The term "Unplugged Wedding" is being thrown around a LOT lately. Now that a variety of devices come with a built in digital camera feature, there are more amateur photographers than ever taking photographs at weddings. Using cellphones, tablets, Ipads and digital cameras, many people have taken on the role of documenting every moment for their friends and relatives. They mean well, and it may be fine at Aunt Mabel's seventieth birthday bash, but it becomes an issue when they cross paths with the professional that is being paid to capture a couple's wedding day especially if they obstruct his or her ability to come through with the images he or she is being paid to capture. The image above shows what the wedding photographer of today typically sees as he or she is capturing the "must have" shot of the bride coming down the aisle (photo credit David Stubbs Photography). Not only do all of those glowing screens ruin the beauty of the classic shot but many of these guests will not hesitate to immediately use social media to post images for the world to see.
Kings of Facebook, Queens of Instagram, these wedding guests mean well. They might even catch a few nice shots but they pose a very real threat to the professional wedding photographer who is using an artistic vision to capture an entire collection of images that will tell the story of your wedding to your children and grandchildren someday. I will never forget the woman in the white dress with black and yellow polka dots who stepped out into the center of the aisle, right in front of me, to get the shot of the bride's father kissing her cheek before he gave her away exactly as shown above (credit David Stubbs Photography). Yes, I did miss the shot but my talented second shooter captured it from another angle. In fact, it is partly due to the proliferation of cell phone cameras that I long ago decided not to shoot weddings without an associate photographer. My policy paid off on that day! And, for those couples who decide not to limit amateur photography, the fact that my associate and I will always shoot from separate angles offers reassurance that the likelihood of an interrupted shot is significantly diminished.
Here's my suggestion. Hire a wedding photographer you trust and let them do what they do best so they can capture all the images that tell the story of your wedding day. Consider asking your guests to leave their cell phones in their pockets or purses at least during the ceremony. If you wish to allow all photography, then consider reminding guests to be discreet. There are many ways to pass this information along to your guests. Some couples place an insert in the invitation envelope. Some post a nice looking sign at the entrance to the church and or reception hall (see Pinterest for ideas, search "unplugged wedding"). Some even have the wedding coordinator or clergyperson make an announcement before the ceremony to remind guests of your wishes.
The inspiration for this post was my own based on personal experience but the photographs used to make the point are from www.youperfectweddingphotographer.co.uk , photo credit goes to David Stubbs Photography.