Wouldn’t it be perfect if the moment you take those first steps down the aisle, you look out to see the elated, smiling faces of your loved ones celebrating alongside you, instead of a sea of cameras, phones and iPads staring you down?

One of the best things you can do for your wedding ceremony is to UNPLUG it.

On your wedding day, joy and anticipation will be in the air. Your guests will feel it, and rightly so. We love that sense of excitement and we hope your friends and family capture tons of their own pictures throughout the evening as an outpouring of that joy and love.

When it comes to the ceremony, guests who take photos from their seats aren’t really in danger of hurting your professional photography. That said, photography has gotten so popular, and we always see guests who show up with really wonderful professional cameras of their own. These well-intentioned friends and family might not realize that when they jump into the aisle to capture your first kiss, they’re jumping right in front of our cameras. These moments are fast and fleeting, and by the time we can re-position ourselves, there’s an excellent chance the moment is over.

unplug1

Something else to consider is flash photography. If your guests are using flashes, especially in an indoor setting, it can cause serious problems with our exposures. We’ve exposed our shots based on the amount of light available to us. If a guest fires a flash at the same time we’re clicking our shutter button, they’re going to suddenly introduce a large amount of light that will overexpose our shot, and there’s nothing we can do to recover it.

Other times, we’ve seen over-zealous hobby photographers position themselves right behind the officiant, in the middle of the altar, or surround the groom with cameras during the processional–or in this photo, all three at once. This kind of thing doesn’t just make it difficult for us to deliver great compositions, it can also be a major distraction to your other guests. Unfortunately, it takes the focus off of you, and off of the amazing commitment you’re about to make. In one case, Nathan even had a guest physically lean over him to get the same shot he was getting, and inadvertently knocked him down just before the kiss.

unplug2

Politely asking your guests to unplug for your ceremony is the best way to keep this from happening, and at the same time, it allows your guests to be present with you at your wedding.  We recommend you put something in the program, AND ask your officiant to make an announcement just before the start of the ceremony.

How much you want to unplug is up to you.  Some couples choose to ask guests to leave all cameras, phones, iPads and other devices turned off and in their pockets for the ceremony.  Others ask merely that  guests stay in their seats and don’t come into the aisles or altar areas.  Here are some great actual examples we’ve seen of how you can ask your guests to unplug.

unplug_0012

unplug3

Thank you so much for joining us in the celebration of our marriage today.  As our guests, we would love to offer you the chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy our wedding.  We’ve hired an incredible professional photographer to capture every moment of today’s ceremony, and we promise to share those photos with you.  We ask that you please refrain from taking photos during our ceremony today.   Thank you!

  “We want you to be able to relax and have fun with us today! With this in mind, we invite you to put down all your favorite 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.

Welcome to our unplugged wedding.  We invite you to be fully present with us during the ceremony.  Please turn off all phones, cameras, and other devices.  Thank You.”

The bride and groom have asked that you share in their wedding fully and not through the lens of a camera or cell phone.”

Thanks for being here today!  We can’t wait to see all the photographs you’re going to take of our wedding.  However we ask that during our ceremony, you please turn off your flash, and remain in your seat when taking photographs, and keep the altar and aisle clear.”

We are so glad you are celebrating with us today!  We invite you to take many, many photos today and share them later on.  However, we’ve got photography for the ceremony covered.  We respectfully ask that you turn off all cameras and devices and refrain from using them during our ceremony.  Thank you!

If you want to read the perspective of an internationally acclaimed wedding photographer, with some examples of what flash photography can do to your professional photographs, check out this story at the Huffington Post.

And here’s another great perspective from the Offbeat Bride

Thanks to the Offbeat Bride for providing some of the really great wording suggestions.