The other day a friend sent me this article* from Today.com about "unplugged weddings." Basically, the idea is to ask guests not to use cameras or smart phones during the wedding, opting instead to allow the professionals to take care of the pictures. Reasons for this suggested in the article include the annoyance to the bride, groom, and other guests, as well as the inconvenience to the photographer. The photographer interviewed makes a strong case for this, and even wrote a blog post showing pictures of guests in the way of her professional photos, as everyone tries to get the perfect shot during the ceremony.
On the other hand, many couples ask guests to post wedding pictures on Instagram using a specific hash tag. Couples enjoy looking at the pictures while waiting for the professional shots to come in, and the shared hash tag can create a sense of community among the wedding guests.
So which should you choose?
I think Emily over at Southern Weddings has a great response to this question, but before we get to that, I have a couple of thoughts.
I have realized in my own life that I am frequently not all the way present in many situations. My mind may be in several different places--I'm listening to one thing while trying to read something else (I'm pretty sure my mom knows when I'm talking on the phone with her and simultaneously trying to read an email)--and I'm not doing anything well.
When we attend a wedding, we are not there to be entertained. We have a special job to do--to witness this union. That role is not to be taken lightly. But when I'm distracted, whether it be by a text message, trying to get the perfect pictures of the bride and groom, or by someone else doing these things, then I am not able to fully perform my task. And beyond that, a wedding is a celebration--for Christians it's a celebration of what Christ has done in redeeming these two people and bringing them together for a mission greater than themselves.
So I love the idea of an unplugged wedding, at least the ceremony. It's a way to free up guests to be fully present and engaged--to truly worship. Yes, it's helpful for the photographer, but even more than that, it's helpful for all of us to take a step away from the constant distractions and the need to preserve a memory, and just be fully there.
Really, I think this is something I need to apply to many other events in life--setting the phone aside and just being fully there.
For practical ways on how to implement this to your wedding, I love the advice of Emily Thomas at Southern Weddings. She presents the value of an unplugged ceremony, and then a community-building hash tag reception. I love this idea, although I think it's tempting to do an unplugged reception too. Either way, be sure to read her expert advice.
*HT: Trillia Newbell
How about you? Would you rather have a collection of photos on Instagram to view, or have an unplugged wedding?