Here’s a ceremony photo from a wedding I shot in 2003.
Hmmm… something seems off. Help me out, what’s missing from this shot?
Let’s see one from the past year…
THERE WE GO. Much better. Guests should be so preoccupied with getting The Shot that they miss out on The Ceremony! Yay technology! </sarcasm>
Look, I don’t like the idea of telling guests to leave their cell phones in their cars, or that they’re not allowed to take pictures of an event that they are just as much a part of as anyone else. Guests have every right to bring cameras and take photos of the wedding they’ve been invited to – it’s their party too.
But DAMN, I wish guests would forget about their phones and cameras for the (average) eight minutes that an outdoor ceremony lasts.
Eight minutes. That’s all.
If you’ll be a guest at a wedding anytime soon, please bring your camera, and please use it liberally at the reception and cocktail hour, and before and after the ceremony. Please capture fun memories that are meaningful to you. Hey, sneak it out once during the ceremony to get a sweet shot of them at the altar.
But please, put it away and Be Present for them as they say their vows. They invited you because you are important enough to them to witness this monumental, life changing event. There’s a hired photographer there who’s been paid to record the event from start to finish and from every conceivable angle, so you don’t have to do that job! Your job is to be a witness for the couple that you love so much you traveled to be there for them. Do your job. Witness.
Relax, and breathe in everything that’s happening around you. Commit all of it to memory, where it will last decades longer than the snapshot will live on your phone.