Friday, April 17, 2009

A Complimentary Bride

Wedding: Gardendale First Baptist Church, Gardendale, AL
Reception: The Club, Birmingham, AL

Preface: I assisted with a bridal portrait shoot on a sunny, yet, VERY CHILLY day in February at Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. (The put your long-johns on, get your toboggan, gloves, and down-coat and try not to shiver too much because you'll get blurry pictures kind of day). Meanwhile, the B, in her sleeveless gown, was all smiles and chill bumps. The B's parents and younger sister were in tow to help with her gown and cathedral length veil during the shoot.

This particular shoot was a blast. This girl loved to have her picture taken! The B hammed it up for us and never once complained about the cold. (I secretly think she'd watched a few episodes of some modeling shoots just before the appointment or maybe had been practicing her Vogue moves in front of her mirror!) This is in stark contrast to the typical bride who simply stands there and allows us to twist and contort her body to get the right shot. Sadly, not every B is a natural. : )

Not to mention, she had beautiful, dark auburn hair, piercing blue eyes, and fair skin. B's: Do yourself a favor. Don't go to the tanning bed for color for your wedding, especially with those natural features! Fake bakes are so '90's!

Anyway, it's kind of nice to meet the B and B's family prior to the wedding. Come wedding day, you feel like old friends. Such was the case with this particular wedding.

When I entered the B's dressing room to get the usual "getting ready" pictures, the B tells me she is SO excited I'm there. Her energy level is contagious; I knew I was in for a fun day! She proceeds to tell me the "nightmare" she had the night before. I expected her to say she dreamt that it rained on her wedding day, or she feared her G wouldn't show up, or the like. Instead, her nightmare was that I was sick and was unable to photograph her wedding. Instead, Jim brought random photographer to take my place and she was devastated. What a sweet compliment! She's now topped my "world's greatest B list"! : )

-the unofficial bride


  1. Keri, that's so sweet! Just curious, do a lot of couples choose to have photos taken before the ceremony? Seems like a lot of people on all those wedding shows do this, but I can't imagine seeing each other before the ceremony...

  2. Karen, you bring up an often asked question/concern by many brides and I originally had a "longer than necessary" answer to your question (I tend to ramble), but before hitting the "post comment" button, I decided to omit all the junk and get right to the question instead. So, here goes...

    Yes, my experience in photographing weddings is that the couples agree to have all of the wedding photographs taken BEFORE the ceremony. This includes the traditionally formal, as well as the popular photojournalistic style, pictures of the B&G, wedding party and families. (Sidenote: as popular as the photojournalistic style of wedding photography is...I don't think we've moved completely away from the traditional posed pictures. From what I can tell, the traditional pictures are what still sells.)

    I also believe this is a typical practice by other wedding photographers I know. Keep in mind, my little circle of photographer friends are in Birmingham, Alabama. I can't speak for wedding photogs in NY, CA and the like...I'd be curious to find out. Anyone know?

    In addition, there are even some photographers that will not agree to photograph a wedding unless the couple agrees to having the photographs made prior to the ceremony.

    Now,for my own UNOFFICIAL reasons as to why I suggest having your photographs made prior to seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony are:

    1. Intimacy: The B&G are usually allowed a private moment to themselves to see each other for the first time on their wedding day. This is the ONLY time the B&G have...alone...during the ENTIRE day...without the company of family, friends, wedding party, and wedding guests, until they leave their reception and begin their honeymoon. But, best of all, the single, adoring look on the G's face when he sees his B in her gown for the first time (which we all know is one of the most important details) can easily be captured by the photographers. This is one of the most popular requests of B's on their wedding day; one which is often difficult to achieve during the actual ceremony.

    2. Perfection: When the photographs are made prior to the ceremony, the wedding party looks as good as they're going to all day. Perfection = perfect pictures. Plus, there is time pre-ceremony for the B and bridesmaids to do any necessary touch ups.

    3. Celebration: She says, "I do". He says, "I do" and you're off to the reception.

    Otherwise, (1) the families and wedding party have to regroup (i.e., where did the best man go-as a groomsman leaves to find know the drill). But, that can't begin until all of the guests have FINALLY left the ceremony (we know there are linger-ers), (2) the photographer has to set up the necessary lighting, (3) the B&G don't get to be the first to see the briefly unoccupied yet beautifully decorated, finished result at the reception hall, (4) guests are eating, drinking and listening to the band/dj at the reception and waiting on the B&G to arrive at the reception an hour later because they're having their pictures made...

    4. Tradition?: It's not your mama's wedding! Throw tradition out the window! All brides that were initially hesitant to do the photographs pre-ceremony were soooo glad they did. There is written proof! If you don't believe me, just ask!

  3. Keri - I LOVE LOVE LOVE our photographs! And I know which ones you did - esp the ones in the sanctuary. I love those side shots! :) We are so thrilled with them and can't wait to get our disc, book and some mounted on the walls! :) Thank you - thank you- thank you!

    PS - Karen, pre-ceremony pictures are SO WORTH IT!!! You have more time to get what YOU want in your pictures. It's just pure madness after the ceremony. Can't imagine trying to do an hour or so worth of pics then! :)