be an unplugged ceremony or wedding day. Who wants to defy the clergyman?
Posters. Have a few posters printed reminding guests that you’d like the day to be special for everyone. Personalize the poster by including you and your husband’s name so that guests are clear that it’s your special request.
Programs or Place Settings. The ceremony program and dinner place settings are also good places to remind your guests to stay focused.
Share the professional images. Reassure your guests that you will be sharing your professional images from the day. Let them know when and where they will be able to freely download and/or purchase any professional prints from your day. When my clients choose to share their images with the guests, I also supply them with cards to leave on the gift table or include in the place settings. The leftover cards are usually included when the thank you cards are mailed out.
If an unplugged wedding is something that you really want, I think these reminders will gently encourage your guests to comply. And, if you’re sharing all your wonderful images from the day, who could be mad at that?
Very soon, I’ll discuss the opposite of an unplugged wedding. Until next time, be positive, happy, healthy, and don’t forget to be photographed.
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I am San Antonio’s most unique wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
I am a full-time, internationally-awarded and WPPI-C certified professional wedding photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I offer a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of!
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