Having officiated over 900 wedding ceremonies, I can tell you that even when my couples request an unplugged wedding ceremony (a ceremony in which everyone enjoys the moment and doesn’t take pictures or videos), at least 2 or 3 people are taking pictures and video. Yes, they try to be stealthier in their use of their mobile device or camera yet, they still are not honoring the couples request. A request made on the couple’s special day… one of those days where people should honor such a request.
So, why do friends and family dismiss this particular request on the wedding day? Well, from the best that I can tell, it is a little bit of the I am being helpful mentality combined with the need to share the coolest stuff, and be the first to share it, on social media. The helpful part I can partially understand, having created love + laughter + community digital wedding time capsules. This is where the friends and family try to be helpful by attempting to capture genuine and personal moments that might be missed by the professional wedding photographer or videographer, or they hope to capture the moment from a different angle or in a different way. And although part of the reason we created the digital wedding time capsule was so the couple’s community can upload the genuine and meaningful moments they captured during the wedding, the moments that the couple will love getting to relive when they see them on a special day in the future. We are in no way advocating that you go against the wishes of the couple on their wedding day :-).
In the case where the couple asks for an unplugged ceremony, the couple’s community can still capture plenty of the love and laughter moments, before and after the ceremony. Friends and family can not only capture special moments like the first dance, the funny and loving toasts, and the loving moments between the couple that happen throughout the entire wedding, they also can create some memories that the couple will love experiencing in the future. Could record a video message, or record a video message of someone else (e.g. grandma telling a story), or could even do some crazy group shots in and among the celebration. Trust me when I say that entire day will fly by for the couple and although there will be memories that stick in their mind, those captured moments are what they will relive in the years to come. Whether it is a special anniversary, or on any other day, the couple will want to experience as much of the beauty and fun of their wedding all over again.
Which leads me to the other reason wedding guests take pictures and video during an unplugged ceremony. From what I can tell, it is to be the first, and maybe only one to post and share a particular moment to social media. Could be the bride looking deeply into her groom’s eyes, could be a tear rolling down the groom’s cheek, or could definitely be the kiss moment. I also do understand this reason since many of us want to contribute to the couple’s experience of their big day by capturing those moments, and capturing them in maybe a not so perfect, but much more personal way, than the professionals hired by the couple. However, similar to the first reason, I prefer that the guests respect the couple’s wishes by keeping the phones, tablets, and cameras away during the ceremony. Take and post to Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook the many pictures and videos that were taken before and after the ceremony… there will be plenty of love and laughter to capture throughout the day.
There was one other thing I did want to mention when it comes to social media and a couple’s wedding memories. And it is that the couple and their community should consider those memories to be “short term”. What I mean by short term is that, from my experience, wedding pictures and videos that are uploaded to social media get to be harder to find and thus harder to re-experience within a very short time frame. It might be because of a hashtag that is used by many other couples, it might be because the couple’s feed is showing them new stuff at a rapid pace, it might be because the algorithm of the particular platform would rather show the couple ads than their captured wedding moments.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being on social media and getting to share moments I captured, and experience moments others captured. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. are perfect for almost instantaneously sharing of those genuine and meaningful wedding moments, pretty much as they happen. And for the couple, it allows them to experience a large number of special wedding moments again, along with some special moments for the first time. Just need to understand that those platforms are not meant for long term storage or easy recall. Thus, the special wedding moments captures and shared on social media should also be collected and stored somewhere for the long term. Could be in a scrapbook or on a backed up hard drive or, a love + laughter + community time capsule which was designed to make collecting and storing all those precious captured wedding memories easier.