Often it seems like, from the moment you have that ring on your finger, family and friends are practically begging you to include ALL the traditional pieces in your wedding, but that isn’t always the right choice for every bride. If you’re considering bucking the trends in favor of a wedding that doesn’t follow the canon in D, soft, sweet flower petal lined path to a T, but feels a whole heck of a lot more like YOU, I’m here to say go for it. And if you need a little more encouragement on why, and some practical wedding advice, here’s a photographer’s perspective.
As soon as you make weddings your profession, you start to notice a few things.
Namely, a lot of them look fairly similar. Of course each rehearsal dinner, ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception are at least a little different because no couple is the exact same, but most ideas rarely surprise me anymore. What DOES surprise me from time to time, though, is that sometimes the bride is disappointed that she did X instead of Y or fell for Z because all her friends and family said it wouldn’t be a wedding without it.
Sure, you want to please your guests and make sure everyone has a good time but here’s the thing – it’s YOUR wedding. It’s a celebration of you, your spouse, and the love you share. If the ceremony screams “The Knot Handbook” but doesn’t really say “Our Love” – what fun is that?
I love when I photograph a wedding and the couple is fired up about the theme, or even a particular element that means a lot to them as a couple. Sometimes it’s an alternative guest book with keys and requests for advice. Sometimes it’s swapping the bouquet and garter toss for an anniversary dance. Maybe you don’t love the floral industry’s impact on the environment and would rather carry a bouquet of home-grown herbs down the aisle instead. Whatever is important to you on your big day are the things you should definitely include.
This day should be exactly what you are dreaming of as a couple.
If that’s saying your vows sans bridal party under a willow tree, so be it. If it’s getting ready together because you know you’ll be more at ease that way – get ready together (and make sure your photographer gets some adorable shots of you trying to help him tie his tie). A wedding should be as unique as the couple – it should include exactly as many traditional aspects as feel good to you and it should include exactly as many offbeat and different ideas as feels right to you, too. If there’s a freak flag you’re dying to fly, don’t be shy. Break dance your way into the reception venue, ban Cha Cha Slide from the DJ’s playlist, create a signature drink that would make your whiskey-loving granddad grow a few extra chest hairs, or don’t offer booze at all. If, when you go through the files from your photographer, you can look at each other, share a sweet smile, and say with relief, “Damn, this day was so US,” then congratulations, bride. You weddinged the CRAP out of your big day. You should be proud.