This is the sixth in a series of articles all about how we prepare for your wedding photography. To read more of this series, please go to the index on Preparing for Your Wedding Photography.
This is it then, the big one! The day it’s all been leading up to. You didn’t sleep much the night before, you’re waking up feeling a mixture of confusion, deliriousness, joy and fear. Or maybe that’s just me?
Forget about the photography for a second. I want to relate the story of my (correction: our) own wedding to you. As most of our family lives abroad, it was logistically a lot easier (and somewhat cheaper) to arrange things abroad. Dasha and I got married in a hillside castle, on a bright sunny day along the Moravian Gate in the Czech Republic, which overlooks the beautiful surroundings that Dasha grew up in.
Up until that day (well, the day before actually) a wedding was not a ‘big deal’ to me. It meant a lot to Dasha, and as she means a lot to me, it naturally became important to me, just not in the sense that I desperately needed to get married… that is, up until my (correction: our!) own wedding.
The day before it had been grey, overcast and miserable and I remember praying for the weather just to stay as it was, so long as it didn’t get any worse – it had been absolutely blasting down with rain the day before that, so I didn’t dare hope for sunshine. In the evening I had shouted at my uncle for knowing the best way to set up the speakers (…he was right…) and at my dad for some reason I can’t even remember (…he was probably right, too…), I had walked out of the reception room booming “I’ve had enough!” and I was absolutely the biggest bag of nerves you’ve ever seen. Never before, or since, have I been so tightly wound up.
On the day, waking up to the bright blue skies and as perfect as it was, I was sooo nervous. Had it not been for my best man by my side, I suspect I would have;
a) missed breakfast
b) got lost halfway up the hill
c) fainted when the procession music started
d) walked around with dog poop on my shoe from when we did the group photos till the first dance (instead, it lasted all of 30seconds at which point the best man was able to stop laughing enough to find some tissue to wipe it off with – Pete, I will never forget your sacrifices on the day!)
Despite all that, our wedding was the single most perfect day I have ever enjoyed. I had to keep reminding myself to take it all in and relax rather than stress about it. Dasha, on the other hand, had spent months (actually probably YEARS) planning the big day and conversely, on the day was extremely relaxed and happy and I was just falling in love with her all over again every time I looked at her, (notwithstanding the great big ball of nerves). I had prepared a speech in English as well as Czech (and I don’t speak Czech, at least not anywhere near fluently). One of our Czech friends had helped me with pronunciation and I had spent 3 months prior to the wedding (and unbeknownst to Dasha) learning it!
I loved the day and wish I could go back and do it all over again. Since then, it has been an absolute blast and privilege to take part in so many other people’s big day. Every time brings back the memories to me of just how beautiful Dasha looked in her dress, just how much attention to detail she’d put into the table decorations and the favours and just how badly I sing and dance (though I still happily do it anyway). To be able to take part in your day means a great deal to both of us and that’s why we give it absolutely everything to make sure you get the best possible photos of the day. We want you to have as many great memories of your day as we do of ours.
My advice to every couple I meet and photograph;
Take a step back, breathe in slowly and deeply, and let it all sink in. Not many days in your life will match your wedding day for sheer joy, excitement, love and, well, a great excuse to party hard! The rest, including the photos, will follow naturally.
And if you are thinking, how does a photographer hand over the reins to someone else on their big day, the truth is with great difficulty – our photographer got some fantastic shots, but we still couldn’t help ourselves and ended up getting the camera out towards the end of the evening, just to be sure we had shots of everything we wanted from the day, after he had gone!!
All photos by Kamil Baranek.
Next up: The ‘Killer’ Shot