Your wedding photography services are a big investment, generally costing thousands of dollars. There's nothing more frustrating as a bride to get your photos back from your professional photographer, which you intend on looking at for the rest of your life, and they are overwhelmed with cell phones shoved in your guests' faces, hanging out in the aisle, or obstructing big moments - like your first kiss!
As a professional wedding photographer, I get it and I'm with you. I'm frustrated, too. The work I produce is art and there's nothing more disappointing than going in for the perfect shot and your cousin's, friend's, Aunt Susie jumps in front of me, in the middle of the aisle, to grab a photo that she will never do anything more than post to her Facebook page to be lost forever.
When "unplugged ceremonies" became a thing, the photographer in me started jumping up and down. As a bride, though, it can be hard to navigate this with your guests. Below are some steps and even FREE DOWNLOADS on how to effectively communicate to your guests the desire to have them fully present on the biggest day of your life.
Invitation Suite Insert
Set the precedent from the moment they receive news of their invitation to celebrate the day with you. You can have your designer include a small insert to include with your suite when mailing to your guests to let them know what to expect when they arrive.
If you have set up a wedding website, it's a good idea to include a section about your expectations for your guests during the ceremony. Make it personal! Say something like this --
"We are so excited to celebrate our wedding day with you. Our only requirement of you is to be fully present during our ceremony. We are asking that you put away all phones and cameras during the ceremony and enjoy our unity naturally. Our photographer will capture everything and we promise to share these images with you."
Having a "Welcome to Our Unplugged Ceremony" sign at the guest entrance sends a gentle reminder to your guests to keep their phones in hiding during the ceremony. This adds an accountability factor - no one wants to be that person, the one who ignores super obvious signs.
You can download one of our FREE signs below and you can get one printed very affordably with great quality through Vistaprint. We recommend a 16x20 sign displayed on an easel.
Downloads are in order as they appear above.
Ask for Help
Ask your photographer & coordinator to support your wishes by gently reminding guests to put their phones away during the ceremony. This is not something I, personally, will enforce without permission from the bride. At your couple's meeting before your wedding, be sure to let your photographer or coordinator know she has permission to enforce your wishes.
I sure hope these steps help you achieve the unplugged ceremony you are hoping for on your wedding day. Your wedding photographer appreciates you and is happy to help you get the most out of your wedding photos.