Ask the Experts: Reasons to have an Uplugged Wedding, from James and Lianne

This afternoon we have another fabulous edition of Ask the Experts and James & Lianne are here as resident photography experts to talk about unplugged weddings! As technology, smart phones and tablets have taken off over the past few years, this is something we are seeing more and more of! Here on the blog we have found unplugged weddings to be quite the talking point, and has raised quite a few discussions over the past few years. James and Lianne make quite a few very valid points, so we would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Have you had an unplugged wedding? or are you planning one? We would love you to join in the discussion.

Ask the Experts: Reasons to have an Uplugged Wedding, from James and Lianne

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Unplugged weddings – it says it on the tin, weddings without the distraction of modern gadgets. No phones, no iPads, just all your guests attention on you. Perhaps a little self-indulgent, maybe a tad narcissistic, and a slight whiff of bridezillaism? Telling your guests what they can and can’t do seems like you could be killing the fun but there’s perfectly good reasons and benefits to being a bit of a diva.

Ask the Experts: Reasons to have an Uplugged Wedding, from James and Lianne

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#1: Keeping your guests ‘in the present’.

It’s nice for your family and friends to actually witness your wedding, enjoy the speeches and just have their attention during the day. If they’re busy trying to decide whether Valencia or Juno would be a better filter for that photo they took of you from the very back of the church, they may as well not even be there.

#2: You’ve hired a professional photographer.

As professional photographers ourselves, we know that many of our couples value the photos their guests took, at least to begin with. They’re uploaded instantly and you can see them immediately. But, the vast majority of those photos are just what the professionals took but from a worse angle… at a more unflattering moment… and then a filter applied… and they’re just nowhere near as good. Then we, the pros, get you a few previews up within a day or so and then you’ve got the whole gallery within a few weeks making those photos your work friend took of you eating a miniature Yorkshire pudding during the drinks reception seem less flattering. You’ve paid someone to do the job properly, tell your guests to enjoy themselves, party and scoff canapes. You don’t need their bad photos!

Ask the Experts: Reasons to have an Uplugged Wedding, from James and Lianne

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#3: Phones are a distraction

Not in the sense of the day to day distraction but come family group photos time, they can be a real pain. We know the drill, we’ll get together for some quick family shots and then your Uncle Bob is stood behind us with his phone trying to take a photo over our shoulder. We get it, it’s cool. We’re even happy for you to do it and we even make sure you get the photo you wanted. What we don’t want is half the family looking at our camera and the other half looking at his. And lets face it, he chose Reyes when he really should’ve chosen Clarendon!

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#4: They get in the way.

Literally. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re walking down the aisle together for the very first time as husband and wife. It’s a rush and nothing can replicate that feeling. As your photographers we want to capture that emotional, ecstatic moment. Ooops sorry, your mate’s plus one just leaned in the aisle to take a wonky blurry photo on her phone and blocked us from capturing that moment completely. Oh well, at least she got the moment, I’m sure it’ll be just as good as the professionals photo.

#5: They REALLY get in the way.

Picture this: your first dance, everyone you know and love surrounding the dancefloor ready to witness this lovely little tradition. Your mum beaming away just behind you watching you dancing with your knew partner… except, we can only assume she is, instead all we can see is an Apple logo where he face used to be. Tablets are the worst, but phones are a close second and always end up covering the reactions we’d love to be capturing and I’m sure you’d love to remember.

Ask the Experts: Reasons to have an Uplugged Wedding, from James and Lianne

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#6: You like a bit of a surprise.

Slightly more pragmatic; you’d like there to be an element of surprise for your evening guests. Keeping you guests from instagramming all their photos of you spoils the surprise for them of seeing the wedding dress or the cake for example.

Ultimately, the choice is an entirely personal one whether to have an unplugged wedding or not. It depends on how much you value the photos they may capture and if you’re really bothered about them being ‘in the present’ with you. But importantly, if you trust in your photographer to capture all these moments and more and do it with a skill unmatched by your guests, you know you can safely tell your guest to put their phones down and enjoy themselves. It makes for much better photos if they do.



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James & Lianne have been a couple for 14 years and photographers for 6 scooping up awards along the way. They love shooting relaxed, fun weddings and have a penchant for all things analogue, especially film photography.

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    We got married on the 2nd September and chose to have an unplugged ceremony – we also politely requested that guests didn’t share photos via social media until we had, (we felt it was our news to share first.) The hardest thing was finding a non pretentious way of wording this request! We have been together for 15 years and felt strongly that (for us) the ceremony was a really intimate and private part of our day that we only wanted to share with our nearest and dearest. We also felt it was a special thing for us to be able to see our guests faces and not the lens of a camera or back of a phone/tablet! All of our guests respected our wishes and understood our reasons for choosing to do it this way. I was worried about offending people but soon realised that the people who are at your wedding all love you and want to make it the day you want it to be. Everybody is different though so it is a personal choice, but we were confident that choosing and paying a high price for a fantastic photographer and videographer would mean that they were the ones that would capture all the moments of the day that we wanted. That way our guests could be fully present with us for the special bits!


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