Recently we’ve seen a definite trend in the wedding industry whereby brides and photographers alike have been worried about their weddings not having “anything special” about them, perhaps a more classical wedding full of tradition but maybe lacking in details and unconventional ideas. After all If there’s nothing particularly unique and out of the ordinary about a wedding then how are we as photographers supposed to make it stand out from all the others and produce outstanding photographs?
The trouble seems to be that wedding blogs have taken over as both the major place for clients to find photographers and also the place that brides want their wedding to be showcased. There’s no problem with this as such, wedding blogs are great! Except that most blogs will only accept weddings that are full of those crazy, quirky, unique details, and without them that wedding has little or no chance of being blogged. Without those blog features it’s harder for the photographer to be found by their couples and indeed many couples won’t book a photographer if they don’t think they’ll be able to get their wedding blogged. The result is that it’s very easy to start thinking more about what type of photos a particular blog might want rather than truly focussing on what it is the couple need from their day. Some photographers have built their style around “blogworthy” photographs and when those details aren’t there they can feel lost and uninspired. Worse yet though, many brides and grooms have planned their entire weddings around the ideas that they think will get their big day picked up and featured.
It seems to me ironic though that in this desperate search for the “unique and special” the industry has started to forget about the ONLY thing that makes each and every wedding COMPLETELY unique: the couple themselves and the people around them. We’ve become so obsessed with the details that we’ve forgotten how to tell the story. Not the story of how two people hired a fairground for their wedding and look wasn’t there lots of candyfloss, the story that two people who had chosen to share their lives together have come together on this one incredible day to celebrate everything that they hold dear to their hearts surrounded by the people they love. It doesn’t matter if the couple are getting married in a church or on a roller coaster – the most powerful picture you can take in that moment is the expression on the groom’s face as he first lays eyes on the most beautiful thing he has ever seen in all his life.
Capturing all the details is of course important: they’re part of the day, part of the story. But they’re not in themselves the central storyline. They’re the bit of description that sets up the scene ready to hit you with the next thrilling piece of the plot. In 20 years time all of today’s cool, unique decoration will probably feel outdated and old-fashioned, and when the bride and groom flick through their wedding album it’s the people they will care about, the expressions on their proud parent’s faces, the tears in their best friend’s eyes, the way they looked at each other with such indescribable joy. Weddings are about people – the bride and groom, their families and their guests. The rest is just decoration.
Whether you’re the bride and groom or the photographer, seeing your wedding pictures up on a big wedding blog is a great feeling. Having a wedding that is cool and quirky and unique and all those things that people like to read about is also great, but only if it’s a true reflection of your personalities: truly a part of your story. If in 20 years time all that stuff reminds you of who you both were at that point in your relationship then it has genuinely enhanced your special day. If on the other hand you look back and see a load of stuff that probably looked cool at the time but wasn’t really you, you’re going to wonder why you spent so much time focussing on it all that in the process you forgot to find your own story.
It doesn’t matter what type of wedding you have or how exciting or ordinary a wedding sounds on paper, there’s always a unique and beautiful story to be told. Whether a wedding gets blogged or not doesn’t make a difference, the people who were there that day will always remember it and they’re the ones that really matter.
So whilst I would always encourage couples to put their own stamp on their day and for photographers to have faith in their own unique style, just make sure it is your own style and not the one you think other people want to see. Just remember – the devil is in the details but the soul is in the story.
Photos by York Place Studios