This is an open letter to any and all brides! It doesn’t necessarily deal with a specific component of wedding day photography it’s mostly more of a very honest and candid letter about my experiences as a wedding photographer; especially when you start seeing a day become chaotic. Yes, any delays in your wedding day can cause photos to become rushed – we all know that by now – but as you read my letter, please, understand that no matter how meticulously planned your wedding day is, you cannot control the behaviour of others.
Being a wedding photographer is a wonderful job; I get to take peoples special moments and turn them into works of art. Wedding photography is an amazingly fulfilling career, there’s no doubt about that. However, in between those special moments and works of art, as you silently stand behind your camera observing the day and anticipating the next move, you most definitely learn a lot about people.
When I first started as a wedding photographer and started to observe people – friends and families – interacting throughout the day, I was quite surprised at some of the things I saw. Mothers seemed more concerned about visiting with friends and family as opposed to staying on a schedule; maids of honours freak out at the hair stylist because they decide they no longer like the style they chose the previous week and family never seemed to be present when it came time to photos. Everyone was always concerned about something else.
As I watched all this happen I also saw bides reacting to these setbacks. Every bride is different; some can handle stresses quite well and only become slightly irritated; others, however, succumb to the stress and become angry… and not just “regular” angry… we’re talking “white hot intensity of a thousand suns” kind of angry. Having a massive freak out isn’t the best memory to have of your wedding day.
Perhaps, I thought, it was just me. Maybe I’m the one seeing the negative. Afterall, I was preparing for my own walk down the aisle (and worrying about all that could possibly go wrong) so it’s possible that my opinion was skewed by my own wedding day fears… right?
Well, I’ve been married for two years now and at every wedding I photograph, I am still seeing some downright odd behaviours by people who are supposed to be the closest and dearest friends and family of the bride and groom.
So what gives? Why is mom making the day run late? Why is she down the hall socializing with her siblings when she should be putting her dress on and getting ready for pictures?!?! Why did the maid of honour speak up about her choice of hairstyle on the morning of the wedding? She did the trial and said the loved it then! Why is she making the stylist start over and causing a massive delay in the morning prep?!?! And why are family scattered around when they know they are supposed to be gathered for photos?!?! Why does no one seem to care about the schedule the bride and groom must keep that day? Why?!? WHY?!?!?
Well, frankly, it’s because they just… don’t… care!
Don’t get me wrong – they love you. They truly do. They simply do not understand how tight of a schedule you are on during your wedding day and they don’t understand the impact that their minute little actions can have on your schedule.
Think about it; as the bride, you’ve spent the last six, twelve… dare I say 24-months planning this ONE DAY. You know the intricacies of the day inside and out and you really do understand the impact of how one persons actions can affect the schedule of the day. But your mom? Your wedding day? Sure they might have done some helping – but unless you have specifically sat them down all at once and had a big “wedding meeting” the day before, they will be more focused on having fun and socializing and not on timekeeping.
So, to all the brides out there reading this… don’t be surprised if your friends and family act this way on your wedding day. They all have their own schedules and own agendas. They aren’t behaving like this because they don’t like you – they are behaving like this because unless you are the one in the big white dress, you become physically and mentally incapable of truly understanding how important sticking to a schedule is. My recommendation; always be “pessimistic” when scheduling your wedding day. Always give yourself more time than you think you will need and even schedule in 15-20 minutes of “catchup time” here and there. Doing this will not only ensure a smooth schedule on your wedding day but it will also ensure that you still like your friends when this is all done.