Unplugged weddings

“What the hell is an unplugged ceremony?” I hear you ask.  “And why should I care?”.

An unplugged ceremony is where you (or your celebrant, normally) asks your guests to take no/less photos & videos during your wedding ceremony.  Like anything in life, you can do an unplugged ceremony in whatever way works for you, but normally it happens in one of two ways;

  1. Your celebrant asks guests not to take any photos or video during your wedding ceremony.
  2. Your celebrant tells guests they are welcome to take photos/video during your wedding ceremony but asks them not to upload anything to social media until you give them the ok.

(Note: If you are planning on having an unplugged wedding it might be advisable to mention this on the invites so guests come fore-warned).

Why do people have unplugged weddings?

I’m going to leave it to David Connolly, Celebrity Wedding Planner, to explain this one.  (He’s not just a wedding planner, he’s a “Celebrity Wedding Planner” so he must know what he’s talking about…).

Take it away David…


What’s my personal take as a professional wedding photographer on unplugged weddings?

In general I have no problem with guests taking photos during the wedding day.  I realise that in general it’s just “how it is” and if I can’t change it I try to use it to my advantage.  For example, if a guest is taking photos of a group of people before/after the ceremony I will often tag in at the end, saying “I’m going to copy your shot – thanks for setting them up for me!”.  This (hopefully) achieves a number of things;

  • I might never have known to put those people together in a photo.  It might not turn out to be an important photo but then again, it might.
  • The people usually look super relaxed, happy and natural because they weren’t “having a photograph professionally taken”, they were just having their photos snapped by a friend or relative and I tagged on at the end.
  • The people who’s photo I’m taking are stoked “the pro” is photographing them as it means there’s a much better chance they get a photo of themselves that is in focus and properly exposed.
  • The person who took the photo is flattered “the pro” is copying their shot.
  • It usually gets everybody laughing and smiling and actually having fun with the photos, which is my top priority and makes for much more natural/beautiful photos.

However, if I’m taking group/family/bridal party photos and one or more guests are snapping away beside me I will tell them to take their photo first, explaining that if we shoot at the same time as each other there will be eyeballs looking in all different directions in the photo.

This lets them get their shot but also makes them realise that their photos slow down the proceedings and do have an impact on the professional photos.  Often-times when I do this the bride and groom or someone else from the bridal party will tell them to “hurry up and get the shot” so we can keep going with the professional photos.

Anyway, I’m going to let Kathryn Omond, Queenstown Wedding Celebrant explain about Unplugged Weddings.  She is a Queenstown Wedding Celebrant and a big fan of unplugged weddings (as am I) so she can explain it far better than I ever could.  Here are some tips from Kathryn on how to pull off an unplugged wedding ceremony.   I’ve also included a (rather depressing, if I’m honest) article that Kathryn sent me from an Ohio wedding photographer called Corey Ann about unplugged weddings and photography.  (Or perhaps we should call it “101 things that could go wrong if you don’t have an unplugged wedding”?  While Corey Ann does raise very valid points, I don’t encounter anywhere near as many issues with guest photographers as she does it would seem, so my view is a bit more tolerant I suppose).

Right, here are the goods courtesy of Kathryn Omond…

How_to_have_an_unplugged_wedding Unplugged_weddings_by_Kathryn_Omonda_Queenstown_wedding_celebrant Unplugged_weddings_uncle_bob_photographers


Author Details

Patrick Fallon

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