15 Oct 2015
October 15, 2015

Just the Facts of an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

A wonderful shot during the wedding ceremony... is it ruined?

Do you see the bride’s mother?  Could this have been a wonderful picture of the wedding ceremony procession if not for the cell phones?

The discussion of mobile devices and guests taking pictures and videos during the wedding has been covered on many sites, by many people, yet, I still feel that we can add some value to the discussion, having performed over 650 wedding ceremonies.   Obviously, the focus of this post is on the wedding ceremony portion of the special day and I am not here to encourage or discourage an “unplugged ceremony”… just want to present the facts.

Fact number 1 – If you have hired a professional photographer and/or videographer to capture your special day, you should discuss with them your thinking in regards to the use of mobile devices during your wedding ceremony and find out their thoughts.   This will allow them to make suggestions and adjust based on your choice.   If the photographer and videographer know that no announcement will be made and that people will be allowed take photos/videos, they may seek to be more mobile or to take a position that is not as easily blocked by Aunt Martha standing and holding her iPad over her head to catch the first kiss (yes, we have seen it all).

Fact number 2 – If you do not specifically ask, or have the officiant ask, for people to please turn off their mobile devices and refrain from taking pictures during the wedding ceremony, you need to expect the worst.  I had a wedding recently in which three of the guests were literally standing at the end of the aisle taking pictures and video as the bride was being escorted down the aisle… blocking the view of the family and, more importantly, the groom.

Fact number 3 – I know that social media friendliness and fun is sometimes the goal with guests taking pictures and videos of your ceremony, and then posting them with links and hashtags related to your wedding.  Just note that this can cause some pictures that might not be grandma-safe to end up being seen by all, and that “what could have been” a perfect shot by the professional photographer might end up being not so perfect.

Fact number 4 – It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  I have worked with couples who are okay with pictures and video being taken of the procession, but then they have me make an announcement at the start of the ceremony asking that everyone please refrain from taking pictures and video for the rest of the ceremony.  I have also worked with couples who have had me make an announcement at the start of the ceremony indicating they are okay with pictures and video being taken as long as the “shooting” is done from a seated position.

Personally, it is our opinion – and many other wedding professionals’ too – that if you have paid the photographer and/or videographer good money to capture your special moments, you should give them the best chance to do that.  But it is your special day, not ours, so make the decision right for you.

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