The Real Story Behind Wedding Photography

What’s a wedding without wedding photography? It all seems so fun, frivolous, and flirty, doesn’t it? You might even think that seasoned, professional photographer you hired is living the life of Reilly.

But wait a minute . . . maybe appearances aren’t always what they seem.

Maybe, just maybe, the photographer has the toughest job in the room. They have to wear many hats . . .operate quickly and efficiently . . . and work under some major stress (can you say mother of the bride?)

The extent of these factors depends on the approach and style of the individual photographer. Some may approach wedding photography more traditionally . . . with classically posed images and more photographer control.

While others . . . may choose to approach the event more photojournalistic and take on a more random, editorial style using candid shots and less structured control by the photographer. Or, maybe a combination of the two approaches.

And still a third approach, might be called a contemporary style or fashion based approach – – where the idea is to capture the atmosphere of the celebration so the viewers can see the story of what the day was like.

Either way . . . Mama Wants what Mama Wants, Right?

And if Mama Ain’t Happy, Then Nobody’s Happy!

Of course there are some common duties and responsibilities with all styles . . . but in addition to the normal duties of taking photographs before, during, and after the wedding activities, the typical wedding photographer must do so while artistically composing the shots and later processing those images.

That’s a lot of work! And on the actual wedding day, the photographer must create and capture great images in a stressful and hectic environment. And not to mention the off site hours spent in editing, developing, and delivering the finished photos to the families.

Why is Wedding Photography So Darned Expensive?

Well most folks who have paid for wedding photography have probably asked that question a few times, right? And in fact, it is — usually ranging from $2000 to $4000 in most of the country. But wait a minute, let’s think about this complaint for a moment. . .

Isn’t most EVERYTHING about a wedding thought to be too expensive? Of course. But the wedding photo album has the longest, and most valuable, usage life of any of the wedding components. In fact, the wedding photos increase in value over time . . . and they continuously bring back memories of that eventful day . . . for years to come!

Long after the scraps from the “too much fake sugar” cake have been thrown away . . . long after Uncle Joe sleeps off that reception hangover . . . and long after you packed up that wedding dress and returned those rented tuxedos . . .

You are still going to enjoy showing those wedding photos to Aunt Minnie and Cousin Leroy, aren’t you? So, your wedding photos have become an asset that you are proud to own (in most cases!) But the real truth of why they are so expensive is . . .

Your Wedding Photos are a Luxury – – Not a Necessity!

Ouch — you know it’s true. Those photos are something that you want, and love to have, but they are not something you actually NEED. Let’s face it . . . people pay for what they want, especially if it considered a luxury.

And wedding photography is a desired luxury service. A well known wedding photographer once said “great wedding photography is a luxury service, for a luxury occasion, and it commands luxury prices”.

Would You Really Want to be a Wedding Photographer?

Truth be told . . . maybe not. But aren’t great wedding photographers well off? A few probably are. . . but most are not. You would be surprised to learn that the median salary for a wedding photographer in America is around $40, 000 per year!

The reason is because it is a seasonal industry. Most folks aren’t planning their wedding photography Baltimore¬†for February, much less for Chicago or New York. The majority of wedding photography gigs happen between May and October each year. Seasonal feast or famine.

Don’t forget the pressure. Wedding days bring it. It’s a one time event that the photog has to capture quickly and perfectly. . . and they cannot miss any big moments throughout the day — and that’s a whole lot of responsibility!

If you don’t like long, tedious hours, then wedding photography is probably not for you. Including shooting, editing, uploading, and delivering those perfect memories . . . the wedding photographer might average 20 to 27 hours per wedding.

And finally, the wedding photographer can say goodbye to his or her own weekends during the wedding season. Most every weekend day or night will have to be booked in order to service their clients. Family and personal recreation will have to take a back seat to this job.

So now you know some truths concerning the wedding photography industry. Not as glamorous as it seems. . . hmmm . . . and as Paul Harvey used to say . . . now you know the rest of the story.

Dance Music and Your Guests

Ok, so you made it through the actual wedding ceremony . . . now what? It’s time to cut loose, relax, and have some fun at your wedding reception! And what better way to do that than by getting all of your guests up and partying with you on the dance floor?

No matter what type of wedding you have . . . no matter what type of guests are there . . . (even the most uptight ones), people from all walks of life enjoy music, and with a little coaxing, can be enticed to get out on that dance floor and “shake that booty”.

And it doesn’t matter if you have a traditional orchestra, a pop or rock band, or a mad cool party DJ . . . the quicker and easier you can get your wedding guests up off their back sides and out on that floor . . . the more fun (and fond memories of your wedding) everybody will have!

First Things First . . .

OK, OK– before you get everybody up and boogying, you can go ahead and get your “traditional dances” out of the way . . . After all, your father daughter dance probably won’t be to Led Zeppelin (unless your Dad is REALLY COOL). And I guess your first dance with the new hubby shouldn’t be to Nirvana (unless he really does Smell Like Teen Spirit) . . . so pick appropriate songs for those dances and enjoy them!

Now Engage Your Guests

So now, your music choices really will set the tone for the rest of the evenings festivities. Pick high energy, feel good songs that won’t offend anybody (no songs full of curse words or negativity).

Give your musicians or DJ some songs you like in advance of the wedding . . . so they can be prepared to deliver them for you. Or, just leave it up to their professional expertise.

The goal is to quickly and easily get Grandma up and ready to “bust a move”. Once the other guests see that . . . they will be sure to throw away their own inhibitions and let loose for some fun! Everybody wins.

Party On!

Here are some music suggestions that are most requested and popular at wedding receptions. It’s your day, so just have FUN!

Celebration by Kool and the Gang

I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas

Happy by Pharell Williams

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen

ABC by the Jackson 5

Let’s Groove by Earth Wind & Fire

Love Shack by the B52’s

Single Ladies-Put a Ring on it by Beyonce

Twist and Shout by the Beatles

Dancing on the Ceiling By Lionel Ritchie

Marry You by Bruno Mars

Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

Sugar by Maroon 5

Footloose by Kenny Loggins

September by Earth Wind & Fire

Boogie Shoes by KC & the Sunshine Band

We Are Family by Sister Sledge

Dance to the Music by Sly & The Family Stone

My Girl by the Temptations

All Night Long by Lionel Richie

I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston

The Cake

Wedding cakes are as varied and unique as the people who will enjoy them — some tall, some short, some square, some round, some stacked, some flat, many different colors . . . you get the picture. Some are meant to be eaten . . . and , in fact, others are meant to be just looked at!

But all wedding cakes found around the world have one thing in common — being an integral part of a wedding celebration. A traditional wedding element that is even present in non-traditional weddings. The wedding cake has come to be symbolic of a joyful event shared by friends, family, and loved ones.

In addition to providing a tasty treat for wedding guests, the wedding cake is often times the centerpiece of the wedding’s motif or decor. The type of cake chosen usually reflects the theme, personality, and ambience of the wedding reception ( and sometimes the budget as well).

In recent times past, the wedding cake was considered to be a status symbol . . . a luxury item representing a couple’s celebratory and social status. In other words, the larger the cake– the higher their social significance.

Although not so much anymore (there are exceptions among the very wealthy), there are still certain “cake traditions” that many weddings still value and adhere to. Most weddings today still include the cake presenting, cake cutting, and cake sharing actions performed by both the bride and groom . . . irregardless of their socio-economic status.

There is, however, still much symbolism associated with the wedding cake. The traditional white wedding cake has been historically representing purity and virginity since the days of Queen Victoria in the 1800’s. Hence, the wedding cake came to be known as the bride’s cake . . . and the white colored cake became common to represent the bride.

Even the bridal cake cutting itself was symbolic . . . the bride and groom would share a piece of cake together before sharing it with the other guests. This would traditionally represent the newlywed’s union, commitment, and promises made to each other.

As tradition would have it, by then sharing the cake with the wedding guests, the gift of fertility would then be passed on to all who consumed it.

But no matter the past or present traditions concerning the wedding cake . . . one thing is clear — people usually enjoy eating cake, and associate that with having fun! And, isn’t that what weddings are supposed to be about anyway?

What’s the Theme of Your Wedding?

Every one wants their wedding day to be special, unique, memorable, and most importantly . . . an event that will remind people of you. This can be accomplished through a color you love, music you like, a lifestyle you enjoy, or even just an emotional feeling that surrounds you.

The best way to make your special day uniquely you is to plan your wedding around a special theme that means something to you. That way, you will have more fun . . . and your guests will really enjoy themselves as well.

Whatever wedding theme you choose, be sure to incorporate all of the essential elements that will make your special day truly exceptional. Tie everything like music, menu, colors, flowers, invitations, etc. together through your chosen theme.

Using a special theme that both of you enjoy and share, will just enhance your overall wedding experience . . . and make it an event that you and your guests will truly remember for ever!

Many couples choose to go with the traditional “white wedding” where the bride wears a white wedding gown, the bridesmaids wear coordinated outfits, and tuxes are worn by the men. If that’s what you want, then by all means, go ahead and jump in full force.

Many Couples Choose to Think Outside of the Traditional Box

Today’s society screams out ” I got to be me”, or “don’t put me in a certain box”, or “let me express myself”. And, a lot of today’s wedding couples feel the same way. They want to convey something very meaningful and unique to them.

So if you are one of those “think out of the box” couples . . . here are some of the most unique and popular wedding themes for today. They come from music, movies, television shows, sports, books, etc.

But, don’t limit your self to just these. Get creative, and remember not to “go too far over the line” as your wedding memories, photos, and relationships will be with you for the rest of your days. You don’t want to look back in 20 years and say “seriously?”.

Having said that . . . popular themes today include: the 1920’s, the 1950’s, birds and butterflies, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Batman or Bat Girl, Maleficent, Hunger Games, Super Mario, The Great Gatsby, Popular Sports, The Walking Dead, Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, Frozen, Twilight, Disney Princesses, Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz, Superman and Wonder Woman, Little Mermaid, Fire Department Rescue, Mad Men. Harry Potter, Book Lovers, Secret Super Heroes, Pirates, Labyrinth, War Craft, and Victorian Gothic.

It’s your special day. . . so theme it so it is the most special for you!

Planning Your Big Day

 

So, you’ve decided to get married. That’s a big decision, but it is only the first of many important decisions you will have to make in order to make your special day a successful one.

In fact, you should start planning the details of your wedding well in advance of the wedding day- – as early as a year in advance if possible. It will take work . . . so plan your work, and then work your plan–and all will end well.

Everyone is different, and individual weddings are different . . . so not everyone will need to plan in the same way. Having said that, here are some useful tips to help you plan for your special day. Use what applies to you and enjoy it — look at your wedding planning as a life changing adventure!

General Wedding Planning Guidelines

Set a Budget –make your budget realistic and practical for yourself. Once set, stick to it as much as possible. Use your head and not your emotions. Be considerate of others that are helping you with paying for certain aspects of your ceremony as well.

Set Your Timeline for Your Plan — Plan your plan. Use a calendar and give yourself enough time to get it all done. Set this up correctly first, and you will save yourself from a lot of worry and anxiety later as you proceed along.

Choose the Size and Participants of Your Wedding — Right from the get go, you really need to know how many people will be attending and who the key people are going to be. Who is going to be the best man, the maid of honor, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ushers?

Choose Your Date and Venues — this will take proper coordination . . . so your people, your wedding venue, and reception venue will all be available. Remember to send out “save the date” notifications to your guests as well–giving them plenty of notice to arrange their schedules around your special day.

Choose Your Wedding Theme– It’s your dream day, so be sure to make it unique and special to you. You can go traditional “white wedding” or get creative and “out of the box” with something meaningful to both of you. . .like Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, etc.

Choose and Send Your Wedding Invitations — you can make these as simple or elaborate as you wish. You can do them yourself, making them very personal, or . . . hire professionals to do these for you.

Choose Your Wedding Officiant — of course, this will depend on the type of wedding you are having, and could range from a judge to a religious minister.

Pick Your Perfect Wedding Dress or Outfit — the choices, prices, and styles are as variant as the brides who will glowing in them. You know you best and what will delight you! 471

Select Your Wedding Rings — share this experience as a couple, and make your ring selections more meaningful.

Hire Your Entertainment and Photographer — Again the correct choices should be uniquely you and fit in with the wedding theme you have chosen

Pick Your Cake, Food and Refreshments — all of these should be chosen from your personal tastes, but keeping in mind your guests as well. You want your wedding to be a great experience for all involved.

Of course, there are other things to plan concerning your wedding. We have just touched on some basic ones here. You might be brave enough to venture out and get all these things done yourself . . . or, you might choose to just turn it all over to a professional wedding planner! Your wedding. . .your choices. . . Enjoy!