Getting Married Soon? Consider an unplugged wedding.
My first experience with an "unplugged wedding" was at my brother-in-law's nuptials early this year. Never heard of an "unplugged wedding"? Neither had I prior to then. The idea first caught on after the publishing of a blog post by Corey Ann Photography, an internationally award winning photographer out of Canton, OH. In it she details how the idea for unplugged weddings came about. Here is how she explains it (quoted and linked by permission):
Last year one of my friends got married and I was so thrilled to be her photographer that day. What was even more amazing was that she had an “Unplugged Wedding” after seeing pictures and reading my rants over the years about well-meaning guests whom have inadvertently (or heck, even completely on purpose) ruined images. Prior to the ceremony, the officiant read this, “Welcome, friends and family! Good evening everyone. Please be seated. Dan and Jennifer invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off your cell phones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks — I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology. If Dan can do it, then so can you.” I can’t tell you how many happy leaps of joy my heart did when reading this!!! The guests all obeyed and even after the ceremony many decided to keep their arms down and their hearts open and enjoyed the day instead of being an observer from behind their cameras.
I remember back in the day, before everyone who had a phone had a camera, it was not unheard of to see the occasional wedding guest whip out a point and shoot camera and take a quick snap of the wedding. With the advent of digital cameras and through their ubiquitous presence thanks to the universal appeal of smartphones, this is no longer occasional, quick or harmless. Corey Ann goes on to describe with pictures as proof, how a well-meaning guest can absolutely ruin a shot.
Let's be honest, people pay professional photographers lots of money because we have invested in the training and equipment to make sure we capture those once in a lifetime moments in the most beautiful and artful way possible. You don't want those ruined by your office co-worker on his cell phone just so he can get that perfect picture for instagram right? There's one other reason, I love the idea of an unplugged wedding. Consider this photograph from back when film cameras were still king. Pay particular attention to the guests. What do you notice?
The first thing I notice that differs from photos of weddings shot today is that people are actually experiencing the wedding with their eyes. They are present, they are enjoying the moment. As much as I love photography, I don't like to bring my camera to special events such as these for this very reason. I like to be "present", "in the moment". If that picture would be taken today, you'd see at least half of those people holding up their phones, experiencing the wedding on a tiny 5 inch screen, completely disconnected from reality, as in the picture below (copyright unknown).
Ultimately the choice is yours, but to make the day truly magical consider an unplugged wedding.
You can read Corey Ann's complete blog post here.
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