Unplugged weddings – an emerging trend

Young Marriage Celebrant Sydney - Male Marriage Celebrant Sydney - Modern Marriage Celebrant Sydney - Wedding by Stephen LeeI’ve noticed a definite trend towards “unplugged weddings” – asking your guests to put away their cameras and mobile phones so they can witness your ceremony through their own eyes and not a screen. Sensible or selfish – what do you think?

In several of my recent ceremonies, I’ve been asked by the couple to tell guests to put their phones down – politely of course. One bride didn’t want to walk down the aisle into a forest of phones thrust in front of her.  She specifically wanted to see everyone’s faces and make eye contact as she walked past. One groom simply wanted the professional photographers to document the ceremony. After all, they had a paid a lot of money for stylish and flattering pictures, and didn’t want happy snaps Tweeted or Facebooked or Instagrammed. They wanted to show off their ceremony in the best light possible to those who couldn’t be there on the day.

That also brings up the social media conundrum. I’ve watched weddings in real-time over Facebook – including a video of one couple saying their vows shot by a guest, and posted online before their ceremony had even finished. Do you accept that guests are excited and want to share that with their friends? Is it selfish to ask people not to take photos when they want to catch their own memories of the day? Does that make you a total control freak, or a thoughtful host by encouraging people to be fully in the room to enjoy a wonderful shared experience?

Here’s what a photographer posted about this issue online recently. “The idea of having an unplugged wedding is simple – Get your guests to leave all cameras and phones behind and just be present at your wedding, taking in the love and romance of your day. Let them know in advance by popping one of these in with the invitation. You can also attach it to your ceremony program.  Also, this decrease’s the chance tremendously of your guests ruining our shots during the ceremony. It’s always a battle with guests leaning in, leaning over, hanging over or jumping straight into the aisle when we want to capture those magic shots that you have hired us to get. We love those moments when you kiss for the first time or shed a tear, but when Auntie Edna is bending over in the middle of it….it sucks the magic right out.”

I chatted about this with a photographer friend at my wedding last weekend. She tended to agree, and said while people had good intentions, some great shots had been spoiled by people jumping in to snap a photo.

I think the answer is very much one of personal preference and how YOU feel about it. In other words – I am staying well and truly on the fence! Talk it over as you think about your ceremony, and let me know what you decide.

Written by Stephen Lee
Marriage Celebrant Sydney