Ahhhh! Unplugged weddings... The topic has probably died, been beaten and dead again. Although, with every wedding I do, most people don't know about the concept!
So, here I am 12 days away from my little brothers wedding. There's so much to plan for, think about, do... You see, I'm the minister. This is a very different role for me because I seldom peel my cameras display screen off my face. The one thing I keep thinking about is "I just really want to see, have and cherish photos of them that DON'T HAVE CROWDS OF PEOPLE WAIVING PHONES ABOUT! Don't ruin my baby bros photos!"
So, in the process I figured I'd do a little write up on these strange things.
The first, and most important part I want to mention about plugged weddings VS unplugged weddings - Presence.
Like, your presence. Your mind, not just your physical being. Get it?
What is wrong with this photo? Do you see the groom? All day, these two have been waiting to see each other. Or maybe they did a first look session and already had a moment, but by God when there are two people getting married there is nothing more special than the moment you see your partner come down the aisle! So what happened? The guests, completely forgetting any of their spacial reasoning, completely forgetting there is a photographer present who was paid a lot of money to photograph a wedding.... just got this shot. Sit your butts down and look at the bride! Or groom. Or both! At the same time!
Guys... guys... check this out. If you are fiddling with your phones, zooming in/zooming out, checking to see if your photo came out, taking more photos, messing with the flash, immediately posting to social media, texting some people, reading texts from people, paying attention to if you have enough light or whatever - YOU ARE NOT PRESENT! You're plugged in. You are 40% at best. That's so lame.
When you truly, honestly watch your daughter, sister, friend, cousin come down that aisle, you don't miss anything. You can acknowledge every gorgeous detail of her dress, admire the amazing jewelry she chose or maybe her partner purchased exactly for this day, her hair and makeup and how flawless it is. You see the look on the faces of both of them, as they see their partner for the last few seconds before they are joined together in Union... And some tax laws. If you are present, you hear the words the minister spent time compiling. It may have taken him/her hours or even days to find the words to glorify this couple and make their ceremony a perfect introduction to their life together. If you are present, you will remember.
The second part (yes we're only on the second, for those just skimming) is - Aesthetics. I cannot tell you how much it irks us having photos of what was a beautiful moment, crowded with devices.
This bride above is FLAWLESS. Can you imagine what she might have looked like if you were not staring at her through 12 megapixels?
The moment she walks in and comes down that aisle and sees all her closest people. Sees how everyone adores her. And, instead you get a photo with 45 cameras pointed at her. She'll probably get shy, put her head down and scurry to the alter. This photo should be the guests raw, emotional reactions to her entrance. Now its unemotional, detached and way too technological.
Ok, I only had those two huge reasons to tell you why an unplugged wedding is my jam. For you. Its all for you!
Now, the hard part is telling your guests! I don't know why it's hard, but sometimes you just have a hard time putting it into words. Well, someone else has! The always informative and helpful Offbeat Bride has yet another guide on doing something. For info and copy and paste tools, go HERE.
But, I do want to tell you a few reasons why, if you have an unplugged wedding, your photographer(s) will kiss the ground you walk on.
Want to know how far your guests will go to get a photo of you on their phones? Here's a small list of things that have happened to fellow photographers, if I made a list of everything, you'd never leave my blog. (I'm including my own experiences in here):
1. Guests jump in front of the photographer when the wedding party and bride come down the aisle. Shot ruined.
2. Guests yell "Look at me! Look over here!" during formals which creates confusion and is very distracting for everyone, especially if there are children involved. Shots ruined.
3. Uncle Bob has an alright camera and he's using his pop-up flash. half your shots look insane because he's right behind you the entire night. Shots ruined.
4. Uncle Bob pulls out his tripod during formals and snaps away, right behind you, the entire time. Do you have any idea how uncomfortable that is? It's bad.
5. Guest whips out an iPad and jumps into the aisle literally blocking the couple from seeing each other. Moment ruined.
6. Uncle Bob went home, uploaded all 1700 photos he took and put them immediately on facebook. You see your entire wedding at a fraction of the quality and when sneak peeks and the full reveal come, you're bored. You've already seen them all. Haarrrrumph!
7. Guests dictate poses and pull people out of an organized frame to take their own photos. I'm talking, bridemaids lined up ready to shoot. Grandma NEEDS to get a photo of so and so right now.
There's more, there's always more, but I think that'll suffice for now.
Having guests running around with their phones out or cameras in their hands makes our job hard, like avoiding the kamikaze guests (I guarantee you'll have more than a handful) and the reality is that 95% of the time (totally legit statistic, I'll gladly cite next Tuesday), they're completely unaware of the fact that they just got in the way and blocked a shot we were lined up for. But also because we can't see the guests faces. Head down buried in the phone or head up, phone blocking the face. And also, most importantly and I've said it a million times... Your guests devices block us from you. (Psst. In case you forgot, you're the most important people at the event)
The last thing I want to say is - This is your day. You will be surrounded by people who love and adore you both. Don't you want to be in the moment with them, instead of being seperated by a screen? Anyways, you'll do what you want in the end - but every photographer everywhere is begging you to go unplugged. You will not regret it.