"Last Saturday I photographed a wedding with my husband." Truth be told, I have said that sentence many times over the past couple of years! While other couples and families are watching college football or going to the farmer's market, Nathan and I are usually on our way to a wedding in Hampton Roads or, as of late, traveling up and down the East Coast for the weekend. Of course we can get tired during such a busy time, but we love it - and mostly we love working together.
Having Nathan by my side on wedding days has been such a big game changer in my business. I wrote about our roles at a wedding in a long blog post here, but this one is a little bit more personal. It's how we remember to keep each other first in the midst of the craziness of wedding timelines and very long days that leave us absolutely wiped out the day after - and sometimes even farther than that!
I had it in my mind when Nathan and I first started working together that I had to always be in charge and in control. I (very pridefully) didn't want anyone to think he was the primary shooter. It had to be me, and I made sure he knew that, too. Looking back, it was all very selfish and even though I don't believe I treated him badly, I did not go out of my way to make the wedding experience good for him. Our first priority is of course our couple, but ultimately Nathan and I head home and live life together whether we are shooting a wedding together or not. So right up there in my top priorities now is making sure our relationship does not just survive, but is strengthened by our time together at weddings.
With that in mind, I have started doing two big things on wedding days...
1) I ask Nathan for his opinion. This doesn't always mean I take it, or even remember, but especially when it comes to the groomsmen I try to stop and ask what he thinks about poses and locations. Rather than tell him what to do, I make sure he feels heard - and in all honesty, sometimes he has truly great suggestions I never would have imagined!
2) I always make him slow dance with me. There are times I feel a little guilty for this, because with a camera in hand I feel like I should constantly be taking pictures. But a few short minutes in the reception certainly won't be missed - and more importantly than that, we are not just giving ourselves a few minutes to remember the vows we said at our wedding, we are also setting an example for other couples (and hopefully our bride and groom!) that being married is not a death sentence for joy in a relationship.
We fight. We make up. We laugh together and we get frustrated at each other, all while keeping a big smile at our face at the wedding. But I always want both of us to know that we have each others' backs, we are a team, and we are a married couple - and that is something worth celebrating day in and day out.