There is so many arguments for and against an unplugged wedding and many articles make compelling arguments and even some interesting reading, but I want to give you a balanced view on the subject.
Many of the arguments for an unplugged wedding I have heard have a lot to do with overzealous guests ruining the professional photographer’s photos, personally have in my 15+ years of covering weddings not really had this impact me. Yes maybe I have been lucky but I am also not afraid of asking someone to step back if they are in the way, politely of course. I think the worst I have seen is a bridesmaid with a massive ipad standing in the isle taking photos during the ceremony, but in this case another guest asked her to sit down.
I do get it, it is much easier to do my job well when I am not blocked by a sea of camera phones or people taking photos over my shoulder but has it ruined my work? No, I honestly don’t think so. Distracted my subjects, yes. Taken a little longer to get what I need, yes but ruin it no.
What I would say s if you cannot afford a great photographer and your budget does not allow for two then personally I would say let the guests go crazy, out of the hundreds of photos they may take they may actually get one really great, the odds are in their favour after all. Just be prepared for them to get a few not so flattering ones!
But if you have gone to the trouble and expense and taken the time to carefully choose your photographer(s) then I would say give them the best possible chance to get the moments without Aunt May jumping into the isle and blocking them for the kiss.
Now this may seem a little controversial and I totally expect to get some push back on this but hear me out.
By booking an experienced wedding photographer with more than a few years’ experience the chances are you will be paying over £2000. With the years of experience is the ability to read people and emotion and when to expect it. Now there is some less experience who have this skill I do not doubt but generally it is the more experienced that have a heightened sense for it.
Here is the catch, by having an unplugged wedding you are taking away distraction, and what do people do when they are no longer distracted? They pay attention and actually enjoy the moment! Guess what this creates…. Yep you guessed it more emotion and emotional expression.
For my wedding three years ago, we had an unplugged ceremony, we put it in the invites and in the programs at the church, it was a simple ‘we invite you to capture our day with your hearts and minds and not your phones and cameras, please let the pro do the work and just enjoy yourself’
Interestingly enough it meant that when the photographer took the photos he actually got people smiling and enjoying themselves not hiding behind a phone trying to get their own photos. We got to see faces and not phones when we walked down the aisle!
Now there is many ways you can request an unplugged wedding, I particularly like ‘we want to see your faces not your devices’ but if you search Pinterest you are bound to find something that tickles your fancy. What I would say is whatever reason you decide to go unplugged is make sure you let your guests know early and it is also great to let your photographer know too!
If you decide to let your guest be your paparazzi then I would at least give them a way to share them with you either a hashtag or a porthole where they can upload them so at least you get the benefit of them. There is also the option of asking them not to share on social media before you have the professional images which build on the anticipation.
With so many options open to you I would advise you to consider them and the sort of wedding you have planned and whatever you choose discuss it with your photographer and let your guests know early.