Smartphones at weddings: Are shutterbugs ruining the couple’s big day?

‘Unplugged weddings’ becoming more popular when tying the knot.

It’s pretty common to see people pulling out their smartphones and tablets at wedding ceremonies these days —​ capturing every moment on camera.

More and more Calgary photographers and brides are asking guests to unplug. The goal of these so-called “unplugged weddings” is to have all guests turn off their technology during the ceremony.

  • What do you think of unplugged weddings? Is it fair to ask guests to put away their cameras, smartphones and tablets? Let us know in the comment section below.

Mark Shannon, the owner of Mark Eleven Photography in Calgary, says there are several reasons why.

Unplugged Weddings

Signs were posted just outside the doors of Anna Vilaysane’s wedding ceremony that said, ‘There’s a guy here taking photos. We asked him to come. So please rest your cameras. Our ceremony only needs one.’ (Andras Schram Photography)

One is to keep the coast clear for a professional wedding photographer, who is paid thousands of dollars to capture the day. Shannon says it can be tough to do his job when there’s a sea of moving iPhones in his way — and sometimes they can actually ruin a picture.

“The one particular shot where the bride had the best expression and the groom had the best expression happened to have a full person’s arm — from elbow to hand — with an iPhone on the end of it right in the middle of her dress, right in the middle of her bouquet,” he said, adding he ended up photoshopping the guest out.

Privacy concerns

Another reason is privacy, as not everyone wants to share their wedding day with the world — and their reasons for that can be quite serious.

‘Because everything is online now, they don’t want certain people to see that there was another wedding happening.’–  Calgary photographer Andras Schram

“Some people have their second marriages, and they might have had issues in the past with their former partners — you know, one of them were coming from more of an abusive relationship,” said Calgary photographer Andras Schram.

“Because everything is online now, they don’t want certain people to see that there was another wedding happening, there was another marriage, there was happiness happening again in their lives.”

When that’s the situation, Schram says the bride and groom will ask the officiant to step in and make an announcement before the ceremony.

But it can also be distracting for the bride, many of whom say they want their guests to be really “present” during the ceremony.

‘She wasn’t mortified’

“She was so into wanting to capture the bride that she didn’t even realize she had knocked over a glass vase with a  whole bunch glass pebbles in it — and it literally just flew into the aisle everywhere,” said Anna Vilaysane about one Calgary wedding she attended.

Unplugged weddings

Anna Vilaysane made a flag for her three-year-old ring bearer to walk down the aisle. It asked all the guests to power down their cameras for the ceremony. (Andras Schram Photography)

“She just kept snapping pictures. She didn’t even bother to try and clean it up. She wasn’t mortified. She just kept going and snapping pictures and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness.'”

Vilaysan said that’s when she knew she wanted her own wedding to be unplugged, and worked hard to make that happen when she tied the knot this past August.

Signs were posted just outside the doors of where her wedding ceremony was held that said, “There’s a guy here taking photos. We asked him to come. So please rest your cameras. Our ceremony only needs one.”

And just to make sure everyone got the memo, because Vilaysane had guests who didn’t read English, she made a flag for her three-year-old ring bearer. He carried it down the aisle just before her grand entrance.

Not all guests looking to unplug

The flag said “Please unplug for the ceremony” with a camera crossed out.

Vilaysane says it definitely cut down on the amount of bodies and arms leaning into the aisle, but it didn’t stop one guest from filming the entire ceremony.

‘Wedding guests spend a lot of money to be there.’– Calgary wedding planner​ Lynn Fletcher

“We had actually received a video maybe a week after our wedding of a guest who had taken a video of our entire ceremony and had his camera on one of our stands, like our centre pieces,” said Vilaysane.

“I thought it was funny. But we also could see a guest across the aisle had his camera out and he was itching to use it.”

So not all guests are thrilled about being told not to use their cameras.

“Wedding guests spend a lot of money to be there. They spend money on gifts, travel, accommodations. They want to celebrate in their own way,” said Calgary wedding planner​ Lynn Fletcher.

Others welcome technology, hashtags

“And for many people, celebrating in their own way is by taking pictures and sharing it online. That’s how people communicate now-a-days. So to prevent people from actually communicating the way they want to when they’re excited is, I don’t know if harsh is the word, but it’s a little bit contrived in the fact that they actually have to wait to see those photos. A lot of people don’t want to have to wait.”

She doesn’t think it’s completely fair to ban guests from taking photos. She believes the bride and groom should embrace technology.

She advises letting wedding guests take as many photos as they want and get them to post on Twitter and Instragram with the bride and groom’s wedding hashtag.

Fletcher says the wedding photographer can’t be everywhere all the time, and often it’s the guests who capture some of the most magical moments.

Thinking of Cutting Video? Read this first.

Yes, photos are fabulous, but video captures things that photos cannot — like your father’s speech, your first dance song, and your maid of honor’s toast.

It’s not what you think

Throw out the idea that a wedding videographer means lights-camera-action in your face all night. Today’s videographers embrace a more documentary style of filming, meaning you might not even notice them — until they’re handing you a stunning video of your day. Video can also be taken in a variety of styles, from vintage Super 8mm film to high-def.

Video captures the in-between moments

Yes, your photographer will get both posed and candid shots, but for everything in between, you need a videographer. And since there’s no posing (you just keep enjoying the party!), you won’t have to worry about looking stiff or awkward on film.

Videography lets you experiment with style

You want your wedding photos to be timeless (they’re going to be displayed in your home for years to come), but your wedding video can be a little trendier while still looking classic. Try out hip videography styles, like vintage Super 8mm film or high-def wedding trailers for a creative look.

Video means sound

It’s an obvious one, but video captures audible moments, such as your mother’s tearful words of wisdom as she helps you with your veil, your father’s reaction to seeing you in your dress, or your grandmother’s laugh as she dances with your grandfather. These are the memories you’ll cherish long after your dearest relatives have passed, and a wedding video will preserve them forever. And whether you write your own or go traditional, there’s no other way to document your vow exchange. Video can also capture important reception moments, such as toasts and songs for you to share with your family in the future.

Wedding videos aren’t hour-long sagas

Banish the idea of a wedding video that plays out like a boring slideshow. Same-day edits are one of the hottest trends in wedding videography. Your videographer can capture the highlights as the bride and groom get ready and even include footage from the ceremony to be played at the reception. Guests will love the behind-the-scenes look as you and your groom prepare for your big moment. Or you can incorporate video into your save-the-dates, engagement announcements, or even as a way to welcome your guests to the wedding destination.

— Justine Lorelle Blanchard

Read more: Thinking of Cutting Video? Read this first – Wedding Videography

Wedding Videography: 4 Hot Wedding Videography Trends


Indie Documentaries

While the technological side of wedding videography has come a long way over the last few years, the advances in style have been just as impressive. A growing number of filmmakers have applied their skills to wedding videography, with the finished product reflecting the quality of an independent film. The idea isn’t just to tell the story of your wedding day, but to portray the characters — the conversations, reactions, and moods — in hopes of giving the viewer a sense of the wedding beyond the typical footage. When creating a film with this style, videographers spend more time in the editing room (which, in turn, means the process is likely more costly), but the payoff is in the product: A wedding video even your friends will want to watch again.

The 3-D Photo Montage Show

This concept has become widely available in wedding photography packages. Still images, which are generally taken before the wedding day, are digitally manipulated to appear three-dimensional—special effects and music can be added as well. The finished product is a movie that can be played throughout your reception and will become a one-of-a-kind keepsake. Because this technique requires a significant amount of editing time, couples tend to use pictures taken throughout their lives, not shots from the actual ceremony. “They’re popular to play on the wedding day for an extra wow factor,” says Adam Forgione, owner of Pennylane Productions in Commack, New York. “Keep in mind that it requires many hours of editing and, because of that, it can be more expensive.” That said, if you’re looking for a bit of entertainment that will awe your wedding guests, this could prove to be well worth the money.

Wedding Trailers

This intentionally dramatic spin on the typical highlight reel serves as a preview of your wedding video. Picture a roaring epic movie score, special editing effects, and maybe a voiceover. “The trailer is usually done a few weeks after the wedding,” says Forgione. “It has a more intense style than a highlight reel, and it’s designed to make you want to see more.” Think of it as a teaser to show family and friends while waiting for your full-length video. Every videographer’s style is different, but the idea is to share a glimpse of some emotional moments without giving them away. (Visualize your lips almost touching, then a fade to black.)”After the wedding, if the bride and groom want to show off their trailer, they can create a link online to send to friends and family or put on their thank-you cards,” says Forgione.

Trash the Dress

The wedding is over and now you have a gown you’ll likely never wear again hanging in your closet. Giving it to a local charity that supports low-income brides is a wonderful gesture, but if you’ve been dying to let off some of the steam that built up in the planning stages, consider a “Trash the Dress” video. Brides jump in a puddle of mud, let kids put their sticky little hands all over it, or rip it to shreds with their friends—this video is all about having fun. While it’s not a necessary piece of wedding memorabilia, it could be one of your favorite keepsakes.

Special thanks Naomi Raiselle, GENERATIONS videostories

Read more: Wedding Videography: 4 Hot Wedding Videography Trends –

Thinking of skipping the videographer for your wedding? Read this first!

Yes, you need a wedding video – Thinking of skipping the videographer? Read this first!

by JAIMIE DALESSIO (as featured in The Knot magazine)

If you’re thinking it’s an optional extra, or that hiring a photographer and a videographer is overkill, you need to reconsider. Many brides list skipping the video as their number-one regret. Still think it’s a maybe? Do yourself (and your future kids) a favor and read on to see why we say a wedding video is a must.

a video will catch what you miss…

Inevitably, there will be parts of your wedding day that you won’t get to see, like your guests’ reactions to your first dance, your parents’ faces during the ceremony or how nervous your groom looked while he waited to see you for the first time. That’s part of the reason you’re hiring professionals to document it all – so you don’t miss a moment of the day you worked so hard to plan, right? Well, some missed moments may not mean much (or make much sense) from just a photo, but a video can help bring them back to life and put them into context.

…and things photos can’t

A video can capture moments in a completely different way than a photo can (think: your dress moving as you walk down the aisle, or your 90-year-old nana getting down on the dance floor). It will also pick up conversations you’ll want to remember, like your sister’s toast or your dad’s speech. The video is really a behind-the-scenes look at your wedding photos, which will show you two laughing after posing for a kiss or your bridesmaids doing a happy dance when the portrait session (finally!) ends. So when it comes to documenting your day, don’t think of photography and videography as one or the other. Think of the two as a team. And for best results, choose a photographer and videographer who are willing to work together or, better yet, have worked together before, so their end products complement each other.

today’s videos are party-friendly

Forget the image of a big clunky camera, bright blinding lights and photo montages set to cheesy music. Today’s videographers are pros at making you (and your guests) feel comfortable – working with smaller cameras that allow them to blend into the crowd – so you and your guests can act natural in front of the lens.

they’re now viewer-friendly too…

Wedding videos have gotten shorter (and in case there was any question, that’s a good thing). As much as you’ll want to relive your wedding day, trust us, even the two of you won’t want to watch the entire five –hour play-by-play more than a few times (if that). Enter the highlight reel: a 15- to 30-minute flick that includes – yep, you guessed it – highlights from your wedding day. If you still want a record of every single minute of your wedding just to have (even if you never watch it), ask your videographer to include a video with all the raw footage (awkward toasts and all) separate from your wedding movie containing the highlights of the day. And for a version even your coworkers and little brother will sit through, there’s the wedding trailer, a three- to five-minute long mini motion picture that wraps up the entire day in one pretty (little) package that’s designed for sharing. Bonus: Wedding trailers make great keepsakes for your wedding party and families.

…and easier to share…

Before your honeymoon’s even over, everyone will be asking to see pictures from the wedding. But that doesn’t mean they want to see all 2,978 shots your photographer snapped (not even your mom cares that much). Listen, we’re sure your photos will be a-maz-ing, but your friends are just going to skim them before skipping to the party pics (you know, the ones that they’re in). Save them the hassle and just send everyone a link to a short but sweet wedding trailer with all the day’s highlights (including the groomsmen singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” into pretend microphones).

…right then and there

Take advantage of your captive audience and show the trailer during your reception. Yep, that’s right: Same-day edits mean you can watch your wedding video at your wedding – something many couples are choosing to do. How does it work? Well, your videographer cuts a highlight reel of the day so far (think: both of you getting ready, scenes from the ceremony and your first few moments as a married couple) during the lull between the ceremony and the reception. Then, during dinner, you can watch it with your guests.

your video is really a movie…

The new breed of videographers is taking wedding videos to a completely new level. They’re essentially filmmakers who want to capture the day and your personalities in order to tell your wedding story. Similar to how your photographer will Photoshop and retouch your photos to look magazine-worthy, your videographer will cut and edit your video to make scenes flow together like a real movie. Except, unlike Hollywood, this love story is real, and it’s yours. (It’s also probably the only time someone is going to make a movie about you two, so take advantage.)

…that you can personalize

You can make your video as individual as the rest of your wedding and be as involved (or uninvolved) as you were with your wedding planning. Think about what parts of the day you want (and don’t want) to include, and don’t be afraid to give your videographer as much direction as you’d like,, whether that means choosing your favorite songs to play in the background or sitting in during the editing process. Look for a videographer who will work with your vision, but remember to stay open-minded and listen to his suggestions – that’s why you’re paying for a professional (not your wannabe-director cousin). So if he says a song won’t work with the style of your video, you may want to take his word for it.

oh, and it’s a pretty cool keepsake

Chances are you’ve seen photos from your parents’ or even grandparents’ weddings, but what about the videos? If you’re lucky enough to have caught even a few seconds of footage, you’ll probably agree – it’s priceless. Being able to see facial expressions and hear voices takes nostalgia to a whole new level. The reality is, your wedding day is going to fly by. Having videos to relive all of the moments (and show your kids one day) is an experience most couples will say is worth every penny. captures life’s important moments.



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