What Will Your Wedding Story Be?
Dear Wedding Blogger You Suck is making the rounds again. Almost a year after it was first published, it's still a lightning rod for controversy.
Now I want to say right off the bat that I LOVE details. In fact, I have a particular fondness for mason jars and close up shots of bouquets with the bride's head cropped out. (I know, It's a dirty little secret of objectification.)
I also love nearly every aspect of the event planning process. I love the entertaining aspect of a wedding. Nonetheless, I'm not a lifestyle blogger, nor am I a Martha-Stewart-style hostess blogger. I am a wedding blogger. And that means I love more than just a pretty party. I also love the ceremony, the people, and the dancing. Seriously. Look back at the weddings I publish. Do I EVER cut out the ceremony? No.
I love what is called “emotional details:” the first look, the vow exchange, the hugs and the dancing. I love the story each wedding picture tells, and I love even more how a collection of images can tell the story of an entire day. (And, of course, I love to overly use the word “love.” Like I said, I'm a wedding blogger.)
Why is this important? Because whether you consider it “the most important day of your life” or not, your wedding will still be a rather momentous and intense occasion. And whether you elope or invite everyone you've ever known, getting married is a big deal. Even the seemingly simple act of looking into another human beings eyes and declaring lifelong faithfulness–while romantic–is also incredibly intense.
I've been corresponding with Australian wedding photographer Ben Clark about this. He submitted this wedding by way of making a case for these emotional details. Now don't get Ben wrong either. Ben is also a detail guy. You'll find the most exquisite detail in Ben's work, both the emotional and the party favor variety. However, Ben's core mission is more than pretty pictures of gorgeous cakes: He aims to:
“capture your wedding day just the way that you remember it.
All the fun, all the emotion, tears of happiness and joy.
Real moments, real people, real emotion” [italics mine]
Yes you'll find detail shots in Ben's work. He captures beautifully the the bouquet, the rings, the cuff links, the favors, and the place settings. But you will also find plenty of hearty hugs, joyful champagne toasts, and teary-eyed loved ones witnessing the solemnity and joy of a wedding ceremony.
In last week's podcast, I asked Maggie Lord how to stay true to who you are with so much “wedding inspiration” available on the internet. She advised,
Don't be so quick to start with the visual. Instead, start with the sentiment and the emotion of the day. Come up with a list of words you want your guests to use to describe your wedding after the fact. You may identify words like, fun, family-oriented, and adventurous. Or maybe your words are, elegant, intimate, and full of laughter. By starting with sentiments rather than details, you can eventually find the details that really help you express who you are as a couple, and perhaps who you are as a family, if that’s what you're going for.
Why is this so important? Because you'll want to remember how you felt on your wedding day. You'll want to remember how your guests felt. A great photographer can even capture moments you missed, like grandma's tears at your ceremony. These are important. They tell the story of you, your partner, your family, and your friends.
Of course I understand and appreciate that you're not online looking for portraits of other people. You want to get ideas for your hair, cake, bouquet, and wedding favors. I get that. But today I'd like to inspire you with a few powerful emotional details and encourage you to start thinking about how you want your guests (and yourself) to feel on your wedding day.
In this wedding, I see the images of a couple cocooned in the love of their family and friends. I see a story of time standing still for their love. What do you see? What emotional details inspire you? More importantly, on your wedding day, what stories do you want your pictures to tell?
All images from Ben Clark