The Unplugged Wedding

In my first act as Bridezilla, I hereby decree that no one shall take photos and post them to social media during our wedding ceremony.

Deal with it.

You’re probably wondering where this is coming from. I’ve been to more than my fair share of weddings in the past few years and am always horrified during that moment when the bride walks down the aisle…to a crush of DSLRs, iPhones & point-and-shoots being shoved into her path.

Wedding Guests taking photos

One wedding photographer I spoke to before writing this piece also shared the most horrifying of new trends in amateur wedding photography: the iPad. If that alone doesn’t convince you of my position, allow me to explain.

My reasons for banning friends & family photography are three-fold.

1. We have a professional photographer for a reason

As described above, more often than not well-meaning guests get in the way of the professional photographers and videographers who are trying so hard to capture every moment for you. While I’m sure the narrative in your head goes something along the lines of “What a special moment! I can’t wait to share it on Instagram – my followers and Steph will love it!”, I can guarantee your well-meaning shot will quickly be a fuel for the bride’s anger when all of her professional pics are marred with glowing iPhones or, worse, washed out by your ‘professional-quality’ flash.

2. Your photography is distracting

Forget the bride & groom and think about the people sitting around and beside you. While you’re angling your selfie arm to get the perfect shot of the first kiss, cousin Nancy behind you is fuming and craning her neck to get a glimpse. Be present, be in the moment and enjoy the wedding ceremony along with everyone else.

3. Guests shouldn’t scoop the newlyweds

Announcing nuptials on social media can be a bit of a touchy subject. While you may find it harmless, the newlyweds may have had a plan for how they wanted to announce it to their friends & family who were unable to attend. Worse: don’t be the bridesmaid who tags a photo of the bride getting into the limo for her ride to the church. Save your social-media-ing for well after the I Do’s and consider content embargoed until cocktail hour.

Toronto blogger Crystal Gibson’s guests captured this shot of their first kiss that she later shared on her personal Instagram account

Before you think I’ve gone off the Bridezilla deep end, hear me out. As an Internet-over-sharer myself, I see the value in having multiple vantage points and memory-creators for the big day. I can’t wait to see the candid shots our guests will capture. Here’s a plan for navigating your big day:

  • Be clear about your expectations: have your officiant share your photo-free wishes with guests before the ceremony begins
  • Give your phone to a trusted wedding guest so they can capture those moments on your behalf (without crowding the aisle) and give you that instant gratification you crave. {Example: Crystal, above, gave her personal phone to a younger, iPhone-savvy cousin and told her to go nuts during the ceremony}
  • Have snap-happy family members or friends who would really love to help capture the day? Connect them with the photographers and help them find vantage points where they won’t be in the way but will still be able to capture great shots.
  • Have a hashtag for the reception + place disposable cameras/polaroids around the venue to encourage guests to share all night long. Make sure guests know your “embargo” is only in place until you leave the ceremony venue.

 At the end of the day, you won’t be able to keep everybody from snapping away. By sharing your wishes, you’re at least cutting down on the number of people who will be waving their phones, DSLRs and iPads in the air on your big day. And, guests – if you must snap pics at a wedding remember to respect the aisle by keeping yourself and your camera out of it at all times and to stay out of the photographer’s way.

How will you deal with would-be photogs on your big day?