I have incredible images from the day Will and I sealed our covenant with each other and our God. I wouldn’t trade those pictures for anything, and I have them printed and hung all over our house and show them to anyone who will look. I peruse our beautifully bound linen wedding album almost daily, and each time I am even more convinced that I wouldn’t change a single thing about that day or the decision we made to marry each other.
But actually planning and participating in a wedding myself made me realize how differently I approach weddings (in general and in regards to photography) compared to other people and wedding professionals.
To me, aside from committing your lives to each other, the most important aspect of your wedding day is spending it with those you adore most; creating memories with the people you hold dear enough to request that they bear witness to this life-altering decision.
And yet, the vast majority of modern wedding magazines place their emphasis on off-the-wall wedding details that bear no meaning to couples and contrived photo spreads taken of models looking effortlessly beautiful.
That isn’t real.
When I married Will, the ceremony space was absolutely beautiful. Luscious floral garlands (with my grandmother’s favorite flowers) and accented calligraphy signage (penned by a dear friend) set the tone for the ceremony. There were votive and tapered candles everywhere (shining just as the light of Christ shines) and everything about the space had an ethereal feeling. It looked like a dream, and was better than anything we could have envisioned.
But what I remember most about the ceremony space is my Uncle Johnny seemingly-field-goal-kicking a few LIT votive candles across the room during cocktail hour.
THAT is real. And that memory fills my heart with joy.
Uncle Johnny’s wax-covered tie would never make it into a magazine spread, but you bet your grandmama’s biscuits I would deliver it in a wedding gallery.
Weddings can absolutely be beautifully styled and simultaneously an honest representation of the people getting married.
That’s when it’s real. That’s when it’s meaningful.
After attending my own wedding, I’ve found that I specialize in the meaningful.
Those in-between glances where your personalities really shine? I capture those. The sweet gestures your grandfather makes as he ushers your grandmother into the ceremony? I photograph those. The way your uncle sheepishly blushes after accidentally creating a ruckus during cocktail hour? I live to take that picture.
Real is beautiful. Real is meaningful.
Let’s bring weddings and wedding photography back to what they really should be about.
What do you say, won’t you take back weddings with me?
Note (in the spirit of keeping it real): This is our wedding program which was delivered to our house as the ceremony was taking place. We completely skipped over the hymn and Kristen’s reading (it was a beautiful passage by C.S. Lewis – whoops!). Will did actually walk in to “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver and we recessed to Michael Franti’s “Say Hey” just before the Benediction. Will tried to fight me on that last one, but it was every bit as awesome as it sounds.