I’m sure you’ve heard of it, possibly even thought about it, but perhaps aren’t sure how/why to execute it?

I’m talking about an unplugged ceremony. 

Sure, I’m a wedding photographer. You're not surprised that I am preaching it’s importance, right? I have dodged the guests who hang into the aisle, I have cropped images tight to remove lit up screens, and I have even had guests (yep, plural) ask me how to use THEIR camera while I am standing ready, minutes before Grandma is escorted down the aisle. 

While it is so true that I made this decision with my own wedding photographer in mind, I didn’t realize the impact it would have on me as a bride.

First, let me take you through my walk down the aisle. I’m standing in my ivory dress, one hand gripped tight around my bouquet and the other locked onto my dad’s arm. I step into the church, but before the second set of doors open I can see all the way inside to the pews full of people standing and looking back in anticipation. As our ushers pulled the doors open, my eyes locked onto Ryan. This was it.

We made our way down the aisle (a little too fast), and the only things that distracted (if you want to call it that) my gaze from Ryan were faces smiling back at me, as I glanced around trying to soak in every bit of that moment while also fighting back a wave of emotion. You know what I didn’t see? Screens. Phones. Cameras. 23473 Flashes. My guests being fully present in that moment, allowed ME to be fully present in. that. moment.

With my guests still in mind, let’s step into their shoes. We invited those particular people to fill the church because they impacted Ryan and I in some way. I value their presence so much more than the dark, blurry church photo that they might post on Facebook later. Even more importantly, I thought about my MOM. It would break my heart to know that my own mother didn’t get to see our entire walk down the aisle because some guest was hanging out of their pew. This moment is short, fast, and only happens once so I left the documenting to the hired professionals.

After the wedding, as expected, we received our beautiful, screen-less, uninterrupted, real, in the moment photos from our wedding photographer. But, just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…we received our wedding video. As Ryan and I sat on the couch laughing, crying, and laughing until we cried some more—it hit me. I pressed pause mid-ceremony and said to him, “you know what you don’t see?! GUESTS TAKING PICTURES!” Imagine how different everything would look if guests were looking at their screens during our vows, raising their cameras while we exchanged rings, and firing flashes as we were announced. It’s not just the bride’s walk down the aisle that is interfered, it could be the entire thing! I’m not sure about you, but years from now, I am not going to be showing off my Facebook newsfeed. I’m going to be laying our wedding album in someone’s lap or reliving the day with them through our wedding video.

I am so grateful that what we remember, along with the documented moments that we get to share for generations, are all present, authentic and undistracted.