Digital media has changed the way we do business, communicate and take photos. With the increasing popularity of modern recording and photographic devices like smartphones, tablets, point and shoot cameras and even consumer DSLRs – more wedding guests are plugging in and snapping away throughout the wedding day! There are photos at every wedding that are ruined by guests with cameras, usually during the processional and recessional whether it’s down an aisle of a church or down a grassy lawn.
Too often these digital devices are causing disruptions during the wedding ceremony. OFten the people who sit on the aisle will either stand or lean out into the aisle to take photos. In doing so, they often block the memorable photos that the bride and groom have paid big bucks to get from the professional photographer. A guest watching the wedding through an LCD screen isn’t the same as seeing it with your eyes. You are so concentrated on getting your photos that you miss the romantic experience of the ceremony. Often the shadows from a guest’s flash are bothersome and with several flashes going off at the same time make the photo too bright for the photographer to work with in the editing process.
Professional photographers know all too well that in that split second before the kiss, hands usually dart into the aisle to capture the perfect iPhone picture – leaving the professional to do his or her best to dodge around the amateur devices in order to get the timeless shot. The couple have invited you to celebrate their day, not sit there on your phone.
You may want to post a sign: “Welcome to our unplugged Wedding! We invite you to be fully present with us during our ceremony. Please turn off your cell phone and camera. We promise to share with you the many beautiful photos taken today!”
Ask the Wedding Officiant or Minister to make an announcement before the ceremony begins. Every Officiant is different. For me, I like to lighten things up a bit and as soon as I arrive at the alter, I often will say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the bride and groom request that you turn your cell phones and cameras (and I pause briefly, and say) “back on” after the ceremony. They ask that you be nice and turn off your device.” Some of the guests will laugh or smile and they usually respect the bride and groom’s wishes.
One of the most surprising things that has happened to me while I was performing a ceremony was the bride who asked me to make the above announcement, however during the ceremony she whipped out an iPhone from her bosom and snapped two selfies. Out of respect for the bride, I decided not to embarrass her by posting the photo. 😉 It seemed a bit incongruent to me, but that’s just me!
One couple asked me to say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the bride and groom request that you turn your cell phones, ipads, cameras and other digital distractions (pause) “back on” after the wedding. The professional photographer will capture how this moment looks. I encourage you all to capture how it “feels” with your hearts and without the distraction of technology during the ceremony. Thank you.”
Perhaps a partial solution would be to have disposable cameras on each table at the wedding reception venue. The guests should be asked to leave the cameras on the table or drop them into a box or basket once they are done using them. This ensures that the bride and groom will have every camera which they are able to get developed.
Often the problem with that idea is that the children at the reception will begin snapping photos of everyone and you end up with a lot of photos of the floor or ceiling. If you use this idea, it’s important for the Master of Ceremonies (or Disc Jockey) to make an announcement that the cameras are there for the adults to use during the reception. A fun option would be giving the guests an assignment, such as incorporating their table number card into every picture.
BONUS Articles: Why You Might Want to Consider an Unplugged Wedding
Considering an Unplugged Wedding?
Smartphones at Weddings: Potential Distraction!
The Three P’s of Wedding Photography Shopping
Disposable Cameras for Your Reception
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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