As a wedding filmmaker, I’ve seen my fair share of it and I know my wedding photography counterparts have too, people with smart phones, tablets and their own cameras in the way of the professionals that you hire to capture the day. It’s very much a “Picard face palm” moment of sorts and over the years, I’ve had to change the way I film in order to try and minimize it BUT, it still happens, even in 2019.
So, what is an Unplugged Wedding Anyway?
An unplugged wedding is where you and your guests unplug from the world, be it your phone, iPad, camera, or any other technology that is around. An unplugged wedding is about enjoying the moment, looking down the aisle to see your friends and family looking back, seeing their emotion, seeing them smile, feeling the love.
On the other side in a world where people are checking their phones, taking photos and uploading to Facebook or Instagram in an instant, do you want to look down the aisle to see your friends and family hiding behind a camera or their phone as they take photos and upload for the world to see before you have even said ‘I Do’?
What’s the purpose of having one?
If the photos above were not enough of a reason, then think about your guests and why you want them to be there.
You want them to be there to enjoy the moment, enjoy the moment of you getting married, to forget about everything and just be there. There is no need for guests to be checking their phone, there is no need for guest to take photos, you have hired a professional(s) to take care of all that.
With social media an everyday part of most people’s lives, do you want all these photos taken by guests splashed up on Facebook before you have walked back down the aisle as husband and wife?
Do you want to turn your phone on at the end of the day and have notifications of hundreds of photos you have been tagged in? This is your wedding day and you should be able to choose what is shared and who shares it.
You want your guests to enjoy the day and be part of it you haven’t invited your family and friends along to take photos and be a photographer for the day, you have hired a professional for that. You have invited them because you want them there, there in person and not hidden behind a phone.
Should you Ban Guests from Phones and Cameras?
Banning phones and cameras may sound a little strong, but it isn’t about banning them, it is about getting your guest to understand that you have hired professionals and that they can view these photos and videos once ready.
You want your guests to understand that you want them to be there and enjoy the moment.
Even if you have an unplugged wedding, that doesn’t always mean people will follow through. I recently did a wedding in Vinton where one lady was right in front of my tripod and camera, being able to follow bridesmaids and groomsmen in the video I needed, well I was able to get them to a point, then, I had to switch to another camera. When the bride came out, I had to quickly tell the lady to move out of my way so I could get the shots I needed for the video. The couple even had a sign asking people not to use their cameras and smartphones.
I do offer a live stream of the ceremony for the purposes of social media. If someone REALLY wants to see the wedding online, the couple has an opportunity to let them with my Mevo Plus system.
I know from my own experience, one in every three weddings tends to have multiple people with their smart devices over the aisle to capture that ‘shot’ or video clip for their social media profiles. One of the things I’ve had to do over the years is switch from a tripod to a monopod-based system for my main camera. What’s a monopod? It’s a one-legged system instead of a three legged system, it allows me to move quickly if I need too, if the wedding photographers in my shot or if someone gets in my way, I can quickly move my camera (hopefully cut to another one in editing) to make it look natural in the edit bay.