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What are we going to do about mobile phones at weddings?

Wedding Ceremony in Andalucia

The moment came when the wedding planner gave me the sign that the bride had arrived. Gasps of delight rang out as the first of the guests saw her making her entrance. The groom shuffled nervously, hands in front, hands at the back. We looked up to see her make her entrance. What we saw instead was a sea of mobile phones, i-pads, tablets and the like, all thrust out, all encroaching on the aisle way, all interfering with the entrance of the bride. It was not a good look. Nor is it a rare occurrence.

This my friends, is my new wedding pet hate.

Why can’t people just be in the moment?

Wedding Ceremony in Andalucia

Look! Free hands to clap and enjoy the moment! Owen Farrell Photography

When I see people taking photos throughout the ceremony, I ask myself, what will they do with those photos? Are they going to print them out and put them into a photo album? A gift for the couple? No, I don’t think they are. I think these photos will sit on their phones, will get looked at a few times, and then may be transferred to a computer or i-cloud to free up space. They’ll keep some of the ones with them and their friends in and maybe a couple of the newlyweds, but the majority I imagine, will be deleted. Brutal perhaps, but I think it’s the truth. And if that is the case, then why bother to take photos of the ceremony at all?

What has happened to our ability to simply enjoy the moment and be in the present? To listen to this couple’s wonderful declaration of love and commitment, listen to them express themselves and open their hearts for all to see, without the need for capturing these moments on phones and tablets?

Most couples have some form of official photographer. Their memories are being captured, so you don’t need to capture them too. Yes, of course you will want to capture your own memories but do you need to have a photo of the bride walking down the aisle? Of them throughout the ceremony? Of the newlyweds walking back up the aisle? Really? You’ll have plenty of opportunities to take photos with the newlyweds, plenty more times when it’s more appropriate, so why not leave it for then?

I have had couples ask me to remind their guests that there is an official photographer/videographer and that they prefer it if no other photos were taken during the ceremony. Very sad that I even have to say this, but I’m glad that I have done and so is the photographer! When your photographer doesn’t have to squeeze past Uncle Jim who is taking a photo of you on his tablet or spend hours trying to photoshop all the mobile phones from the bridal entrance shots, they will be grateful of your request to have a gadget-free ceremony. There is after all, plenty of time for photos at the reception.

Also, on another note, I do think it is majorly  a little bit disrespectful to the couple in question, who are having this special moment that they have put so much effort into personalising and organising, for guests to be only half engaged, because they are too busy fiddling with the settings on their camera/phone/tablet. Can I get an amen, or not?

On a separate, non-wedding related note, I went whale watching the other day with my little man and big man. We did not take a single photo. It was fantastic. We enjoyed every minute of it and the memory of seeing the pods of whales and dolphins is etched firmly in my mind, because we were truly in the moment. When did we stop being like this?

I would like to think that people might think  for themselves not to take photos during ceremonies, the same way you know it’s not appropriate to talk throughout a ceremony too, but it’s not always the case. And sometimes, a special request is what’s needed. I think guests will love it too. They’ll become nostalgic and remember the good old days; what it is like to sit and enjoy something without needing to take photos and videos of it. What a revelation that will be!

Gadget free ceremonies or not? What do you think?






About the author

Natasha Johnson

Natasha Johnson is an experienced Wedding Celebrant, blogger and writer on all things related to weddings, in particular wedding ceremonies. Her mission is life is to encourage couples to see the importance of their wedding ceremony and to get married in just the way they want to. Make sure you catch her on the Engaged and Ready Wedding Podcast, here or on iTunes and Stitcher.


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