I'll go ahead and start this post out by saying that I'm mildly obsessed with my iPhone. Okay, maybe mildly isn't a fair word. I'm overly obsessed with my iPhone. It's on me nearly 24/7 and if by some odd coincidence I forget to grab it when I leave my house, I feel like I'm missing an arm. What's not to love about being constantly connected, having an answer to almost any question you could think to ask at your fingertips, and the ability to record any given moment within seconds by simply opening a camera app? You can share your child's first steps with friends and family across the globe, check your bank account from virtually anywhere, and sign offers on your dream home, all on this tiny screen. You guys, smart phones are remarkable.
Now that I've got that off my chest, I have to preach against iPhones for a minute.
Over the past few years, we've filmed our fair share of weddings, and constantly run into the same problem. I'm at the front of the ceremony venue, facing back towards the doors when Wagner's march starts playing: "here comes the bride", and I'm all set up to get the perfect shot. All heads are turned towards this beautiful, blushing bride as she locks eyes with the man that will be her husband within 10 minutes. Just as the bride's smile gets even more radiant, an iPad blocks my camera's path. And so it begins. Before the bride makes it halfway down the aisle, I can count 10 cell phones, at least 2 iPads, and several digital cameras, flashing away like Kim Kardashian has just faceplanted on the concrete in front of some swanky LA night club. I notice the photographer's dejected face. Their camera settings were perfectly aligned with the lighting in this venue, but now many of their photos will be washed out by the endless flashes of phones and cameras. My videos and the photographer's photos will be littered with tiny screens that belong to guests that are "enjoying" the ceremony through a screen instead of being truly present for the biggest moment in this couple's life thus far.
Christine's photo above is stunning, but imagine how much more special this image would have been to the bride without the distraction of the camera and cell phone in the background.
I don't mean to bash Uncle Charlie and his iPad, or Grandma that just learned how to use this digital camera she got for Christmas. I swear! Just stick with me on this, okay?
Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of shooting two "unplugged weddings" in Atlanta. These couples made or bought huge signs that they placed in the entrance to their ceremonies, and both read something along the lines of: "Welcome to our UNPLUGGED wedding! We invite you to be fully present with us during our ceremony. Please turn off all cell phones, cameras, and other electronics during the ceremony! Thank you!". I can't describe how happy Mr. Lights Out and I were to see those signs. It meant that our ceremony footage would be free of anything digital: just these couples, so in love, and their nearest and dearest. These ceremonies were by far the most intimate, most romantic, most beautiful ceremonies we've shot in the several years we've been filming weddings. Guests were (albeit somewhat "forced") able to fully appreciate what a momentous occasion this was for the couple, and to totally immerse themselves in the love in the room. The moment capturing was left to the professionals: the people paid the be there that day to do just that. Both couples allowed the electronics to come back out for the reception, so the guests were still able to capture their own memories, and everyone was happier for it!
If you're a bride, you should at least consider the idea of an Unplugged Wedding. I promise, your ceremony films and photos will be so much better for it! Welcome your guests to snap away at the reception, and make or buy signs encouraging them to use your wedding hashtag, so that you can see all the candid shots that your unofficial photographers capture during the reception. I even found a great blog that tells you how to create a custom Snapchat geofilter for your wedding.
Thinking of giving it a go? Check out these etsy shops to get your own Unplugged Wedding sign:
BuffyWeddings offers stunningcustomizable printed signs in several different colletions. BuffyWeddings could be a one stop shop as their collections cover everything from welcome signs, escort cards, table numbers, and even holiday ornaments!