Australian wedding photographer Thomas Stewart thinks so – and he’s got a pretty good reason for it, too.
His argument is simple: guests at weddings have become obsessed with capturing the moment on their smartphones, and as a result, they are actually missing the truly beautiful, spontaneous moments that are happening around them.
Worst of all, smartphone-wielding guests are preventing the bridal couple from enjoying – or even seeing – the events of their special day.
It was the above photo that sparked Stewart’s outburst.
He wrote in his viral Facebook post: “Look at this photo. This groom had to lean out past the aisle just to see his bride approaching. Why? Because guests with their phones were in the aisle and in his way. This sucks.”
Stewart lamented how brides and grooms can’t even see their guests’ faces as they are obscured by phones and cameras.
He pleaded with future wedding guests to be there “in heart and soul… You are witnesses to their marriage, so for goodness sake, watch them with your eyes and your minds, not your phones.” Stewart went so far as to say that guests’ amateur smartphone snaps were “usually crap”.
We think middle-parted hair makes for a gorgeous wedding guest look. (Post continues after video.)
He also had this advice for the betrothed: “brides and grooms, please have a completely unplugged wedding ceremony”.
Our advice is to take your cue from the bridal couple.
If the MC tells you that there’s a wedding hashtag, like #samloveslara or #jenandjustinwedding2015, or if they're taking tons of selfies, then it’s pretty obvious that they’re happy for you to snap away. But if the couple have followed Stewart's lead and there’s an announcement of “no technology, please,” then you know what to do: turn your phone off, put it in your pocket, and relax.
Back when I got married, in 2008, my minister was supposed to request that guests put away their phones and cameras before my grand, bridal entrance. I wanted to fully experience the moment, and I wanted to see the faces of my loved ones.
Yet as soon as the church doors opened, I realised that my minister had forgotten to make the announcement, as I saw almost everyone looking not at me, but at their smartphones or camera screens.
The thing is, though, walking down the aisle was such a monumental experience that I didn’t mind the photos. My thought was just, “They’re taking photos. Oh, well.” (Post continues after gallery.)
During the ceremony, my partner and I were facing our minister, so we didn’t see the cameras. But it must have been very noticeable and perhaps annoying for our minister, who announced during the vows, “Carla and Jeff would really love you to experience their wedding, so please put your cameras and mobiles down.”
Weddings can also be a huge undertaking for guests – especially if it’s a destination wedding. In the scheme of things, one iPhone photo isn’t such a big deal when you consider that your friend or family member has dressed up, arranged a babysitter, travelled for a few hours, and also bought a nice present for your wedding.
Whatever your thoughts towards technology and weddings, there’s no doubt that the digital era is here to stay. Think before you snap - unless you're the bride or groom. In that case, do whatever the hell you want, because it's your big day.
Did you have an 'unplugged' wedding? Do you think that's a reasonable request?