Being a good guest at a wedding

You know, photography is a great thing.  We all carry cameras in our pockets and want to photograph things more than ever.  However, I find it amazing how quickly as a culture we have forgotten our manners when it comes to when and where those cameras are appropriate to use.  For example:

If you follow me on facebook or Instagram you know that our family just got back from a wonderful vacation in the Pacific Northwest.  We went from Portland to Seattle, up to Vancouver Island and back down.  We saw  so many people and really great things that the trip will be remembered for a long time.  But what you probably don’t know is why we went to that area of the country at this specific time.  Well, a little back ground story for you.  My grandmother lives in Portland and is 105 years old.  Yes, I just heard you gasp!  🙂  We visit her every year as she cannot travel anymore.  As a result of these annual visits, and facebook, I have remained in close contact with one of my high school friends.  We visit whenever I am there and it is always great to see her.   This year’s visit was special because we planned our trip to be able to attend her wedding as well as visit with my Grandmother.

Let me share with you what it cost our family to make this trip:

5 round trip plane tickets to Portland.  Because children were not invited to the wedding my parents came with us so they could watch her the day of the ceremony.

2 rental cars for several days and the gas cost that was associated with the hour drive outside the city to the wedding location

Two hotel rooms for a couple nights

Meals for a couple days for 5

Vacation time for my husband for a couple days

And all the other various things that come with traveling across the country.

To say that attending this wedding cost our family quite a bit of money, is an understatement.

NOW, before you go thinking that I am complaining about it, let me assure you I am not.  We had a wonderful time in Portland, I loved seeing my friend marry her Prince Charming and the little get away with my Hubs wasn’t too bad either.   It was a completely wonderful trip and there was never a second thought about the investment we made in making it.  I took my friends engagement photos and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

BUT – here is the thing that I am going to complain about.   When a bride asks for an unplugged wedding and asks people not to take pictures during the ceremony,  people need to honor that request.  Your pictures are not that important, trust me.  They really aren’t.  It is rude to be taking pictures during a wedding ceremony.  There, I said it.  It is rude.  Put your cameras down people.  You can do it, I had my professional gear at my feet the entire ceremony.  It is possible to not take pictures, even though you want to.  (And for the record, I didn’t have my gear there so I could take pictures of the ceremony.  I had it there so I could get pictures of the beautiful view from the wedding location.  The view was incredible!)

Brides and Grooms typically spend THOUSANDS of dollars on a good photographer to capture their special day.  They don’t need your images.  My friend asked for an unplugged ceremony and people just blatantly ignored her request.  What are you going to do with those pictures, give them to the bride?   Ummm. . . she covered that part when she paid that professional photographer THOUSANDS of dollars to capture her big day.  She doesn’t need your photos of the ceremony.  Really, she doesn’t.    What she wants to see are the smiling faces of the people she loves who traveled from all over the world to see her get married to her special guy.  She doesn’t want to see a bunch of iphones, ipads and entry level DSLR’s pointing at her while she says her vows. (Neither does the groom, I am just using the term bride because typing bride and groom over and over, is tiring and it late.)

You might be thinking, “Wow, Dorie, this isn’t like you to vent like this on your blog.”  You are right, it isn’t.  I like to keep things light, cute and fun.  But when you figure out the cost of this wedding to my family and realize that the person in front of us decided that taking pictures with his little DSLR was more important than the Bride and groom’s wishes, never mind our view, I had to let it out.

I took one picture during the ceremony because as soon as it started I knew I had to share my experience.  Here it is.  Now, if you invested as much as we did to go to a wedding, would you be happy with this view?  (Don’t get me started on the hat.)

Being a good guest at a wedding


Now if you are bride or groom, please, please, please hire a great photographer who you can trust to capture your day and ask your friends and family to leave their cameras down during the ceremony.   Posts signs, put it in the program, have the officiant announce no photography before the ceremony starts.  You might need all three if you have a wild group that doesn’t like to follow the rules.    Guests can knock themselves out taking pictures during the happy hour and reception.

People invest a lot in coming to your big day, sometimes more that you could ever imagine.  There needs to be a little common courtesy to make sure that everyone can have the best view possible.

Travis, Jessica, Emily and Lauren, are you reading this????

PS – is is also rude to post pictures of the bride and groom on social media before they have had a chance to do it themselves but  I will save that for another day when I am feeling a bit more feisty.

Whew!  Glad I got that off my chest.  Now back to cute babies and adorable children.