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Photography Stories ♥

South Australian photographer Sarah Petrusma's photography blog. Full of thoughts, ideas & favourite stories


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Should you have an unplugged wedding?

I’m going to start this blog post by saying yes! Yes you most definitely should have an unplugged wedding. And in this little post I’ll tell you all of the wonderful reasons why I think an unplugged wedding is one of the best decisions you could make for your wedding.

What is an unplugged wedding?

I thought I’d start with the basics, what is an unplugged wedding? An unplugged wedding means asking your guests not to take any photos at least for your wedding ceremony. Some people also ask their guests not to take any photos at all during the day, or even go as far as to collect all camera’s and phones at the start of the wedding ceremony to be collected again when your guests either leave the ceremony or even as late as the end of the reception. (Though these days guests may suffer withdrawal symptoms if they are without their phone for your entire wedding!)

An unplugged ceremony does not mean not having a professional wedding photographer and/or videographer. It means that the professional photographer/s you hire will be the only ones watching your wedding day through a camera viewfinder.

Guests can truly be there with you

It is lovely that your guests want to be there for you, and have a strong desire to capture beautiful memories of you and for you. However, cameras are everywhere, and more and more photos are being taken on phones than ever before. We are living in a world where people have started to experience things through their phones rather than to be truly present in a moment. This is sad!

Asking your guests not to take any photos at least during the ceremony is a true sign of your respect and love for them. I view it as a gift to them, to ask them to be truly present in the moment with you. Let them know that they don’t have to worry about your special ceremony being captured, you’ve hired a great pro who will do all of the capturing for you and them. You can happily and easily share a copy of your ceremony photos with them following your wedding day.

Clear views for you and your photographer

Phones and cameras really are everywhere now, I have captured wedding ceremonies where literally nearly every single guest had their phone or camera either pressed to their face or held up in the air. What happens when camera’s and phones are front and centre wherever you look? They can block your view of each other as your beautiful bride walks down the aisle. They can also block the view of other guests. Theycan get in the way of your professional photographer and make it difficult for them to capture beautiful memories.

You can also have distracting flashes firing all through your ceremony (I always try not to use my flashes during the ceremony so that no one is distracted from the moment). Many people also don’t realise that with all these multiple flashes firing they can ruin some of your professional photos. If enough are going off at once or happen to be unfortunately timed the photographers carefully exposed photo can become blown out.

How do you have an unplugged ceremony?

There are so many wonderful ideas for how to have an unplugged wedding! Here are my favourite basics:

  • Let people know early.
    If you add a note in your wedding invite saying that you’re planning an unplugged wedding your guests will feel more prepared and ready to put their phones and cameras down for the ceremony.
  • Have a sign.
    Have a sign or two leading up to and/or at your wedding ceremony location politely asking your guests to put their phones and cameras down during your wedding ceremony. So that they can fully connect with and share this moment with you.
  • Tell your celebrant/priest
    Ask your celebrant or priest to make a polite announcement at the start of your wedding ceremony that this is an unplugged ceremony. With a brief explanation that you’d prefer they be present with you and not take photos during your ceremony. You can also say that you’re happy for them to take some snaps during the reception for example, so they know when they can pick up their camera again.

With these 3 simple steps, most guests should feel they have been well enough informed to follow your wishes for an unplugged ceremony. There are several cute wordings and ideas you can choose for your signs and invites. I’ve created a little Pinterest board (that you can check out here) with some of my fave ideas.