I’d wager that every single one of your guests has a tiny wedding photograph killing machine in their pocket. The cell phone.
What is an offline wedding?
As the name suggests, the offline wedding is a wedding that is disconnected from the outside world. No cameras, no Facebook, no Instagram, no Snapchat, no selfies. Some offline weddings allow phones to be used during the reception, but aren’t allowed during the ceremony. Most offline weddings restrict the use of phones and cameras both during the reception and ceremony as well.
Full disclosure, this article was written by a photographer. Maybe you can guess my vocational reasons for pushing offline weddings, but I’ll outline a few reasons for you here. The main takeaway: An offline wedding helps to direct attendees’ focus to the present moment and to the happy couple.
Enjoyment and Respect
The couple invites guests to their wedding to be present. To witness one of the defining moments in their lives. These moments are not for likes or views, they are for memories. Attending a wedding is a way of saying ‘I care.’
A phone is a communication tool, a work tool, a diversion to get out of awkward social interactions, entertainment, a journal, your ticket to becoming a Pokemon master, but at the end of the day, staring at a phone during an important moment is a way of saying ‘I care about something else.’ Asking your guests to be present is okay.
Offline weddings avoid awkward photo ops. Often, attendees at a wedding will have diverse backgrounds and history, sometimes with other guests. Not all of them want to have their pictures taken together, or at all. The event photographer has likely gone over these important items. An offline wedding ensures that guests are not assuming the role of photographer, running the risk of social faux pas.
Many couples are conscious of their online presence. An offline wedding ensures that only professional photographs of the event make it into circulation. Which brings us to…
Wedding photographs are lifetime mementos of an incredibly special and personal day. Today’s technology can potentially preserve moments in time forever. That’s not such a good thing if one of those photographs is a clear shot directly up the the bride’s nose taken by Aunt Susan’s new iPhone X. It’s hard to unsee things like that, and harder to tell Aunt Susan that the picture she seems to be so proud of is unwanted.
A wedding photographer has the tools and expertise to create thoughtful memories that won’t give you anxiety at the thought of those memories being on the internet.
Let your guests know as soon as possible, and keep reminding them! An effective method is to use fliers (which I can provide) and include them in invitations, emails, save-the-dates, or hand them out personally. Post signs at the event. It’s a good idea to have the officiant or other key roles make announcements before the main events.
The reality is that this concept is also self serving to me as a photographer. Offline weddings help me and my team do the job: to produce high quality memories that you can be proud of. Moving around obstruction free does wonders for the final images. Letting everyone know, up front, that pictures aren’t allowed helps everyone’s experience in the short and long run.
Have something to add? Leave a comment or contact me.