Love to Know | Weirdos in the Wedding Industry
There’s something you need to know about Michael and me: We’re weirdos. We both have tattoos: two of mine are literary—one is in Elvish, as in, J.R.R. Tolkien’s invented language—and one of his is of Halley’s Comet. Between the two of us, we have a lot of the typical nerdy fandoms covered: Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Harry Potter, Tolkien and Middle Earth, Game of Thrones, Homestar Runner… Proofreading is fun to me; Mike builds computers for fun. We endorse and enjoy tabletop gaming. I have thoughts on the Oxford comma.
All of this is pretty outside the box. This isn’t what makes us anomalies among the wedding professional community, though.
What makes us anomalies among the wedding professional community is how we think about weddings, and how we approach weddings in our role as a vendor. For starters, I’ll get really excited if
you tell me that you’re incorporating any of the nerdy/geeky/dorky stuff we love into your wedding—and if you’re incorporating anything nerdy/geeky/dorky that is outside our ken, too. TARDIS-shaped cake? Yes, love it. Tossing out the garter and bouquet toss and throwing stuffed Pokémon at your friends instead? Awesome. Calling each other “my sun and stars” and “moon of my life” in your vows? Simultaneous squee and tears! Having your guests chant, “So say we all,” in support of your union? I will definitely cry at this.
But you know what else? I get equally excited at confectionary princess dresses and lace-edged cathedral veils. Towering floral centerpieces adorned with crystals? Gorgeous. Monogrammed everything, from napkins, to programs, to cake topper? Love it—is anything more classic? Traditional ceremony from top to bottom? I will almost certainly tear up—there’s just something about saying the same words as thousands of other married couples before you. If that's what will make your wedding meaningful for you, then I am excited about it.
Here’s what I’m getting at: The wedding industry is a difficult place to navigate. It does its damnedest to make women—because, let’s be honest, feminist though I am, virtually all of the wedding industry’s media and communications are marketed towards young, femme, hetero, cis women—feel many conflicting emotions. I follow a lot of wedding Pinterest boards, wedding blogs, wedding websites, and other wedding professionals, and I see a lot of industry dross masquerading as advice that really enrages me. My least favorite phrase, which these outlets toss around all the time? “Must-have.” Nope. “Top Ten Must-Have Getting Ready Photos.” “Ten Must-Have Reception Essentials.” “Must-Haves to Get Your Groom Involved” (seriously, gag me with a spoon on this one). Nope. Nope-ity nope nope. The only things you actually must have for a successful wedding are a legally recognized officiant and statements of intent and acceptance by all parties—the “I do” part. Everything else is just icing on the cake—including the icing on the cake!
This phrase—“must have”—is designed to make you, the reader, feel as if what you’re doing, what you’re planning, who and what you are is not quite right, not good, not enough. The industry tells you that Your wedding is the happiest day of your life! But you won’t remember it, so you need a troupe of photographers, videographers, quick-sketch artists, and an interpretive dance company to capture its essence for you. It tells you that All brides are beautiful! But not you; not yet, anyway, not until you lose 15 pounds—you are planning on losing weight for the wedding, right?—and not unless you whiten and straighten your teeth, tan the bejesus out of your skin, undergo hours of facial treatments, or heck, just get cosmetic surgery! It tells you that Homemade Chic is so in right now! but you live in the city with nary a barn or hay bale for miles, and you’re definitely not a DIY’er; it tells you that You have to have cake—it’s what your guests expect! but you really prefer pie; that You have to have fresh flowers—fake are so tacky! but fresh flowers are really expensive and it’s not in your budget; and on and on and on.
All of this stressed me out so much when I was a bride—I firmly believe that your marriage is infinitely more important than your wedding; that you shouldn’t include anything in your wedding about which you could not care less; that no one has the right to make you feel inadequate or small or foolish or lesser about your budget, your planning timeline, your engagement ring or story (or the absence of either), your style, or basically anything you wish to omit from or include in your wedding. (Or, hell, your life!) As a wedding professional, I do everything I can not to propagate this kind of destructive nonsense. This is where my boundless enthusiasm comes in!
And I know what you’re thinking: Kate can’t possibly be this enthusiastic all the time, right? She’s got to be faking it at least a little, right? Nope, I’m not. Not even a little. I love weddings. I love your wedding. Because really, our focus as your wedding photographers is to document and help you tell the real story of your love and of your wedding day. We want to capture how it really is, not how Pinterest or The Knot seem to think it ought to look. It’s part of my job to be a cheerleader throughout our entire relationship. Our past clients, and those with weddings soon approaching, can attest to how invested I am in your wedding planning process, and in you: In addition to getting really psyched about all your awesome ideas, I am always available to answer questions, help you work through sticky problems, boost your confidence, construct a timeline, fluff a train, fix a tie, smooth a flyaway, plan a sweet surprise for your partner, be the loud voice organizing a sparkler send-off, carry flowers, calm a nervous flower girl…
Because another part of our job is to help your personal awesomeness shine; to help you show and share how awesome it is to be you and to be marrying to person you love, as you are and as he or she is, in whatever way is most right for you.