By: Robin Andrews
Here comes the bride.
The newlyweds are introduced with their new, shared name, and they walk down the aisle together, the first steps of their new life.
The first picture of their new era is cluttered with outstretched arms and phone screens desperate to not miss the moment.
The current state of a “selfie” society sets the scene for one to question: if a moment passes but no one is there to take a picture, did it really happen? And further, if there is only one picture taken, is the anxiety of it not being perfect manageable?
“Because of technology, people miss out on a lot of life and a lot of true memories by using it too much,” Madi Smith, a bride-to-be, said. “Being behind a camera, you’re still experiencing it, but you’re not all in it.”
Smith is engaged to marry her fiance, Kyle Boone. And they both agree that relying on the memories you receive are simply better when technology is turned off.
Unplugged weddings are becoming more popular.
Smith and Boone, who have dated for two years, have talked about getting married since the fourth month they spent together. Since then, Smith said their relationship has grown from seeing marriage as the next step for their lifelong love to seeing marriage as a covenant created by God to share the gospel.
“Marriage means that the Lord has deemed that we’re going to be better at glorifying Jesus together than we would be apart.”
She said she and Boone are blessed to be called to marriage because not everyone is.
Smith said that marriage is something that should mean more than it does to some couples, and she doesn’t want technology interfering with guests on their big day.
Caleb Frith, a photographer who documents nature and people across the U.S. with his girlfriend, fellow photographer Tyler Dozier, says weddings are better off when guests’ technology is turn off.
“I would say that tech-free weddings create a more meaningful atmosphere,” Frith wrote in a text message.
Because beautiful moments are so brief, and professional photographers are traditionally hired to capture each second of a monumental day no one wants to forget, many modern couples are requesting guests put their cameras away and simply be present for the occasion.
“Devices like phones really get in the way of me when I’m shooting a wedding,” he said. “There’s always that guy that stands up and tries to take a picture. And that ruins my shot. Always.”
Frith and Dozier photographed Smith and Boone’s engagement at a Florida state Park in July, and they are booked to photograph the wedding, which will be completely outdoors and, aside from the two photographers, unplugged.
Boone said that guests’ efforts to capture their own pictures also adds a distraction for other guests as well as photographers. They don’t want someone’s giant smartphone blocking someone’s view. Therefore, they’re going to have a basket to hold all gadgets.
Smith said it’s all about guests being present and relying on their own memories to make the day sweeter.
“If you don’t have a camera, you’re going to make that much more of an effort to take it all in … and I want everyone to experience in that way and keep it in their hearts.”
She said that she understands pictures are important, but that’s the purpose of paying professional photographers to provide.
“I just want them to be there and not worry about capturing it in any other way than just being there for us.”