Wedding Myths and Non Myths
Observations From a Wedding Photographer
Having shot my fair share of weddings over the years, I feel now that I’ve seen enough in real life that I can comment on the many notions the public has about weddings; some of which are true and some of which I have found to be myths. If I am calling something a myth; it’s not that I’m saying it’s never been true; just that the public thinks something is more common than it actually is. So with no further ado; here are my list of myths and non-myths.
Pre-ceremony drunk bridesmaid/groomsmen: Not a myth
I have found that this is more common than you’d expect. I’m not talking about enjoying the reception to its fullest and having had more than enough to drink by the end of it; I’m right there with you when I attend a wedding. I would say that the general rule of thumb is to wait for all the key events to have taken place before you break out the brown liquor; just may not be the best look for granny to smell the Johnny Blue on you when you’re standing next to her for formals; but hey! Live your best life, but I would say most photographers would say they could do without the burden of a bridesmaid/groomsman being sloshed and acting out during formals. Been there, done that: not impressed!
The “bridezilla” – Myth
I am not going to say that there hasn’t been anyone ever who fit this pejorative like a glove and that no wedding photographer or vendor has had a horror story about someone they worked with before. But I have never worked for anyone for whom I would use this term and the notion of “bridezilla” is another media construct with serious misogynistic undertones. Weddings are sometimes very stressful events with lots of moving pieces and family dynamics at play; I don’t know anyone who couldn’t look at the key player (the bride) in such an event and not give them any leeway for the stress that they could experience being at the center of such a busy and sometimes chaotic endeavor that’s also supposed to be fun! Yikes – I’ll take this opportunity to say; you only get one wedding (hopefully) it’s your day and don’t let anyone boss you around and stress you out if you don’t want to include something or someone. I’ve found it more common for a parent of the bride or groom to boss the bride around than for the bride to act in any ridiculous way so don’t listen to MTV!
Vendors who don’t show up – Not a myth
It’s amazing to me that this is the case, but I have worked some weddings where someone’s DJ/Emcee hasn’t shown up; I’ve also gotten frantic last-minute calls asking for me to step in for someone who couldn’t show up. What a horror show that is for the couple. Always pick your vendors carefully; try and make some personal contact with key vendors if you can and ask them what their protocol is if they are unable to perform on your day. It’s not a bad question to ask a vendor; and it’s something all of us should have a plan for if god forbid, something unforeseen were to occur. Pick your people carefully and maybe think about hiring a day of coordinator or wedding planner to worry about these things for you.
The inappropriate wedding toast – Not a myth
Luckily, I can say that the “Roast the groom” wedding speech is not super common, but unlike the “bridezilla” stereotype; I have seen it with my own eyes. I have been in the building as a ‘best man’ roasted his buddy; airing all the dirty laundry from the frat house as the bride turned awkwardly in her chair and the grandparents and everyone else looked on uncomfortably. I am no prude, but this particular speech was brutal. Really bro? You guys didn’t get enough of that at the bachelor party? It’s a toast, not a roast; careful not to pick someone whose display will come in beneath the moment and beneath what you deserve; it can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for everyone involved when this happens so choose your ‘besty’ wisely! We all have that friend with an offbeat sense of humor; keep him on the bench! For the average ‘Maid of Honor’; I’d say the most common mistake would be to go on too long, telling too many inside jokes – a much more forgivable indiscretion, but probably not the most effective form of public speaking.
Anyway, be sure to plan every aspect of your wedding thoughtfully. If you don’t like to be on the beach in a bathing suit; maybe don’t try and see if you like it when you’re decked out in a winter-weight wedding dress with twenty of your friends and family in a bridal party complaining about being in the sun and heat (yes, based on a true story) as your wedding photographer barks orders at you (myth, I only talk nicely 😉) and your makeup starts to run. Wedding photos are also beautiful and everyone is more comfortable on a hot summer day in a shady park! Be practical, be efficient, be thorough and plan for contingencies. As I said; it’s supposed to be fun, if there is more stress than fun; you didn’t plan correctly!
Also see my take on the first look!