by Sandra von Riekhoff
I have one of those really odd jobs. I shoot people’s weddings. After shooting hundreds of weddings over the past decade I had to share some of the bits that NOBODY talks about. Not all of these will happen to you, but this is just a little note from me to you to explain that when this happens, it’s 1000% normal!
I’m not talking about your dad bringing his new and very unapproved girlfriend, who insist that her bra is visible the whole day. I’m actually talking about a monthly visitor that one can stave off using the pill. As a female photographer, of course I’m let in on these things. As a former bride myself, I can confirm this is a thing! Stress, excitement and the hormones attached all work together to create a perfect storm, which your period takes advantage of and appears completely uninvited. Take arms if you have them!
Oh that first kiss….parched lips, dry, nervous mouth. It’s really not at all ideal. You’ll want to drink about 1.5 litres of water from the moment you wake up until 40 minutes before you leave the room and head to the church. One final push before you leave is required. Being slightly tipsy helps everything go smoothly too. One glass, max two depending on how light weight you are.
Great, so you’ve muscled through the ceremonial ordeal and the job is DONE! You both march down the isle and then what? This is especially true for garden weddings. I was shooting just such a wedding once, where I could hear the bride ask the groom on their traipse away from the congregation “where are we going”? His reply? “I don’t know, just keep walking”!
Well the answer varies, but the awkward ‘Now where to?’ does not. If you are getting married in a church you want to walk to the front doors and wait for your trusty photographer to whip in front of you and take that snap. Then you get as far away from the door as you can so that the milieu of guests can make their way out. Some couples even circle the church while this happens. Another approach includes entering from the rear door and then walking out of the front door once more, this time to a crowd of frenzied family and friends all waiting to pelt them with confetti.
If you’re getting married at a venue where you plan to stay the rest of the evening, it’s simple; you walk to the nearest person serving a drink!
“It’s very hard to know, by the way, what it is you take for granted. And the reason is that you take it for granted.”
-Sir Ken Robinson
You do not have to conform! You can fine-tooth-comb the whole process of a wedding and pluck out all the bits that are perfectly at odds with who you, as a couple are. If it feels awkward and perfectly so un-you, ditch it and replace it with something that is truthful and authentic! Wearing a pink cravat was never truthful and I’m glad to see that trend find its place in history exclusively.
Thankfully, with the advance of social media and inspirational treasure vaults like wedding blogs and Pinterest, the trend to run a million miles away from the norms of wedding conveyer belts is speeding ahead! Couples now have easy access to incredibly diverse and imaginative ways to deck out, feed and entertain the wedding day and the crew joining you for it.
I’ve seen duck races, outdoor cinemas, mid-meal table swapping, mystery guest games and midnight swims. Dream something up, you’re actually allowed to! I am still mad at myself for choosing an utterly predictable dress!
As a mother of a boy I always feel a bit sad for the grooms mother who seems to take a very low rank among distinguished guests. I find sometimes this can lead to a slightly cantankerous mother who is actually hitting a very significant life moment as a woman. I get a bit teary just writing this. She’s wrapped up her job now as a mother and is feeling nothing but old. Above this, the mother/son relationship is a very special bond and this is a bittersweet moment. Having been left out of most of the planning she needs a little extra love? I know every effort you make to see to it that she is in equal stand as the mother of the bride will fill her heart. That being said if she’s someone who needs extra attention on the best of days, you’ll have your work cut out for you! Gin and flowers work well!
There was a time when the dirty deed was a first night wedded requirement. Now the estimates are that roughly 52% of people skip the ordeal on the big night. This is reported to be in part down to a boozy groom and a tired bride and no doubt in part to the un-invited guest I started all this off with! Having said all that, I still think it’s worth a pre-wedding splurge on some fresh new lacy bits! There’s always the honeymoon and ummm…another 50 years or so!