Wedding photographers take on so many different roles at a wedding. Beforehand I create timelines, connect couples with their dream vendors, and talk brides through the whole process. At the wedding I pin boutonnieres, bustle dresses, calm nerves (for brides, family members, and the bridal party!), photograph each event with the wedding album in mind, make changes at the last minute, build friendships...the list goes on.
I have always said to brides, families, and vendors that I will do anything for them on a wedding day (even if there's a hurricane!), and this is fully true. However, after 4 years, in the business, I have realized there is one thing I refuse to do at weddings: put my own desires above that of the bride.
This may seem like a ridiculous thought, but it is an easy trap for any wedding vendor. We get excited about weddings, we get involved in the planning process and helping the bride, and before you know it we can get in our heads that the day is as much for us as it is for the two getting married - and this is simply not true.
I will help any bride with anything at all. I offer professional advice on the best timing for hair, makeup, and sunset pictures. I help her think through things she would have forgotten - like collecting all the details so I can get started right away or providing a list of family pictures in advance so the portraits run smoothly after the ceremony. But at the end of the day, the bride's final decision becomes my prerogative to serve.
Sometimes the bride wants to do something that doesn't exactly line up with my timeline or my advice, and while I may explain the reasons behind my suggestions, I refuse to let my own vision for her wedding day overtake what she wants. There may be the last-minute addition of a first look with dad or a receiving line. She may have forgotten a detail or two (like the rings!) that morning. Or a family member may make a special request that the bride agrees with and we didn't foresee.
And you know what? That is ok with me. I am incredibly type A, a planner through and through, but I have learned to let go of my vision on the wedding day. I have a timeline, but it is flexible. I have a list of family portraits, but if we need to add in one last picture, I will say yes. This is not my wedding day, nor is it about me at all. It is about two becoming one, a bride walking down the aisle to her future husband, and family and friends who celebrate with them.
So no matter what, I will serve the bride, her family, and the vendors first, and worry about myself last - or not at all. The one thing I won't do at a wedding is put myself before the bride and the groom and what they want, no matter how flexible I have to be.