Wedding Photographer Begs Couples to Ban Cell Phones for Unplugged Ceremonies

Bride textingAustralia wedding photographer Thomas Stewart begged on Facebook for brides and grooms to ban cell phones from their wedding. Credit: Noel Sutherland

In an age where our whole lives are to be well-documented online, in apps, and through pictures gaining virtual dust in our smartphone albums, one wedding photographer has had enough.

Thomas Stewart, 32, of Thomas Stewart Photography in Southern Highlands, Australia recently posted a Facebook rant begging for brides and grooms to encourage and enforce unplugged weddings – a term indicating that no guest cell phones or cameras, aside from the designated photographer and/or videographer are to be used during the wedding ceremony.

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux, who were married in a private backyard ceremony on August 5, had a now-notorious unplugged wedding, so much so that Aniston said she and Theroux haven’t even seen their wedding photos yet. The acting newlyweds went so far as to take their guests phones hostage until the event was over, not only to stop guests from staring into their smartphones during the ceremony, but to keep photos of their special day from leaking to the press.

In his Thursday, November 5 Facebook rant, Stewart crafted a list of reasons so he could in the future be “more specific with my clients in explaining to them why guests should be told no photos.” The list was placed alongside a photo Stewart had taken showing a groom having to lean around his guests with cell phones in order to see his bride walking down the aisle.

His first indication as to why wedding parties should enforce a no-technology rule was that guests’ photos rarely turn out better than the hired wedding photographer’s.

“The guests’ photos are usually crap. I’m sorry, but it is true.” Stewart wrote, “You can’t take great photos with your camera phone by leaning into the aisle of a dark church to photograph a moving subject. Hell, even lots of professionals have trouble with this.”

Another reason why an unplugged wedding ceremony is ideal? Because, as Stewart commented, “Guests with phones, iPads and cameras get right in your photographer’s way. They often ruin many of our [the photographer’s] shots.”

He goes on to reason with future newlyweds’ financial implications in mind by adding, “You’re paying a photographer quite a bit of money; that means you want great photos. We cannot do our best work with people getting in our way.”

It’s not all about getting the perfect professional photo, Stewart conveys with his final plea for couples to remove guests’ technology during the ceremony. For his last and “most important” bullet point, Stewart puts the readers into the shoes of those at the altar.

“Imagine you’re in the middle of your wedding ceremony. You’re elated. You decide to take a quick glance towards your guests as you’re sure they’re sharing these happy moments with you, possibly even shedding a tear of their own. What do you see?” Stewart asks.

“NO FACES AT ALL AS THEY ARE ALL HIDDEN BEHIND PHONES AND CAMERAS! I highly doubt this is the way you want to remember your wedding ceremony.”

After finishing up with a few ideas on how couples can convey the message to their wedding guests, Stewart ends with one final appeal for the future wedding guests themselves.

“You’ve been invited to this wedding to share and celebrate the love that two people feel for each other…They want you there with them in heart and soul…,” he wrote, “…for goodness sake, watch them with your eyes and your minds, not your phones.”

About the Author

Kaitlin Jones
Kaitlin Jones
Kaitlin is an online news writer at The Knot covering viral wedding news. She has a Bachelor’s in English from Plymouth State University. Kaitlin has a passion for news writing and all things Disney.