Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Perfect Wedding


Facebook offers up the occasional well written articles that I might otherwise miss and this is one I have to share here for any of you who might be getting married soon. For too long now the media has made a real fuss over the details of a wedding almost to the exclusion of the emotional content. It has become it’s own trend-driven, commercialized machine… like Christmas or any other number of holidays that stress us out… they have to be just perfect. Anne Almasy wrote this for the Huffington Post a couple of days ago and she says it better than I can… I hope you will take a minute and see how very right she is.

Anne Almasy is a photographer based out of Atlanta… in her words:

In what has become a quarterly ritual, I submitted a selection of wedding photos to a well-known wedding magazine. They were all weddings in beautiful locations, with gorgeous color and emotion and life and LOVE. I was so proud of each of them, and happy to share the stories I’d told through photographs for each couple.

A couple weeks after submitting, I got this reply: “These are all really pretty, but we want to see more details. More pictures of flowers, centerpieces, and any other details that really made these weddings special. Our Real Weddings section should give brides ideas for planning the perfect wedding.”

And while I did provide additional detail photos, I also kept the original e-mail in my inbox, just… mulling it over.

See, wedding publications exist to feed the industry: the florists and the lighting designers and the calligraphers and the caterers and the photographers and the thousands upon thousands of couples who will spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on their weddings. Magazines and blogs publish pictures of couples in lavish surroundings with immaculate decor, and vendors who can provide similar glitz and glam pay big bucks for full-page ads and featured banners. Many women (in particular) spends YEARS scouring these staples of wedding wisdom for the perfect dress, the perfect bouquet, the perfect cake… when they finally meet the perfect partner they’ll be ready.

I’ve had my own work published in these magazines. I’ve been featured on wedding blogs. I’ve even paid to advertise with publications who “reach a bajilliondy high-end brides every month.”

As I think back on the hundred-plus weddings I’ve photographed, I want to emphasize this:
Every wedding is perfect.

I love a good party.
I love a bride in the most elaborate, fancy, princess-y dress you’ve ever dreamed of.
I love custom chuppahs and embroidered aisle runners and matchy-matchy bridesmaids dresses.
I love to photograph flowers and shoes.

But you know why I REALLY do what I do?

To photograph your parents, who will hold hands and cry on the first row of the chapel. To photograph your sister dancing with that boy she will marry in three years. To photograph those kids who will grow up so, so quickly. To photograph your grandfather, who will pass away next spring. To photograph your first kiss as a married couple, your best friend busting out her signature dance moves, the flower girl asleep under a table, and maybe even your ex looking pretty wistful as he hugs you a little too long in the receiving line.

You already know: your cake will disappear in less than an hour, your flowers will wilt before the ceremony ends, and that uncomfortable tux will go back to the rental place in the morning. But those photos… they’re gonna be there forever. You’ll have them when your own kids are born, when you have the biggest fight ever with your partner and need to be reminded of how much you really love each other, when your parents pass away and you realize the last time you danced with them was at your wedding…

So, nothing against the wedding magazines and blogs and their endless, passionate quest for “perfect” detail shots. PLEASE: throw the party of your lives with every. single. detail. EXACTLY as you dreamed it would be.

But my job — MY job — is to see past all that. My job is to give you photos that will remind you why you had that damn expensive party in the first place.

If you’re planning your wedding right now, please just close the magazine. Log out of Pinterest. And look at the person you want to grow old with. Remind yourself of why you’re doing this. And really CELEBRATE when that day comes. Don’t stress about your shoes or your cake or your flowers. Don’t stress about anything. When it’s all over, you will be married, and surrounded by the people who know you and love you most in the whole wide world.

I promise: that is the Perfect Wedding.

Unplugged in Paradise


There are two or three parts of every wedding where you might hope that your guests are actually involved in the emotional conversation… where they are watching and feeling your wedding right along with you. More and more, I see heads down or obscured by devices… during the ceremony, people will actually stand in the aisle during the kiss or walk backwards during the recessional so that they can have the happy couple on their phone video. Same thing with the first dance. It used to be that photos of the crowd around the dance floor would be filled with smiling faces… most focused on the couple. Now, there are cameras, phones, iPads… you name it, but nobody is actually watching them dance.

This particular wedding guest has his not-so-subtle iPad front and center for every bit of the processional, vows and recessional… the only saving grace is that he wasn’t also wearing a red shirt. ;0)

Yes, it impacts what I do as a professional but you have to know that it changes the way a day is remembered for everyone… bride and groom included. Maybe it’s time to turn the tide and ask your guests to be in the moment for the high points of the day at least.

Happy to talk about getting married… ask me anything!

Awaiting Spring


Something about February makes me impatient for the softer air and the sweet ways people are affected by it… Spring is coming but this is the hardest part of the waiting. Katy and Deepak got married in a very formal downtown church… she wore her mother’s dress and veil for her vows. When we turned the page, they had a wonderful party at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse. Pretty much everyone changed into comfortable shoes, including Katy in her party dress, and kicked back for the rest of the day. We took a stroll through the grounds for about 20 minutes of portraits and I watched the soft Spring air work it’s magic. ;0)

Classic Delights


Every time people come to this cake in my wedding portfolio, and I mean every time, they smile and laugh! You can just about see them tasting it in their minds. This Rice Krispy cake is, of course, displayed on a splendid stand and topped with a charming family heirloom from long ago. Seems to me that if this is what you want, dress it for the day and go with it… it was delicious!

Stoller Vineyards provided the stellar backdrop and the opera singers nearby didn’t hurt the ambiance at all. ;0)