Should We Have an Unplugged Wedding?
This question will no doubt evolve as the years go on and tech changes. As of 2019, here’s my take on it.
Have an unplugged ceremony only, the rest is a free for all.
Weddings are emotionally charged (check out When Should I Book My Wedding Photographer? here). Its making a lifelong commitment to an individual whilst in the presence of the people you love most. In all of the billions of people in the world, you two have made a connection that makes sense, and you want to celebrate that. Fantastic.
In order for those emotions to be felt, you need to be able to feel them. Sounds daft to say, but here me out.
By the way, you may find this a very fun and interesting read: We Hate Having Our Picture Taken!
What gets in the way of interacting with the world in front of you? Technology.
The research is clear, phones are addictive. They are designed to be. Did you know silicone valley parents send their kids to tech free schools? They design it, they know how damaging it can be.
When you feel your phone vibrate, you become distracted. Research has found that the brain can be distracted for up to three minutes after your phone has beeped, lit up or vibrated. Its why everyone is now saying to never take your devices into the bedroom or have them on in the car. They affect your concentration, so much so that you cant sleep and that you’re more likely to crash your car.
The correlation is there. Technology is a distraction.
In the context of a wedding, if you’re distracted by a phone, you wont be in the moment, you wont be paying attention. This inhibits emotional reactions and means you’ll miss an opportunity to feel something real, this would be sad.
Reason number two. The pictures are crap.
You’ve hired me to take photographs, so it makes sense that i have the best view. I’m stood at the front, my pictures are going to be ace.
Cousin Dave’s picture from row Z is going to be crap, period. It will exist in the vaults of a devices storage to be erased when he changes phones.
This is feeling a bit ranty…
All i’m trying to say is this. Don’t miss an opportunity to experience something real. Be present in the moment and allow yourself the space to be emotionally vulnerable. Its a beautiful place to be.
Now i know as well as anyone the joys of taking pictures, so denying that from someone feels like an odd recommendation. But it is only for the ceremony
From the point of view of the bride.
You want guests to be paying attention to the moment. Smiling at you, part of your team, celebrating the moment, part of your fan club. If you’re walking down the aisle and you cant see someones face because its obstructed by a phone or even worse an ipad, that’s really impersonal. And you know aunt Mavis hasn’t turned the flash off, so bam!, point blank flash in your eyes – welcome to migraine town.
What would you rather see? Rows of the smiling faces of the people you invited to share in this moment? Or a collection of their phone cases.
From the point of view of the groom.
The people at the back of the room see the bride first, so they get their phone out ti take a picture. The people in the next row cant see, so they lean out a little bit to get a clear shot themselves. Multiply by twenty rows and you cant see the bride walking towards you. One of the most wonderful moments in your life, obstructed by mobile phone screens. What if you couldn’t see each others faces? How frustrating would that be.
How to stop this from happening?
Ask the registrar, vicar, priest, rabbi etc. to announce to the congregation to put their phones away, no pics during the service and please be present with the couple in the moment. Easy solve.