One of the most uncomfortable questions I ask all of my couples prior to the wedding day is simple, but not easy:
I intentionally leave it vague. When I ask it, I’ve found that most people have an immediate intruding thought. It’s the thing they’ve played out 100 different ways in their mind, and maybe even lost sleep over. Whether it’s a divorce, a special need, or just a situation they want handled delicately, I want all of my couples to know I’m here as a safe space.
I’m not asking because I’m nosy, or because I want to judge my couples or their family in anyway. I’m asking because I care about making their wedding run as smooth as possible. I care about helping them navigate any awkwardness with grace. They can trust me to handle whatever situation with discretion.
I need to know the details about who doesn’t speak to each other, who stresses them out, or who they expect to be difficult. I have had couples share with me things like which aunt will try to steam roll family pictures, which guest got invited despite many protests, or which groomsman they are worried about drinking too much.
Brides and I have had secret signals as an S.O.S. when their overbearing mom was wearing down their nerves, so I could sweep them away for pictures. I have weaved family members in and out of family pictures to avoid divorced parents having to speak. I’ve gone to the store to buy food for groomsmen that hit the bottle a little too quickly. I have been asked multiple times to avoid taking photographs of specific people. Each time a scenario requires special care, we’ve done it in a way that was tactful, completely under the radar, and helped keep my couples from encountering an uncomfortable situation.
If you know me in a personal capacity, you know that I have my own interesting family dynamic. If most people are being honest with themselves, they probably have a cousin that needs some explaining at the very least ;). I tell you that not to be unprofessional, but to let you know that I get it. If I was getting married tomorrow, there are situations I’d want handled with extra care. I want to do that for my couples as their wedding photographer.
Yes, so the couple feels comfortable in front of the camera. Yes, so they can share with me the vision for the day. But, I also need them to trust me with the drama of the day too. So spill the tea!
Want to read more wedding day advice? Click here!