You Might Want to Tell Your Wedding Guests "We Already Hired Photographers"

This is actually a trendy movement right now, they call it unplugged weddings. The bride and groom explicitly ask for wedding guests to sit in their seats, keep their cell phones off, and just be in the moment with them. Some photographers even require this and it’s included in their contract. So what’s the big hype? What problems does it solve? And how could anyone ask guests to do this without crossing into the bridezilla territory?

Why Would You Unplug Your Wedding?

In your mind you already have the perfect picture of your wedding day, pause your favorite moment, and imagine the back of your uncle bob’s head behind an Ipad taking up half the frame. Unfortunately, we get this picture a lot. Not just Ipads, phones, and point and shoot cameras, but the entire person using these devices essentially photobombs the bride and groom’s moment for a picture we know is going to include us in the background as well. This hiccup is all too common to the point where you can find stories like this on the news, in numerous photography blogs, and just about every website dedicated to the wedding industry. Recently a photographer from Australia, Thomas Stewart, posted this picture along with a corresponding message of frustration:

Photograph created by Thomas Stewart, from Thomas Stewart Photography (http://www.thomasstewart.com.au/)

Photograph created by Thomas Stewart, from Thomas Stewart Photography (http://www.thomasstewart.com.au/)

“Look at this photo. This groom had to lean out past the aisle just to see his bride approaching. Why? Because guests with their phones were in the aisle and in his way.”

This is just one photograph, imagine what a video would look like. The Knot helped put the situation in context: “One faux pas we've been hearing about a lot lately is guests getting in the way of professional photography and videography. Considering that photography is often one of the biggest expenses couples will spend on, it's an issue that's harder to ignore than ditched seating assignments.”

Stewart went on to express that guests taking photographs is not only the photographer’s problem, but “these same guests will get in YOUR way. You will miss moments of your own wedding day because there’ll be an iPad in the way”. Put simply, do you want to see your wedding guests’ faces at your wedding or their favorite tablet/mobile device/camera?

It may seem advantageous to get as many pictures as possible from your wedding, I know, those guest candid photos right? For our wedding, we thought it would be cool to have disposable cameras on all the reception tables. We thought everyone and anyone could be a photographer and take great pictures of everyone having fun to get those candid moments that our photographers weren’t getting. Out of all those cameras, we got one decent picture, that’s it. And it is nowhere near as good as our hired photographers’ photos. Obviously we hadn’t read Cracked’s article naming Photography as one of four deceptively difficult jobs that everyone thinks they can do.

How to Have an Unplugged Wedding

Asking your guests to unplug for the entire wedding is a little much (we do love our selfies after all). Simply ask that during the ceremony all photography and video be left to the wonderful professionals you have hired. Use a combination of these tips from the Huffington Post article, 4 Ways to Get Your Wedding Guests to Put Away Their Freakin' Phones, to send your guests the right message so that they understand you want them to enjoy your wedding, and not be a vendor at it.

  • Put a note in your wedding program
  • Ask your officiant to make an announcement
  • Ask your DJ or band leader to make an announcement
  • Put a sign on the reception tables

Finally, for close family members that insist they must get pictures on their new camera, assure them they will have access to the photos created by the photographers you hired.

In Conclusion…

We aren’t trying to pick on you, or your guests. We just know setting the right atmosphere with the right tone at your wedding will allow you to focus on being in the moment you spent 6 to 12 months planning. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy it, without getting photobombed.