Recently a wedding photographer’s Facebook post went viral when she called out a wedding guest who blocked her shot by trying to take a photo with an iPhone. The post, which began “To the girl with the iPhone,” included the ruined shot, in which you can clearly see a guest leaning over into the aisle, iPhone in hand. The wedding photographer argued that it is the professional photographer’s job to capture the special moments and that guests should sit back and be present in the moment. The photographer, Hannah Stanley, wrote, “Guests, please stop viewing weddings you attend through a screen but instead turn OFF your phone, and enjoy the ceremony,” I couldn’t agree more!
There is an increasing trend of unplugged ceremonies, where the hosts encourage guests to put away their devices and be fully present to the festivities. I’ve been at several ceremonies ~ including weddings, funerals, and baptisms ~ where the use of personal electronic devices detracted from the moment. It is so tempting to want to take a quick picture and post it on Facebook, but how present are you when you are thinking more about what your Facebook friends will think than what you are experiencing in the moment?
A couple of weeks ago, I attended my cousin’s beautiful wedding at the summit of a mountain in Maine. As I was riding up the mountain in a gondola, I realized that my iPhone battery was less than 10%. Having no charger, and wanting to preserve at least a little battery in case of an emergency, I tucked my iPhone in my bad and left it there. I didn’t know my cousin was having an intentionally unplugged wedding until I got off the gondola and was greeted by a sign that invited us to put down our phones and truly be present. I think the sign said something to the effect of ‘we want to see you faces, not your phones.’ The ceremony was moving, as my cousin and her husband shared their personalized vows, and their beloved dog accompanied them down the aisle. It was everything that a wedding could be!