Some couples encourage guests to take photos at their wedding – providing as many perspectives of the big day as possible – while others ask their guests to unplug and leave the photography to the professionals. If you're leaning towards the latter, here are some polite ways to tell your guests, 'no photos please!'
What is an unplugged wedding ceremony?
An unplugged ceremony is a wedding ceremony in which only the professional photographer is allowed to take photos. Guests are asked to switch their phones off and refrain from taking photos or videos during the ceremony.
Guests have always taken photos at weddings, and in the past disposable cameras on wedding tables have encouraged guests to get snap-happy. However, huge advances in technology – including low-cost professional camera equipment and high-spec cameras on mobile phones – have meant that many guests now view the entire wedding through a camera lens.
While some couples embrace the trend for guest photography, asking guests to send them their photos and to share them on social networks, others feel that because they've paid a professional to take the wedding photos guests should put their cameras away. There is a growing trend for 'unplugged' weddings where guests are asked not to use cameras or mobile phones.
The benefits of an unplugged wedding ceremony
Guest photography is something that professional wedding photographers struggle with on a regular basis. They often find that guests get in the way of key shots, particularly during the ceremony where photographers are limited as to where they can set up and a guest stepping into the aisle to take a photo can totally block those important moments.
Guests taking pictures over the photographer's shoulder when they are arranging group shots can be distracting for the people in the photo as they don't know which camera to look at. Finally, the flashes from guest cameras can ruin the professional photos, especially when the bride is wearing traditional white.
Ruining the wedding photos isn't the only reason that some couples are opting for an unplugged ceremony, and asking their guests to refrain from taking pictures. They also want the guests to enjoy the day through their own eyes. When the bride walks down the aisle she wants to see the smiling, joyful faces of friends and family, not rows and rows of smartphones and camera lenses.
Of course, you have intermediate options. In my point of view, during the ceremony and the group pictures is better to ask the guests to don't take pictures. They will have professional pictures of all the wedding and the photographer will do his or her job much better. During the dinner or at the party, pictures of the guest could be a great source of other points of view but if you planned the photography for the day is absolutely not needed.
How to tell to the guest that you want an unplugged wedding?
There are a lot of ways to do it. Some couples, add a small note on the invitation card, explaining to the guests that they want an unplugged wedding. could be something like:
"We want you to be able to relax and have fun with us at our wedding day! This in mind, we invite you to put down all your devices and just be present in the moment with us. Please leave your camera in your bag (we've got photography covered!), and put your cell phone on mute (we promise they'll call back!).
We're happy to share our professional wedding photos later, but the greatest gift you can give us today is just being fully here with us in this sacred and special moment."The couple
Other couples ask to the officiants to said a few words before the ceremony:
"I 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 you prefer to be less intrusive, you can display a note at the entrance of the venue. The following examples could be a good inspiration:
Is a good idea an unplugged wedding?
Some couples will want the guests to take a lot of pictures to have more images of the day and will not care about the quality over the quantity. Others will bet at 100% for an unplugged wedding and encourage the family and friends to enjoy the wedding more than focus on make a picture or a selfie with the mobile.
Of course, you can't force anybody to do or not do pictures, but I think that an unplugged wedding is a way to make everybody enjoy the day more. As probably you know, we offer an incredible gallery that you can share with all the guest and where they can download and share all the pictures. for the unplugged weddings, we promise to give a small selection of the most significative moments of the day even faster as usual around a couple of days after the celebration.