A few months ago, an invitation came in the mail. John and I were invited to a wedding, as guests! I filled out that response card as though I wanted to be the first RSVP, because I did. I was going to be there with bells to cheer on one of my oldest friends and his new wife.
I know you are thinking it, so let’s get it out of the way. I knew they had hired a talented photographer, and I trusted the pros to document their day. So, no. I did not bring a camera with me. I barely even took any photos, and most of the ones I did take (with my phone) were blurry.
Don’t get me wrong, I love photographing weddings! There is nothing like documenting a wedding day. From the nervous energy we see at the beginning of the day, to the tears and love during the vows, to the unbridled dancing at the end of the night. It’s a great job, and I feel lucky every time a couple chooses us to be the ones to do it.
Throughout the night, it came up as I chatted with old friends. I have to admit there are pros and cons to being a wedding guest. I thought it would be fun to share a few of those with you!
Being a guest rather than photographer:
Pro: I could clap and participate in the wedding. This may seem silly, but for the first kiss, pronouncement as man and wife, introductions… those are all moments I am normally capturing with a camera. As a guest, my hands were free to clap and cheer, and that felt wonderful!
Con: The view isn’t as good. When I am the photographer, I get to move around to find the best angle. That’s my job in fact. Without looking through a 200mm lens, it was harder to see the bride or grooms faces.
Pro: As a guest, I could eat without feeling self conscious! It’s kinda funny really. As a guest, I wasn’t nearly as hungry, but probably ate 3x as much as I needed to. As a photographer, I am often staring longingly at the hors d'oeuvres, wondering if anyone will judge me for grabbing a carrot. It’s not to say that we don’t eat when I’m working, but we eat much faster. Often, when we have time to be seated for a meal, I feel guilty, as though I should be doing something, rather than eating.
Con: There were a few moments I wished I had a camera in my hand. Watching Mike wipe tears from his eyes as Abby walked down the aisle, I was torn. Part of me was so happy to be there as a witness, and part of me wished I could freeze that moment with my lens.
Perhaps my favorite part of being a guest though, was that I had my husband by my side. Working weddings every weekend, I get to hear lots of amazing love stories, romantic songs and see beautiful venues. They often remind me of my own love story, and make me wish I could dance that slow song with my husband. Well, this time, I did. I could hold his hand during the vows and laugh with him during the toasts.
It was such a wonderful way to end “wedding season.” So thank you Mike and Abby! I am so glad you found each other. Your love is a beacon and an example to others. Thank you for inviting us to bear witness to it on your wedding day.