After shooting over 80 weddings, all at different venues, with different themes, and different heritages, I can tell you one thing that they always have in common... Annoying guests. Now this isn't to say that ALL guests are annoying, because that just isn't the case. But without fail, there's always seems to be a handful of guests that really are... to say it bluntly... annoying (I know y'all aren't doing it on purpose, but it's time someone finally called you out for these cringeworthy things that you do at weddings.) Let's spread the word on proper wedding etiquette this year. Here are the top things that I always see happen at weddings, that need to stop:
One of many shots ruined by wedding guests stepping right in front of me with their cell phones at the last second.
1. Forgetting to turn your cell phone off during the ceremony- Not only do guests lean out in the aisle with their cell phones ruining a crucial shot for the photographer (Even after the officiant announces that it's an unplugged ceremony- I could go on for days about this...), but I can't tell you how many times someone's cell phone has started ringing, beeping, or chirping in the middle of the bride and groom's heartfelt vows to each other. So instead of making a total a$$ of yourself in front of everyone there, be sure to turn your cell phone off completely before the ceremony begins. Trust me, you'll survive for the next 30 minutes without it.
2. Wearing white to the wedding- Unless you are the bride, this is a big NO NO. This includes anything cream/beige/ivory/off-white/light tan, patterns that are mainly white, white sweaters, or white pants. Let the bride have her moment and pick something else to wear, there's plenty of other colors to choose from!
3. Being late to family portraits- Being included in the list of family formal portraits is a huge honor. I plan the specific list of family photos with my bride and groom a few weeks before the wedding to ensure we don't forget anyone important. Since the entire wedding day is jam packed with things to do, we usually only have a very limited time slot to get through the family portraits and we plan the amount of time allotted around the number of shots on the list (usually giving us only 1-2 minutes per shot.) So, if an important family member is late to the family portrait session, it messes up the timeline for the rest of the day and adds unnecessary stress to the bride and groom. So, unless you literally got in a car accident or were hospitalized, you be better be ready for the family portraits ON TIME... or don't come to the wedding at all.
4. Trying to do the photographers job for them- I appreciate your interest and enthusiasm for what I do. Maybe you're interested in becoming a photographer, maybe you're a hobbyist, or maybe you are also a professional photographer. That's great! But a wedding is not the time or place to try and take the reins and assert your "knowledge". The photographer was carefully chosen and hired by the couple to document their wedding day. So, PLEASE respect the couple's choice and the photographer's boundaries by backing off and letting the hired photographer do their job. Don't breath down my neck during portraits and bark out your own directions and poses to the bride and groom. Don't come stand right in FRONT of me with your point and shoot camera, or better yet your CELL PHONE while I have a shot set up and say "Wait hold on, I want to get this shot too." Don't come up to me and say "Did you get a shot of this? You better get a shot of that.", because I discussed all specific shots and expectations with the bride and groom prior to the wedding. I have NO problem with the bride and groom asking me to get certain shots on the day of their wedding, it's their day, they're allowed to boss me around. So trust me Aunt Sally, I've got it covered.
5. Not giving a gift- It's proper etiquette to give the bride and groom a wedding gift and in my opinion, it's mandatory. What happened to manners and common sense? When did it become ok to start showing up to weddings empty handed? Sure, gifts aren't everything, but the bride and groom spent ALOT of money to put this event on and they are paying ALOT of money to make sure that you are well fed, hydrated and entertained at their wedding. Even being invited to their wedding is a huge honor. It's common courtesy to give a gift as a thank you for choosing you to be there on the most important day of their life. I may get some backlash for this one, but honestly that's the way I see it. If you can't afford to give even a small gift, then you should probably RSVP "no".
6. Standing right in front of the photographer during crucial moments- This goes for the ceremony, intros, first dances, speeches, cake cutting and any other big moments throughout the day. I understand you're super excited and want to get a good shot on your Android of whatever is going on, but please be aware of your surroundings and be mindful of where the photographer is standing. If you happen to jump in front of me right at the last second when the bride and groom are bursting through the doors of their reception, I may have to do a fancy 007 tuck and roll to reposition myself but this could and should be avoided. Again, the bride and groom paid a lot of money for the professional photographer, not for your blurry iphone pics. (And I'm not afraid to throw a few stiff elbows out to anyone who gets in my way #sorrynotsorry #savagephotographer)
7. Talking through speeches- Can you please shut your mouths for 10 minutes so the bride and groom can hear their maid of honor and best man give speeches. Hearing the speeches may not be important to you, but it is everything to the bride and groom. Nothing is more irritating or rude than when there's a loud murmur of voices talking throughout the room and overpowering the heartfelt speech that is being read. Yes, you are a guest at the wedding but please be a respectful one.
8. Clinking your glasses 8,000 times- Ok, it's cute the first time you clink your glass to get the bride and groom to kiss. It might even be cute the second time around. But for the love of god, don't keep doing it every 2 seconds. The bride and groom are trying to enjoy their dinners; they have a pile of mashed potatoes in their mouths, hear the irritating clink of glasses once again, roll their eyes and lean in for a kiss with grease dripping off of their mouths... Romantic. Enough is enough, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
9. Getting sloppy drunk- With an open bar and champagne flowing it's easy to throw back a few drinks. I'm not saying you can't. In fact you should be able to let loose and have a good time... Just don't go overboard. Don't get stupid drunk and make yourself the laughing stock of the wedding. I've seen some pretty crazy things happen at wedding receptions (that I won't go into detail about here) that all involved a lot of alcohol. People will be talking about the humiliating thing you did at "so-and-so's" wedding for years to come. And trust me, I won't be refraining from taking photos of your ridiculousness, it's all fair game!
10. Asking the photographer if you can take a picture of them- I don't know if you think this is a clever pick up line or you're just naturally really creepy. But at least once per wedding, some sweaty, intoxicated guest will come up to me and say with slurred speech, "You've been taking photos of everyone all night, how about you let me take a photo of you?" or "Will you take a picture with me?" No, Buzz off.
11. Trying to get the photographer to join in- No, for the last time, I don't want to dance with you. Not to this song, not to the next song, and not even to the song after that. I'm here to work, not dance with sweaty drunk people. So please don't keep pestering me to dance. My favorite is when someone tries to get me to have a drink. Um Hello, I'm working. Do you drink at your job? Just because my job entails being at a party every weekend doesn't mean I can just join in on the festivities.
So there you have it. I hope I don't come off as a grouchy, mean, photographer. I can assure you I'm anything but! I really do love my job and am so grateful for all of the couples that I get to work with and all of the amazing people that I get to meet along the way. But, sometimes you just have to keep it real. Much love to my clients, past, present and future. Xoxo -Rebecca