Ok, let’s be honest, I am always the photographer and never the guest at weddings. In my career, I have actually had to create a rule that I will no longer photograph the weddings for my dear friends. This is because I want to celebrate this joyous occasion WITH them and not in a professional capacity---and because I can refer several other photogs in the area whom I adore (community over competition people)!!! Last year, it finally happened! I received a real invitation. It was finally my turn to get all gussied up, wear heels and witness two sweet souls dedicate their lives to one another from a seat amongst the guests, and not through a viewfinder.
Oh my gosh, being the guest is such an honor, a privilege and my heart was just bursting with joy for the bride and groom! I sat there, no camera in hand, and waited for my gorgeous friend to walk down the aisle. It was then that my husband whispered in my ear, “Babe…look at all the dang cell phones in the middle of the aisle. Does this ALWAYS happen?” And the answer…well yes, yes it does. I actually hardly noticed because I have become a tad numb to the entire scene.
Each and every wedding guest is so excited---and many times this overwhelming excitement manifests itself through an over abundance of picture taking, status updating, tweeting and snapping! Trust me, I am all for some social media love---I love my IG feed (@jessicaromanphoto) and SnapChat (@jessicaroman33) might just be my new favorite obsession…but there is a time and a place for both—and when two individuals are exchanging the most sacred of vows is not one of them.
An "unplugged ceremony" is when guests are asked to refrain from using cell phones, tablets, cameras and video equipment during the wedding. I have had clients in the past opt for this type of ceremony, which of course being slightly ego-centric as I am, I figured it was to allow me the freedom to move around and take interference free photos. It wasn’t until after I experienced a "plugged in" wedding from the reverse side, as a guest of the bride and groom, did I realize what a bigger opportunity this presented!
Having an "unplugged ceremony" is when individuals invited to share in this special moment to REALLY do just that---share in it! Many guests often forget, that by being there, they themselves become characters in the story that is unfolding---the story I am capturing. When they are present, their reactions, their smiles, their tears and laughter are all being documented and will forever become a part of the bride and groom’s legacy. The aisle is free of video cameras, faces are pointed toward the bride and groom instead of down towards tiny screens, vows are clearly heard without the interference of beeping or buzzing devices, and a deeper connection is experienced between the couple and their most favorite people in the world---the people they chose one by one to celebrate in this once in a lifetime day.
If you are planning a wedding, I strongly encourage you to consider asking your guests to unplug. Not only because it makes the honor of photographing a wedding so much smoother for me, but because on YOUR day, you deserve to be surrounded with joy, excitement, presence, and love. I promise, my photos will be better than “Aunt Helen’s” blurry first kiss picture, I will allow you to share your entire “downloadable” wedding gallery with friends & family, and I will give your guests ample opportunity to "plug in" to capture their own shots during cocktail hour and at the reception---but for the ceremony, trust me. I’ve totally got this. xo