I seem to be the master of unpopular opinions lately. It probably has something to do with always admiring older (read: wiser) ladies who lack a filter and the ability to give a hoot about what everyone else thinks anymore.
Regardless, I am here to tell you something really freaking important.
When you attend a wedding - whether you are a friend, a parent, or a vendor - that wedding has nothing to do with you. You are there as a supporter and a celebrator.
You are not there to feel important.
The horror stories I could share about people jumping into photos, smashing cake into the couple's faces and giving one of them a bloody nose (lord help me I didn't get an assault charge that night), or just damn near throwing a temper tantrum because someone other than the couple didn't get their way - you would probably be appalled.
Your job as a guest at a wedding:
Enjoy every moment.
Love the couple you are there supporting.
Before I jump into this tirade, let me state for a moment that 95% of wedding guests get it. They are wonderful and kind humans who understand that they are a witness to a marriage, not an aristocrat that demands pandering. You know who you are. You smile, you say hi unobtrusively to the couple, and you are happy to be included.
I friggen love you people.
Now, the other 5%. Let's really dig into you.
The "other" photographer
I am going to start with my personal biggest pet peeve.
The people who own a DSLR or used to take pictures of mechanical robots who hover over me to tell me how to do my job.
The aunt who needs to tell me to stop after every family picture to take a shitty version on her Sidekick from 2007.
The bridesmaid who decides to tell me 100 things to do during getting ready so she can be the center of attention.
Just stop. The couple chose me. They saw my work. They trust me. We have had multiple conversations about what they want and how they see the day going.
For every complaint I have, I do have a counter point to myself.
If you are the people who saw me accidentally hit myself into auto mode when I have been shooting manual and you quietly point it out because you own a DSLR and know that it probably would result in major issues later - THANK YOU.
If you are the aunt who gently reminds the bride and I that she has a neighbor from childhood and it would mean a lot to them to get a photo - THANK YOU.
If you are the bridesmaid who notices the bride is overwhelmed and suggests I take her aside and out of the craziness to give her a moment to breathe - THANK YOU.
The "look at me" girls
Okay ladies. I am going to attack us the same way I dealt with my high schoolers who wore mesh-panel tube tops to class.
There is a time and place to look like Beyonce on stage.
It is at the club, at a party, celebrating your own damn wedding.
If I can see your tushie when you bend over, you shouldn't wear it to a wedding.
If I can see the front of your panties (and pray silently that you are wearing them when I see your hemline), that dress is too short.
If little old me, who is all about letting your boobies out, is a little taken aback by the amount of cleavage, you probably messed up your outfit.
If you are constantly adjusting, tugging at your outfit, or need to check yourself regularly for any Janet Jackson moments, it is not the right outfit for this event.
It is a wedding. Dress for a garden party, not like you're desperate for people to pay attention to you. Because we are, just not in the right way when you put yourself on display. The day is not about you.
I do just want to say that you look beautiful and sexy, and I am by no means knocking you for wearing that dress in general.
Just don't do it on someone else's wedding day.
The drunk "uncle"
No. I don't want you to come take "funny" pictures with the couple during sunset that is rapidly changing and disappearing.
No. We don't need you to come make weird jokes to the couple while they are trying to talk to their other guests.
No. You probably don't need that next drink.
No. You cannot touch my camera to take a picture of me.
No - and I cannot stress this enough - I do NOT want you to make comments about taking me home at the end of the night.
Now, this character isn't always male and they aren't always related to the couple. It is that person that just doesn't understand how to behave whilst drinking at a formal event.
Finishing school would have helped immensely, but it is usually too late for that.
I know you probably mean well. I know you probably love the couple. So please, know your limit and guard your actions and speech with care so you don't leave a dark spot on the memories for this day.
On a serious note, harassment - whether general or sexual - at weddings can be a real problem for vendors. As a vendor, I encourage you to always speak up. The couple's parents are usually great allies who can help mitigate a situation if you ever feel uncomfortable.
The "temper tantrum"
I sincerely understand that wedding days can be high-stress and emotional for everyone.
However, this day is not about you - it is about people starting their marriage journey and celebrating with you.
So if you wanted to see one of the partners before they are ready to be seen, and someone tells you no, you don't get to be upset about that. You don't get to shove past everyone and see them anyway.
Let's say you want to get the picture of the first kiss, and the only way you can is to hang out in the aisle - even though the couple asked for an unplugged ceremony. That is not your right. You don't get to do it anyway.
Maybe you desperately want to talk to them to validate your importance, even though they are busy with their grandparents who we weren't even sure would make it to the celebration. You absolutely do not get to interrupt the groom mid-hug with Nana to assert your importance (and I will absolutely hip-check you if you try).
We all have hang ups and feel slighted at times. I sincerely understand the feeling and know that kind of hurt. A couple's wedding day is not the time, nor the place, to address those feelings. Months prior to the wedding or even a little after are great times.
The "moment stealer"
That isn't your first kiss as a married partnership.
That isn't your first look with the couple.
That isn't your first dance.
None of the day is YOURS, except the moments that directly involve you.
Do not post photos of the couple to social media until they post first. Some people may not want any of their photos online.
You are excited, I get it. And you probably look damn good in that outfit. Post all the pictures of yourself, or even a selfie with the couple.
But when it is one of THEIR moments? Let them have it.
The married couple loves you, and your love for them is all they need from you on their wedding day. Relax and relish the moments, and share those candid photos you get with them. Give them a hug when they are available and tell them your favorite part of their day. They will remember better when you help to make it meaningful and eliminate stress.
Now, go forth and enjoy wedding season wand have FUN!