fine art wedding & lifestyle photography

Pulling the plug on the Unplugged Wedding


September 16, 2016


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Have you seen the movie where Catherine Heigl has been a bridesmaid 27 times, but never the bride herself? Well, I’ve photographed over 100 weddings, and in my case, I’m always the photographer, never the bridesmaid. Let’s be honest though, I’m ok with that. 

Ive been debating writing this for a while. There are so many articles out there about having an “Unplugged” wedding and making sure your guests just have fun, especially if you have taken the time to hire a photographer you trust will deliver beautiful images from your wedding day. As a photographer, I understand why such articles are written. I understand the loss of really important shots due to someone putting themselves in front of the photographer (unknowingly), in an attempt to get the perfect picture. 

Let’s clarify: an unplugged wedding is a wedding where guests are told NOT to take any pictures, especially during the ceremony, and are encouraged to just sit back, relax and enjoy the day while the photographer hired by the bride and groom takes all the photos. 

Here’s some sample wording taken from the internet: 

We want you to be able to really enjoy our wedding day, feeling truly present and in the moment with us. We’ve hired an amazing wedding photographer named Poly Mendes who will be capturing the way the wedding looks — and we’re inviting each of you to sit back, relax, and just enjoy how the wedding feels. We’re respectfully asking that everyone consider leaving all cameras and cell phones off. Of course we will happy to share our wedding photos with you afterward!


Back to having shot over 100 weddings, I’ve NEVER lost a moment because of guests. And I’ve only photographed 2 unplugged weddings. Have I elbowed a few guests? Yes. Have I talked to guests BEFORE the ceremony (the ones sitting on the aisle seats) about not getting in front of me so I can make sure to get the shots of the bride walking down the aisle? Yes. Do I constantly have to move quickly during a wedding so moments aren’t missed because of people who also want photos of the bride and groom? Yes, yes and yes. I believe that’s part of my job. 

The truth is I will deliver beautiful images of the entire day. I will photograph the details, the candid moments, the intimate looks, the guests, the signs, the cakes (and cupcakes and macarons and donuts) but I’m ok with guests also taking pictures too. Even during the ceremony. 

I think this became more evident to me when I started dating. My boyfriend’s mom loves to take photos. I went to a wedding with them and as I was sitting next to her she very discretely took photos of the entire ceremony. At no moment was she in the way of the photographer, and she got some beautiful photos the photographer didn’t. And yes, I blame the photographer for this! I do know not all photographers are the same, and not all of them have the same skill level or experience. 

As a future bride myself, I want to be able to look at social media the very night of my wedding, and the next day, and see all the photos that will pop up! So to all my future wedding guests, just be mindful that I do want you to take photos, but that my photographer’s photos weren’t free, so take your picture quickly and please, PLEASE, don’t step on the aisle to get it. Don’t even poke your camera out, just take it from where you are. I love you for caring and for wanting photos of my special day! Let’s compromise! 

I might still be a bridesmaid someday, and I can’t wait to be a bride, but for now, I’ll remain the photographer who’s ok with pulling the plug on the unplugged wedding. 


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